Cycling Pants

When it comes to cycling clothing, you want something that is comfortable and doesn’t impede your performance. Cycling pants might be preferable to shorts for cooler weather. You won’t get that numbness that occurs when the wind whips at your calves. The compression can also help you power up that hill and recover faster.

Why Do You Need Cycling Pants?

You might not need to wear Lycra, but a good pair of cycling pants will keep you warm and comfortable without interfering with the bike’s operation. Even if you’re just commuting to work, your regular pants might be cumbersome. The hem can get caught in the chain, and bagginess in the inseam can cause chafing. Cycling pants streamline your ride.

They’re stretchy, which allows you to optimize your pedal stroke. They’re warm but breathable, which is important when you’re sweating in cold weather. Some practical cycling pants are designed to go from the bike to the workplace. These may have a leaner cut than regular slacks but are made from stretchy materials and contain pockets to hold your necessities.

What Types Of Cycling Pants Are Available?

Most snug-fitting sports pants that are designed for cycling are referred to as tights. Commuter pants are looser and look more like everyday clothing.

Waist tights are akin to sports leggings. They go from the ankle to the waist and have an elastic waistband.

Bib tights come up higher in the waist and have straps that extend over your shoulders. This design prevents them from riding down at the waist. It also keeps your back and belly warm if your shirt tends to bunch up while you cycle. Because they have no waistband, they’re less prone to causing chafing in that area.

Winter tights are designed for warmth. The fabrics are thicker than regular cycling pants, and they insulate you as you ride. Some winter cycling pants have fleece linings. They may also be resistant to wind, rain, snow and sleet.

Knicker tights are shorter than regular cycling pants. This ¾-length option is more protective than bike shorts and usually is constructed of thinner fabrics than winter types. Knicker, or capri, tights leave your calves and shins exposed to cool air but cover your knees.

Waterproof cycling pants are usually meant to be worn over tights. The best waterproof cycling pants prevent rain from coming in but are ventilated enough to let your sweat evaporate.

Completely waterproof pants should have taped seams and withstand heavy storms. Water-resistant pants are suitable for shorter rides in intermittent rain or light showers. Water-repellant pants are treated with a chemical that reduces their water absorption.

Commuter pants are designed to look like everyday garments but contain features that benefit you on your ride. They may have drawstrings to gather the ankles so that they don’t rub on your bike. The fabric stretches to accommodate your upper body position and pedal stroke. Commuter cycling pants may be made from breathable, moisture-wicking fabric to prevent you from arriving at your destination soaked in sweat.

What Features Should You Look For In Cycling Pants?

Although you might just need something to stay warm and cover your legs while you ride, you might want to think about the other features that can enhance your riding experience.


Most cycling pants come with padding in the seat. The location of the padding is usually different in men’s and women’s pants. The women’s padding may be wider and shorter, while men’s padding tends to be longer and narrower.

Padding helps prevent your bottom from getting sore while you ride. If you use your cycling pants for other sports, however, you might want to opt for a kind that doesn’t have padding.

Some cyclists wear bicycle shorts with padding under their non-padded cycling pants. Because the additional seams can cause chafing, it is recommended to wear cycling tights without undergarments, though.


Some cycling pants are extra snug, providing compression. This is thought to help with circulation, reducing muscle fatigue and aiding in recovery.

Compression gear is even tighter than traditional cycling tights. In order for it to adequately squeeze your legs, it should be quite difficult to put on. This can make it cumbersome to change into if you’re in a hurry. However, many cyclists say that wearing compression pants helps them reduce post-workout soreness and improve their efficiency while on the bike.

Reflective Details

With shorter winter days, cyclists can lose their visibility if they’re riding in the early morning or afternoon. Many cycling pants have reflective details to help bicyclists stand out to cars.


The more panels a cycling garment has, the more it will conform to the shape of your body. Any creases or bagginess can contribute to irritation. Therefore, it’s important to wear cycling pants that fit you well.

Cycling tights are designed to fit you optimally while you’re riding. That means that you may notice bagginess around the rear and the knees when you’re standing upright. When you get into an aero position with your knees bent, the fabric should smooth out.

Many cycling tights have a waistband that extends further up the back than the front. This also takes into account the ideal road biking position and prevents the pants from sinking down in the back.

A wider waistband is less likely to roll down than a narrow one. Of course, you can prevent the waist from sagging altogether by wearing bib cycling tights.

Ankle Zippers

If the cycling pants are made from a thicker material or offer compression, they may have ankle zippers that make them easier to slide on and off. Pants with ankle zippers are often designed to be layered over other tights. They might not have padding in the seat.

If you choose an option with ankle zippers, they must fit perfectly so that the metal doesn’t rub against your leg. If they’re too long, they may bunch up and irritate your skin.