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100%. I switched to Saxx Kinetic briefs a few seasons ago and haven't looked back. Improved bike ergonomics surely played a role (hello steep seat angles and a proper width saddle) but for all but the longest rides I'm good without chamois.
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yer. have not used a chamois since the xc racing days (many years ago); can't stand the feel. synthetic boxxer briefs ftw.
This is REALLY hitting home for me right now, as the last couple trips home in a swamp-ass soaked chamois were notably unpleasant. I guess I could do the "towel around my waist and change my underwear" thing at the trailhead parking lot but it would only take one mishap to have everyone pointing and laughing at me (or calling the cops). But perhaps a saddle swap and some good underwear would solve the problem and bring other benefits too.
My butt is too bony. That's the main reason I wear them. I've got an awesome WTB Volt saddle at the proper width, which helps, but without the extra padding it's not comfortable. And Saxx etc are not cheap!
I have a helluva bony behind and with the right saddles have been able to ride without a diaper for years. It is possible!
Fully agree. Another bony arse here and, as proof, just yesterday I did my biggest ride in years, 40 kms, 5 hrs all dirt roads and trails and the worst part was riding for about 40 minutes on a flat dirt road. This used to hurt even when I wore a chamois because I rarely spend that much time going neither up or down and it puts a different kind of pressure on the old behind. My Jockey long leg briefs are the ticket!
any saddle recommendations for another boney bummed bandit?
Lol. I’m on Team Bony-bummed bandit as well and I’ve generally been most comfy on WTB. An issue without much meat back there is saddles that are too soft because my femur heads tend to push right through. The Silverado works for me but I’m going to try a deva shortly to see how that is.
Cam - how does this compare to a Chromag Trailmaster LTD? I've got one on each bike and have been chamoisless for a good few years now.
I can't say my ass is familiar Marty, but I'm generally keen on Chromag stuff.
Cam - Its a similar shape to the Azonic Journey seat from a few years back just with a leather top.
#valleysuckridetheshore Check out KK today. My buddy has been giving it love for years. A secondary exit and some new features.
Now onto shorts. Been there done that. I pay more for a quality fitting saddle. Shorts for me are DryWear from Mark,s . They did do a bike short. It,s a longer leg as well . Adds some leg warmth for those in shorts all year.
As for the shaving incident LOL . If you road in the early 90,s pretty sure most had that happen LOL. Trimming and grooming works better IMO. Traps some moisture to keep the junk cooler.
Lululemon men's athletic underwear is a great option too.
I think it's all a personal preference/fit thing. With the right saddle it's easier to ditch it, and might depend on your bum too.
For me getting a narrower saddle made a huge difference on extended climbs. Never used a chamois for mountain biking but now that I’ve gotten one for road biking I may consider it on rare 1-2 hour dirt road climbs on some of the trails in the southwest. Did a 4K dirt road climb the other day and I did feel ok but a little more padding may have made the drive home more pleasant.
For rides that long where you're in the saddle as much as you would have been, for me the cham comes into play for sure. Anything 2 hrs and under, though, I leave it behind.
I'm in process of trying to make this kind of switch. The main problem I have is that all the options appear to have seams in the crotch area. In order to have true bike-able garments, I'd like to see the seams moved to the outside of the leg or something similar. In general, I think not having seams in the crotch area would benefit both men and women. However, I can't be certain until something like that is available, because I'm not sure if seems on the outside or back of the legs would be bothersome as well. But I'd guess they would be.
I agree. Do any of these non-chamois undergarments have seams near the sit-bone areas, or the thigh-glute junction? Those are the main problem areas (for me) & saddle sores/chafing
Here is the back of the BN3TH model I posted on the front page.
I want to see the seams not in the crotch, as that is a main contact point when sitting on a saddle. I also don't like the seams coming under the cheeks. But the seams on the outside of the cheeks seems fine. I guess my question for garment makers like this is why not have the seems on the outside of the leg? I'd even entertain less structure in the front if that meant it was easier to put seams out of the areas that would cause saddle and pedaling conflicts.
I’ve been riding chamois-less for a few years now and I haven’t had much luck with any pouched options so far. The seams, as a couple are mentioning, cause more discomfort than by regular cotton Calvins.
Mons Royale Hold’em Boxxers don’t have crotch seams. Before I discovered those, I allways rode commando wich limited my choice of shorts to ones with mesh liners, now I can wear whatever. On top of that, they’re made of Merino Wool which makes them perfect for multiday trips. Just bring two pairs and alternate between them, and if they get too nasty, rinse and let dry. They never get smelly and the wool eliminates any bacteria.
With the Mons’ and a Chromag Trailmaster I can do two-three days (6-7 hours a day) trips whitout getting too sore. I have ridden bicycles all of my 51 year old life though.
Will have to check these out. Thanks!
Sucks that they are all sold out of all sizes but small!
I like the sound of those and that they are wool. They do have seams though, that look like they would hit where the saddle and body interface with each other. Those are the best I've seen though.
With bibs, I often find that I get rubbed the wrong way in the crotch. Specifically at the top of the inner leg. I guess that's what I'm calling the crotch. When I rode with some fitted boxers like the ones we are all talking about, I found that the seams effected closer to my sit bones. If I had ridden longer, it might have been a problem. However, it wasn't as bad as getting a blister at the top of my inner leg/taint/ball area.
The Hold Em’s become more loose with wear until you wash/soak them, but you shouldn’t do that every time with wool. Just shake them and let them rest for a day or two (unless you’ve been really scared😀).
+1 for the Chromag Trailmaster Ltd. Once the leather top softens they're super comfy.
If companies can make seamless underwear for women, why has noone made similar stuff for men? Or maybe they have, but i haven't found them.
Maybe men need to start wearing sheer, figure hugging pants, so that the undergarment industry has an incentive. Any volunteers?
What I wear under my shorts is my business. I find this thread offensive and now will be hiding in my safe place.
Should have posted a trigger warning! LOL
I found the taint shaving story particularly disturbing. lol
It was much more disturbing to live through!
Most of the brands mentioned have sport- or cycling-specific designs with the seams placed strategically. You are right that a lot of their 'regular' options may not crossover perfectly between daily wear and riding. The other benefit to the sport-specific designs are the added elasticity and, sometimes, mild compression, which I also prefer for riding (and don't mind wearing around off the bike, either).
Yes! Free the junk! Ditch the gooch! Have been trying (with no luck yet) to convert my riding buddies.. not sure why they are so attached to theirs... One says he likes his whole bib set-up and spent a dime on it. Says "it holds it all together, ya know" Pfft... lose 20 pounds or just get a classic wrestling singlet I say! He didn't like that suggestion much.
Ditched mine in June this year and haven't looked back. Not sure if it was pure placebo effect, but it actually felt like it improved my performance... not sure how to explain it... I just felt more loose and free... riding felt less formal? Like the gooch is now reserved for more important and significant rides... like a tuxedo vs jorts.. idk... Either way, the chamois is in the trash... longer rides, short rides, DH, XC, shuttle, park, enduro... all the rides! Loving it! I use Arc'teryx boxer briefs that I use for snowboarding and mtb'ing. Long epics (formal rides), I'll toss that fucker back on... but it's like I can hear tiny muffled screams of "NOoooo!!" as I stuff my junk down into the deep, dark, damp depths of the dagobah gooch...
I haven't worn an adult diaper in decades. No special underwear either, but I do have saddles that fit me well.
Saddle is key for sure. Replacing them more often and getting something quality is fine for the comfort in my books.
“I continued to compress my junk into a steamy mess against my lower abdomen…”
Thanks for the laughs, Cam! I can tell you thoroughly enjoyed writing this.
Apart from chilled pump track sessions or slow rides with my groms, I've been riding NZOactive Dobies (that have a fleece pad) for the last 11 years with no more than generic boxer brief 'gruts'.
I never got on with the cham and sometimes actually piked on rides entirely in the early 2000s because I hated them so much...
I bought some Under Armour O series 6" boxerjocks. They're so much more comfy and cooler than cotton underwear, but on the bike I can't make them work even on 2-3 hour rides.
I bought some Endura Hummvee shorts that came with very basic undershorts/liners. They cost about $25-30, so not high end stuff. The chamois is basic and thin. These feel super comfy, they barely feel warmer than boxers, and when i'm off the bike it feels like the chamois is barely even there. No diaper feeling. Sadly the padding packs out pretty quickly, and looses it's rebound and hardness.
I tried thicker liners from Decathlon that have gel inserts in the chamois, and also more expensive Endura Singletrack liners, both of them feel horrible and create pressure points that are not there even with just regular underwear.
Maybe I need a better fitting saddle, not sure.
BTW you can buy vaseline in Hungary nowadays. 😁
I would have sold my soul for some in 1998! It felt like I had a lit sparkler in my chamois all day long!
Try Decathlon's lycra running shorts. They're super cheap and thin (like a lycra tight fitting boxer).
"tainted journey"... hah
Even though I like the idea about riding without a bib, I still think that will remain my personal choice in the end for 2 reasons. 1) Where I ride does not have a ton of elevation and undulates very rapidly, so a large portion of my ride is spent seated and pedaling around on trails that are absolutely full of roots. The bit of extra padding definitely helps cut some of the sting from that after 2-4 hours on the bike. The second reason is that I use SWAT bibs when on my mtb and love having the pockets so that I rarely need a pack. Really helps on those rides that are in and around 100*F.
I like to let the plums dangle. Occasionally I get a back swing when I sit down. Wakes you up faster than slaming a grande Sumatra.
Get a comfortable seat. It can't be good for the jewels to be bunched up in an uncomfortable bundle.
I wasn't aware that people other than the peculiar dressed rodies wore chamois. I did 20 years ago . Always felt like a sweaty diaper.
As for chafing. We are all different in anatomy. Finding the correct undie and short combo is important. Sometimes I just were shorts. Sorry if that too much information.
The other issue about all this is the expense. Because I've spend a lot on money on bibs already. Spent a lot of money on saddles too. Now I want fancy undies. And I'm still not sure what saddle I should be one, because I'm not sure I've ever stumbled onto the perfect combo of saddle/clothing/ass yet. LOL
I am mostly of Scottish descent and I sympathize with this. I too have some very nice bibs and chamois and it offends my Highland ethos to spend money on anything else. But you could say the same thing about 26" wheels, fixed seatposts and barends!
You also don't have to break the bank on fancy ginch. I found some nice but pouchless undergarments at Costco today and I think it was 3 pairs for $14.
I have occasionally ridden in boxer briefs but (no pun intended) I find the lack of support a bit unnerving as I've been wearing a chamois under my riding shorts since the 90s.
I find if I don't wear a chamois there's also a much greater chance that I'll end up crushing a testis between my leg and the seat. OUCH! TMI?
Also, I've been using chamois butt'r on long rides for the past few years and get no chafe even after being on the bike for 6-8 hours. Prior to this, chafing was a regular and painful experience that made multi-day rides much more difficult.
Plus one to this. I’ve worn boxer briefs on rides in the past and seem to painfully smack a nut each time without fail. Fucking ouch. I’ll keep on with the chamois instead of feeling that again.
Also SWAT pockets.
Support is no issue at all with the ginch I wear. Overall I think it's better than with a chamois.
Good tip on the chamois butter. Would have loved some of that in Hungary!
The pouch, sir. The pouch takes care of the dangling and crushed testes. It can not, however, take on magical properties and overcome the need for chamois butter - if you're on a ride long enough to need that stuff, you need the big guns.
I've been riding for the last 5 years with cheap uniqlo seamless boxer shorts (less than $10) under my riding shorts.
I don't miss the full diaper effect on wet rides ...
ironically it looks like BN3TH is about to release a chamois'd boxer brief this week.
for short rides and park I've been going sans pad lately but no way on longer rides. Like everything there are variety options and i think most people's experience with a mtb chamois is the cheap foam liner one that comes with a pair of shorts. lots of good options for a better chamois are out there now.
This wasn’t a coincidence Brian. I was talking to them about the product (we’ll be trying some) and it spurred me to write this piece that I’ve been thinking about for ages.
Just had the pleasure of scrolling past their “North Shore chamois” ad on FB.
Totally agree with this approach. I would go one step further and recommend pure merino wool underwear if you can get ya hands on it. I find synthetics to be pretty bad from both a hygiene and environmental point of view. I haven't worn anything but these while riding for a few years now, including a couple of 7 day straight / 1000km rides, with not a saddle sore to be found.
Agree. Been sans diaper for last few years and my best results are merino boxxer briefs i got on amazon.
Could you post a link on which model you're riding ?
I had a pair of IceBreaker : the were great, but very expensive and did not last long on the saddle ...
Does anyone who mostly doesn't use a chamois, do you prefer saddle that are a little softer? A little wider? I rode 25 miles on the road bike yesterday without pad and with WTB Silverado. I think narrow is better, but probably only for me on road bikes. But the saddle feels a little harder without the pad, and I kinda wonder if a softer saddle would help. In the past I fully bought into the soft saddles are worse (due to more soft tissue compression), but maybe that's something to revisit?
I've been 100% in the chamois-free camp for all but the longest rides where I know I'll be grinding uphill for a long slog. (LOTS, bikepacking, etc.) But THIS just might change things... https://www.bikemag.com/gear/apparel/first-impressions-bn3th-north-shore-chamois/