What's a Chamois?
What’s a Chamois? Why do people wear padded cycling underwear or padded bike shorts? Is there a difference between Chamois, bike underwear, bike shorts, or padded bike underwear? Which is the best? We’ll dive into what Chamois are, what the differences are between Chamois, and how to choose the right one for each ride.
First there’s no difference between all of these terms, they are all referring to padded shorts or underwear designed to be used while riding mountain bikes, road bikes, gravel bikes… you get it any kind of bike. Confusion around the term bike short vs chamois comes from the evolution of cycling from strictly road to road and mountain biking. In general road biking “bike shorts” are tight fitting spandex shorts with a pad or Chamois built into the short. In mountain biking “bike shorts” are loose or “baggy” fitting shorts which do not included a pad. Mountain bikers wear Chamois under their baggy shorts choosing the right Chamois for the type of riding they intend to do. In this we'll use the term bike short and Chamois interchangeably.
Why Should I Wear One?
Why do cyclist wear Chamois? Simply put to add some comfort to your back side while you ride. While the majority of mountain bikes now use front and rear suspension a Chamois is an extra layer of comfort to help cushion your back side from rocks, roots, and bumps in the trail. Road bikes and gravel bikes do not use suspension but instead use frame design accompanied with tire options to help cushion feedback from the ground. If you're getting a sore bum from riding the best ways to improve your ride are:
1. Getting used to it. It's tough love but just like ski boots which can become more comfortable when fit correctly they will still never be truly comfortable. You must accept that you are putting most your weight on your back side and riding down bumpy surfaces which will never be as comfortable as a Lazy Boy.
2. Find a bike saddle (seat) that fits well. Using the ski boot analogy again not every foot or bum are exactly the same. A saddle that correctly fits you will make your ride much more comfortable.
3. Getting the right Chamois will help cover shortcomings on the first 2 points and improve any day on a bike. Whether you’re a novice rider or seasoned veteran getting back in the saddle is more forgiving with the right Chamois.
Already ride comfortably without Chamois? That’s great but you might change your mind if you decide to change your routine. A multi day trip, changing disciplines from mountain biking to gravel riding, or just riding a big day can leave you sore and unwilling to get back on the bike the next day. Give Chamois a second thought if you’re changing from the norm or are coming back from taking time off the bike.
What's The Difference?
History, a “real” or original Chamois, is leather made from goat-antelope native to mountains in Europe and New Zealand. Bike Chamois evolved into foam pads or gel and foam pad combinations. What’s the difference between foam, dual density foam, and triple density gel padding in Chamois? Simply put these are a sliding scale of a pads thickness as well as its ability to absorb vibrations. Single density Chamois are the simplest and most minimal option. Dual density foam is next using two pieces of foam with different densities to further cushion and help absorb vibrations. Finally, triple density gel Chamois use dual density foam pads and add gel insert to further reduce vibrations. Triple density gel Chamois are the most vibration dampening option but they are also the thickest and bulky Chamois.
Which is Right for Me?
How to choose the right Chamois? The majority of the time Chamois aren’t explained well and are a sea of black spandex briefs which customers walk through feeling the pads and try to imagine how they would feel on a ride. Club Ride wanted to change that so 7 years ago we moved to explaining Chamois by the length of rides. While every rider has their own comfort tolerances describing our chamois in 1 hour (single density), 2 hour (dual density), and 3 hour (gel) options as an easy to understand presentation of Chamois.
1 Hour Chamois
- Light-weight Chamois pad
- 3mm Single Density Foam Pad
- Least vibration dampening
- Least bulky pad
- Used for short rides, daily commutes, or by experienced riders wanting enough padding to take the edge off
2 Hour Chamois
- Mid-weight Chamois pad
- 8mm Dual Density Foam Pad
- Moderate vibration dampening
- Moderately bulky pad
- Used for moderate rides, the most versatile chamois for any bike outing
3 Hour Chamois
- Heavy-weight Chamois pad
- 8mm Dual Density Foam Pad & Gel Insert
- Most vibration dampening
- Most bulky pad
- Used for long rides or consecutive days when the rider does not want to be sore during or after the ride
1 Hour Chamois Systems
Chamois comfort is very specific to each person. We classify our 1-Hour Chamois to be comfortable for up to a 1-Hour ride. The 1 Hour Chamois use a single density foam which is the least cumbersome and is ideal for short ride, bike commuters, or for experienced riders looking to take the edge off. The majority of riders don't mind wearing this Chamois after the ride, bike commuters usually wear this chamois all day.
Men’s 1 Hr Johnson
Imagine your favorite pair of technical boxers that has a minimalist pad to wear on the bike. The Johnson is the perfect Chamois for a quick lunch ride or if you just prefer a lighter offering. The Johnson starts with a quick-drying, breathable 4-way stretch fabric to give you maximum movement. We added a wide waistband for comfort and lasting fit. The 6.5” inseam will keep the shorts from riding up under your favorite baggies. The Chamois in the Johnson is a 3mm thick perforated single density foam pad for light protection. The perforated foam aids in ventilation for quick drying on and off the bike. Flat-lock stitching lays flat for ultimate comfort attaching the Chamois to the short.
“I have a 10-mile commute to work and the Johnson works perfectly to provide the right amount of padding for the ride. They are also very comfortable to wear off the bike during the day as a boxer brief. I bought a pair to test them out for my commute and have bought two more after the positive experience. A great product!” -David Morita
Women’s 1Hr June
Sharing the same fabric as the Johnson for the men, the June is a boy short style short with a light pad. Ideal for a short trail ride or your commute to work, the June is the perfect light protection Chamois. The quick-drying, breathable 4-way stretch gives you tons of movement and flex. The 3” inseam allows you to wear a shorter short if that is your jam. The wide waistband allows for comfort and has a lasting fit. The 3mm thick perforated single density foam pad is ideal for light protection in the saddle. The perforated foam allows for quick drying on and off the bike. The Chamois is placed in an ideal position for maximum comfort. Flat-lock stitching lays flat for ultimate comfort attaching the Chamois to the short.
“Fit well and delivered comfort. Wish they came in more colors!!” -Shirley Mackenzie
2 Hour Chamois Systems
Chamois comfort is very specific to each person. We classify our 2-Hour Chamois to be comfortable for up to a 2-Hour ride. The 2 Hour Chamois use a dual density foam which combine a firm and soft foam in the Chamois pad to help improve vibration dampening and fatigue from bumpy ground. The 2 hour system is the Swiss Army knife of Chamois and the go to for many riders, it balances vibration dampening with comfort. Some riders take this chamois off after a ride while others don't mind wearing it basking in the post ride after glow.
Men’s 2 Hr Gunslinger
Boxer fit with a Chamois to handle most rides from short to mid-length, the Gunslinger has been the number one selling Chamois in the lineup for years for good reason. It’s perfect for all body types and the padding thickness fits a variety of needs. Quick drying, breathable 4-way stretch fabric moves with you when needed and also keeps you cool out on the trail. The mid-length 8” inseam is perfect to wear under your favorite riding shorts. A wide waistband is made for comfort and a lasting fit. An 8mm dual-density foam pad aids in comfort and helps with vibration dampening on the longer side of a ride. Perforated memory foam increases ventilation and elasticity. Flat-lock stitching lays flat for ultimate comfort attaching the Chamois to the short.
“I bought a pair on a mountain bike vacation. I was in need of an extra liner with a pad….I was so blown away by the excellent fit, quality, pad and the breathability that I ordered two more pairs. They are now my go-to liner! No kidding these are awesome. The durable, comfortable and breathable material is super high quality. Other companies could learn something from the design of these great liners.” -J.C.
Women’s 2Hr Drift
With a mid-length boxer fit and a mid to short ride Chamois the Drift is the most versatile short in the women’s line. A quick drying, breathable 4-way stretch fabric along with a 8mm pad will keep you comfortable in the saddle, but won’t give you the “diaper” look of a thicker Chamois. The dual-density foam insert will assist in keeping you comfortable on longer rides with its vibration dampening qualities. Perforated memory foam will increase ventilation and elasticity. A wide waistband will keep you comfortable with a lasting fit. The 5.5” inseam is ideal for a 7-12” short. Flat-lock stitching lays flat for ultimate comfort attaching the Chamois to the short to round it out.
“I love these liners. I picked up a pair at Over the Edge In Sedona, AZ and they work perfect. I wear a medium in Club Ride gear and these fit perfect. I am 5’3” and weigh about 150lbs and have muscular legs. The length of the short is great and they are breathable. I have skin sensitivity but these liners do not bother me even if we are out for longer than 2 hours.” JD
3 Hour Chamois Systems
Chamois comfort is very specific to each person. We classify our 3-Hour Chamois to be comfortable for up to a 3-Hour ride. The 3 Hour Chamois use a dual density foam pad and gel insert combination for the best vibration dampening available. The 3 hour system is designed to perform and a go to for all day rides or getting back on the bike after a long break. Many riders choose to change out of the 3 Hour Chamois after a ride as they can be cumbersome off the bike.
Men’s 3 Hr Woodchuck
Are you the adventurous ride leader that doesn’t tell the group how long or where the ride will end up? The Woodchuck is made for you! The Woodchuck allows a rider to go long on the widest array of rides. A wide waistband helps in comfort and a lasting fit, while the longer 9.75” inseam fits well under a 10”+ length baggie short. Leg grippers on the bottom hem keep the leg in place against your skin or over a knee pad. An anatomically correct, male specific, pre-shaped Chamois will keep you out on the trail hours at a time. The 8mm triple density foam Chamois with a gel insert increase the vibration dampening even more than our other offerings. The perforated memory foam increases ventilation and elasticity. Flat-lock stitching lays flat for ultimate comfort attaching the Chamois to the short.
“Love the materials and padding! Sometimes, the best upgrades aren’t carbon and ti.”-A.L.
Women’s 3 Hr Montcham
Made for the Saturday ride that will take you late into the afternoon, the Montcham was made for big days! A wide waistband helps in comfort with a lasting fit and the longer 8” inseam works well under a variety of lengths of shorts. An anatomically correct, female specific, pre-shaped Chamois will keep you comfortable all day long. The 8mm triple density foam Chamois with a gel insert increase the vibration dampening even more than our other offerings. The perforated memory foam increases ventilation and elasticity. Flat-lock stitching lays flat for ultimate comfort attaching the Chamois to the short.
“I have been looking for a good Chamois, but never expected to find the perfect one. This the best Chamois I have ever worn. It almost fully eliminates soft issue irritation……Chafing? What chafing? I thought it was a bit bulky when I initially put it on, but it’s not noticeable in the saddle. Club Ride- You have literally saved my a$$.” -MtnKudo_311