Saddle is comfortable - do I need padded shorts?

pinkteapot Posts: 367
edited April 2013 in Road general
With the improvement in the weather I've started thinking about getting some shorts. At the moment I just have 3/4 length gym type leggings (not cycle specific).

I've noticed that the vast majority of shorts are padded.

My longest ride so far has been 2.5 hours (going for 3 hours this weekend) and I've had no butt or *ahem* undercarriage pain at all. My lower back gets a little stiff after a while but that's sorted by standing up on the bike for a few seconds. Given that my saddle seems comfortable, do I need padded shorts? Is there any benefit?

There must be, or why would everyone wear them? But I'm kind of thinking if it ain't broke don't fix it and leaning towards non-padded shorts... Had a bad experience when I didn't know anything, and got a huge gel saddle for my old cheapie bike. My butt hurt after even a five mile ride on that!


  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I have padded bib-shorts and padded winter bib-tights. I can stay in the saddle all day if I want. Some of that might be the Brooks saddle though.

    Never considered unpadded ones. If you're comfy why change?
  • snowley
    snowley Posts: 149
    As above, if it is comfortable then don't change. However, you might find it even more comfortable with a pair of padded shorts...
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Great that you have a comfy seat. Is it comfy because it is wide and padded (assuming not if you have ridden for 2.5 hours), or just that it fits you well? If you are happy with what you have then stay with it.

    Narrow harder saddles (for guys at least) are more comfortable over long distances, but I find you need better pads the longer you are riding for.

    If you are getting new shorts anyway then why would you not get padded?

    I would get bib shorts or bib tights rather than non bib.

    How are you finding the gears?
  • if it aint broke dont fix it
  • pinkteapot
    pinkteapot Posts: 367
    It's the standard saddle that came with my bike: ... W-1-022-12

    Smallest, hardest saddle I've ever had and by far the comfiest! (This is my first 'proper' bike).

    Re the question of why I *wouldn't* get padded shorts... Just because I've been comfortable so far in unpadded trousers and leggings, so I'm not sure about adding the padding, as I don't then want to end up uncomfortable. Maybe I've just lucked out and the Whyte saddle design happens to be right for me?

    Given the price of cycle shorts, I'm trying to make the right decision first time so I wondered what the benefits of the padding are. Figured they must be good as they're what everyone seems to wear!

    I'll see how I get on being in the saddle for three hours on Sunday without padding. Maybe if that still feels fine I'll just get unpadded shorts.

    I was expecting a flurry of replies explaining the benefits of padding. :D
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Can you even buy non-padded bibshorts?
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    pride4ever wrote:
    You must have a huge ass.

    You getting tetchy cos you haven't had your afternoon nap?
  • pinkteapot
    pinkteapot Posts: 367
    pride4ever wrote:
    You must have a huge ass.

    I have a lovely arse thank you very much.
  • farrina
    farrina Posts: 360
    pride4ever wrote:
    You must have a huge ass.

    That's no way to treat a lady ..... :oops:
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    My better half tends not to ride with padded shorts (anything up to about 100km) and doesn't suffer like she used to when she did use padded shorts.

    Definitely stick with what you've got if you're comfy.

    I know a few men who ride significant distances without pads - everyone is different (I know they tend to use rowing shorts which are very similar to cycling shorts, just without the pad).
  • zx6man
    zx6man Posts: 1,092
    padded shorts are just for the chaffing aspect
  • I'd agree with others than you don't need them if you're comfortable as you are. It's possible you'd benefit from them if you are going to start riding much longer distances but equally you might still be fine with leggings. Bibs need not be expensive if you shop around on the internet and wait for sales. They'll still be more expensive than a pair of padded shorts in Sports Direct (say) but there's generally a good reason for that.
  • marylogic
    marylogic Posts: 355
    I've found that I can probably get away without padding for up to about 50 miles but longer than that I start to feel the need. I find regular shorts stay up fine and have never felt the need for bibs - I think due to wider hips/smaller waist than men, although I have heard some women swear by bibs.
  • lotus49
    lotus49 Posts: 763
    pride4ever wrote:
    You must have a huge ass.
    You sir, are a frightful rotter.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 72,474
    Please respond to inappropriate posts by reporting them rather than replying to them. Makes it difficult for the moderator to do anything about it.