Lycra shorts with a seat pad are very comfortable for cycling because they fit like a second skin. But that's just it: they're skin tight. They stand out in the office or urban environment like a ballet dancer's tights. There is another summer option: so-called baggy cycling shorts. Styles vary depending on intended usage: mountain biking, touring or commuting. Some are comfortable enough over ordinary underwear, others come with a padded inner short, and any of them can be worn over Lycra shorts. Cycling shorts are designed so you don't sit on a raised seam. The seat is often reinforced. The cut is closer in the leg and higher in the back, so they don't flap or expose skin. Fabrics are quick drying, sometimes with a water-repellent coating, and may include a small percentage of Lycra to improve the fit. Other common features include: velcro tabs on the legs; cycling-suitable pockets; and reflective details.
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Endura Zyme short
Also available in camouflage, the black version blends in better around town. The shorts are made from Nylon with a wicking finish. There's no pad but there is a double seat panel, and the Zymes are compatible with Endura's Clickfast undershorts, which attach with small press-studs. There's a zipped security pocket in one of the hip pockets, as well as a zipped thigh pocket and two jeans style rear ones. You can fine tune the fit with the snap-lock buckled webbing belt, which also makes the shorts look less bikey. Sizes: S-XXL endura.co.uk
RRP £34.99 | Cyclescheme price £26.24
Giro Women's Mobility Tailored Overshort
Most bike shorts are almost knee length; these have only a 5-inch inseam. It makes them look more like normal summer shorts, and it limits the tan-line issue cyclists have out of bike gear. The fabric is a mix of polyester, cotton and elastane (i.e. Lycra), so there's a good amount of stretch in the fabric, without it clinging. There are four pockets. There's no seat pad, but Giro's padded Women's Boy Undershort has the right leg-length to be worn underneath. Sizes: XS (4) to XL (12), in jet black or 'dark shadow'. zyro.co.uk
RRP £79.99 | Cyclescheme price £59.99
Dare2B Modify 2-in-1 shorts
They're called 2-in-1 because they come with a detachable, lightweight inner short with a seat pad. You can wear them with or without this. The polyamide outer short has some stretch panels and is reinforced in the seat and inner legs. Waist and hems are adjustable to suit; there are also belt loops if you want them. Some of the several pockets are zipped, so furious pedalling or a comfy chair at a café stop won't pitch your phone on the floor. The outer short has a water-repellent coating. Sizes: 30-38in waist. todayscyclist.co.uk
RRP £54.99 | Cyclescheme price £41.24
Rapha Touring Shorts
Rapha are best known for their boutique roadie gear. These shorts are understated, with a slimmer, more tailored cut than most mountain bike baggies. They're a lightweight blend of Nylon and Spandex, with a full-length gusset to prevent seams rubbing. They're unpadded and can be worn on their own or over Lycra shorts; a non-slip waistband stops them riding down if worn over bibshorts. Two zipped pockets, a small front and larger rear, keep valuables safe, and there are some discreet reflectives. Sizes: 28-38in, in black or dark grey. rapha.cc
RRP £80 | Cyclescheme price £60
Bontrager Dual Sport shorts
With their loose fit and drawcord waist, these Dual Sport shorts wouldn't look out of place at the gym or while playing football in the park. Yet they have an integral mesh liner with a seat pad, so they're comfortable on the bike. Being a loose fi t, they suit a slower pace – riding off -road or on cycle tracks, for example, rather than racing along the road on drops. The Nylon outer shell is lightweight, and it includes three pockets: two hand pockets, and a zipped pocket on one thigh. Sizes: S-XXXL. bontrager.com
RRP £44.99 | Cyclescheme price £33.74
Swrve Men's Lightweight WWR Trouser Shorts
WWR stands for wind- and water-resistant. The fabric – a blend of nylon, high-wicking 'Coolplus', and Spandex (i.e. Lycra) – has a water-repellent coating. In terms of style, these are smart city shorts, albeit with cycling features. The seamless, gusseted crotch allows easy pedalling, and the waist is lower in front and higher in the back to stop it digging in or baring skin on the bike. The back pockets are big enough for a mini U-lock, and one is zipped. Some of the belt loops are reflective. Sizes: 28- 36in waist, in black, grey or pine. swrve.co.uk
RRP £65 | Cycleshceme price £48.75
Polaris Capri Pants
Three-quarter length trousers are also known as pedal pushers. They suit cycling because they don't flap into the chain or interfere with pedalling. These Capri Pants are tailored for cycling at the knees and hips but, despite some stretch in the material, are not figure hugging. There's no seat pad. There is a zipped pocket; one hip for keys and the like, and a strip of refl ective tape across the high-waisted back. The waist secures with both a button and hook-and-eye. Black only, sizes: 8-16. polaris-bikewear.co.uk
RRP £44.99 | Cyclescheme price £33.74
Learn about the scheme
You can now get bikes worth more than £1,000 through Cyclescheme. How about one of these super commuters?
Cyclescheme isn’t only a great way to get a new bike. It can also be used for accessories – and to improve the bike you’ve already got.
What’s the best way to alert other road users to your presence while cycling – bell, horn, whistle, voice? Here’s what you need to know.