Baggies vs. lycra / spandex for mountain biking

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Baggies vs. lycra / spandex for mountain biking

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    • #216317

      What’s your preference: baggie mountain bike shorts or tight lycra/spandex only? I’m a baggies guy with lycra underneath. Admittedly part of the reason I wear baggies is because I think they look better, but they also add abrasion resistance and add extra pockets. On the rare occasion when I ride road bikes, I generally wear baggies there too.

    • #216323


    • #216351

      Baggies until it’s too hot for baggies. Then tighties.

    • #216369

      Cheapo cargo baggies from Target…..over a pearl izumi chamois  liner.  I -love- pockets, the more pockets the better. I have even started wearing the baggies on my club road rides, getting some odd looks from other riders but screw it, i have way more snacks, cash and tools on me now.

    • #216377

      Baggies for the pockets.

    • #216438

      Baggies always and on longer rides baggies with some padding underneath.  I can remember one of my first days mountain biking a few years ago, and I was out in the Pike National Forest.  Here come several guys riding around the forest in tighties.  I understand the benefits of lycra, but think about it … You are out in the middle of the forest running around in skin tight tighties top and bottom.  Honestly, it looks pretty weird.  And honestly, how many of us are world class riders or in a pro race where every second may count in determining the paycheck.

    • #216439

      I wear baggies with shamis underneath. I get out of the seat on the downhills and I  would feel that everybody  looking at my butt even though they are probably not. Just doesn’t feel rite to be all covered in spandex .

    • #216467

      Riding in Mongolia is the antithesis to say Georgia in terms of weather and clothing.  When riding in Mongolia because it is cold/cool/extremely dry climate, my typical sequence of clothing throughout the year goes:
      Feb-Mar:  warm mtb pants; I can usually only do a few rides in Feb; it’s still brutally cold most days.
      April-May:  cheap Wal-Mart sweats cut off to the lower knee with chamois underneath (they are warm and baggy and I can cut them to perfect length, no seams in the wrong places, saves wear and tear on my nicer shorts),
      Jun-Aug:  Endura Hummvee Lite shorts (really cool, durable, wick and help evaporate moisture really well),
      Sep-early Oct: back to the cheapo cut-off sweats with chamois underneath;
      late Oct-Nov: back to the warm mtb pants.


    • #216470

      @mongwolf who cares how it looks if it’s comfortable? Seeing someone riding in cutoff sweatpants would look “weird” to me 😉

      In the summer here, wearing baggies is akin to wearing a trash bag. Once your baggies get sweated out, they cling to your legs and prevent your chamois from being able to breath, further exacerbating the problem. More than once I’ve peeled off a sopping wet pair of baggies and thrown them in my pack mid ride because I couldn’t take it anymore.


    • #216480

      Unless you’re competing I don’t really see the point of lycra for mountain biking. I can’t imagine wearing baggies is the same as riding with an open parachute behind you. For many of the reasons listed above by others, I’ll likely always use baggies: comfort, utility, and perhaps maybe self-consciousness as well. I love my riding mates, but sometimes I’m not up for an anatomy lesson on the trail…

    • #216482

      Jeans 😉

      I used to wear just the lycra, but after ruining a pair of Assos bibs in a crash, I reserve those for the road… for mtb I wear Endura MTR baggies, with a mtr bibshort underneath in summer, and a thermal bibshort in winter. Looks better and is more abrasion resistant…

    • #216489

      who cares how it looks if it’s comfortable?


      I’ll do either/or depending on what I pull out of the drawer first, but most importantly, what the weather is doing. Lots of times here in Colorado I wear bibs underneath (sometimes bib liners designed to only be used with baggies, for extra ventilation) and baggies over the top for a bit of extra warmth and protection from the elements. Most of the time, it’s quite cool while I’m riding, whether it’s early spring, late fall, mid winter, or at high elevations during mid-summer.

      But if it’s really hot outside… as little fabric as legally possible!

    • #216543

      Baggies. Period.

    • #216578

      Cargo shorts with tight underneath. I don’t like the look of tights.

    • #216642

      It depends on what I’m doing, but I’m typically 50/50.  Most events I attend I’ll wear lycra, but if I feel like I need a little extra protection I’ll do baggies with a liner bib.


      Oh, and always wear bibs, I’m done with regular lycra shorts or liners sliding off my hips.

    • #216644

      Bib shorts FTW!

    • #216720

      Baggies, no question.

    • #216731

      @Aaron, I acknowledged in my post the difference of riding in GA.  Bloody hot and sweaty indeed in the summer as compared to Mongolia.   And I’m cool with you thinking riding in cut offs looks weird, but I’ll keep on doing it because it really works at certain times in my situation.  I was just sharing my opinion that riding in tighties in the forest looks weird to me.  I thought this was a forum to share opinions on it.  I’m an old forester, and have spent 1000s of hours in the forest.  Again, I understand the benefits of spandex, but in the forest … … I just can’t go there.  If you can, go for it.

    • #216755

      @mongwolf this is a place to share opinions, and I was just sharing mine.

    • #216759

      Baggies with chamois under.  When it’s cold, bibs with baggies over.

    • #216764

      Team kits are for race day only, whether its road, cyclocross, or cross-country.  Its hard enough to get your kits to last a full year of racing without riding through puckers and brambles.  On the road I train in previous season kit, on the trails I’d rather have the extra abrasion resistance of baggies, and once I’m wearing a backpack for pump/tools/food then jersey pockets are more of a hinderance than a help.

      Appearance is a non-factor for racers without guts.  Seeing anatomy through the shorts is actually not a thing because the chamois pad should cover you.

      But baggies or spandex, guns must be shaved.  For me its less for aerodynamics and more that its difficult to clean road and trail grime out of thick leg hair.  And most importantly its impossible to spot deer ticks through hair!  I’ve suffered enough with Lymes disease in the past, never again.

    • #216812

      @Aaron.  And if I lived and rode in GA, I’d likely sooner or later give in and ride in just spandex too … … in those hot summer months.  Gotta do what you gotta do.

    • #216814

      For maximum mobility, I wear a red and blue full body suit. Feelsp like I’m wearing nothing at all. Nothing at all.. Nothing at all…

    • #216846

      @mongwolf exactly! I’ll admit it’s pretty funny to see some of my buddies riding their Nomads, wearing 5.10s and Lycra in the middle of summer.

    • #216942

      Pearls under my cargo shorts…

    • #216943

      That’s cool @Aaron.  I’m sure if I rode in GA in the summers, I’d be wearing spandex too, no matter how I think they look.

    • #217060

      It depends on the ride. Sometimes baggies with chamois underneath, sometimes lycra. Baggies for pockets, lycra on longer rides during hot days

    • #217061

      Somewhere way back I read a statement that has resonated with and in informed my riding attire ever since. “Dress for the crash”. Furthermore, I am fond of keeping things simple, thus easy access to necessities during a ride and thus pockets. Since I am going sweat no matter what, I’d prefer to have the aforementioned versus a negligible amount of reduction in perspiration. I wear the following on all mountain bike rides: a longer coverage open face helmet (currently a Giro Montaro), knee armor (Dakine Slayers for now), bib chamois (modded so my iPod will clip on the right strap), full finger gloves ideally with knuckle/finger armor (Leatt, Oakley, Dakine), Triple-8 wrist guards (over the gloves…sure beats breaking one’s wrist/fingers and makes you look like the Terminator), generally short length above-the-ankle wool socks (Defeet Blaze), slightly longer than knee-length shorts with at least two front pockets (TLD Skylines or Sombrio Low Lines), random “jerseys” (including 3/4 length sleeve numbers, 50/50 t-shirts and tiki shirts) and skateboard style riding shoes (Speshy 2FO clips at the moment). On sub-2 hour rides, I rarely use a pack and instead employ a Speshy SWAT vest (looks like bondage gear upping my kink factor), Source hydration (fanny) pack and now a Race Face Rip Strip (mens spanx). Shake that sweat off, shut up and ride.

    • #217062

      Perhaps it’s because I live in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico), but I really don’t get why lycra or full kits are for pros only. Given the warm weather all year long, I use lycras mostly.

      First, as I mentioned, is the heat. Plus, I HATE carrying things on me other than on my CamelBak or jersey pockets. It’s much more comfy for me. Admittedly, baggies look much better, and I do use them occasionally, but I have always been the comfort-over-style kind.

      I remember getting my pants caught on the saddle during a drop once. Scared the crap outta me and got me into lycras, after refusing to convert for so long. Your self-awareness will go away quickly after you start using lycras.

      Don’t pay attention to what anyone says, try’em both and decide for yourself.

    • #217065

      I don’t wear lycra because I don’t race and my rides usually are less than 2 hours.    Plus, I wear proper mountain bike shorts so they never get caught on the saddle although if I wear standard cargo shorts, they do occasionally.    Plus, I crash sometimes because the guys I ride with like to push the limits.  So it’s more MX style than XC style and crashing on a regularly basis in lycra doesn’t seem too appealing.

    • #217509

      @midwestmtbiker, Lycra is much more durable material then you think and it takes a VERY serious crash to ruin it.

    • #217527

      Baggies. Is it even possible to go fast enough through technical trails where there’s any wind resistance?

      I’ve worn tight synthetic tops on hot days, what I can’t stand is the feeling of the mud splashing up on those thin synthetic layers, crusting, and then mixing with sweat and osmosing through the layer and creating a shitty layer of muddy itchy sweat. My Fox shorts with butt pad shorts underneath are super comfy, give an extra layer to stop the mud from wicking through, and also feel better during the occasional crash.

    • #217548


    • #225699

      Real Lycra is the only way to go.  Baggies are just for looks. Don’t be a wimp and try to hide your real gear.

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