5 of the Best Urban Cycling Shorts for Commuters this Summer
It’s that time of year again where many of us whip off our waterproof cycling trousers to uncover our pasty legs ready for summer.
In this guide to the best urban cycling shorts for both men and women, we’ll run through a bunch of really good cycling shorts that are perfect for urban and commuter cyclists.
Stylish Cycling Shorts – Not Lycra!
First off, let’s emphasise that Discerning Cyclist is a Lycra-free zone (although we do make exceptions if something doesn’t look overtly “Lycra-y”). At Discerning Cyclist, our ethos is “we don’t want cycling clothes – we want stylish clothes we can cycle in”. That means we love clothes that:
- Look great for urban life
- Feel great in general
- Boast discreet functionality for cycling
What Are the Best Cycling Shorts?
So, what makes a pair of good cycling shorts for urban rides?
Well, for starters, flexible material is a must in order to ensure cycling stays comfortable and your bike shorts don’t rip. A gusseted crotch is also a bonus to ensuring your cycling shorts stand the test of time, while bonus points are also awarded for having moisture-wicking properties, strong, stretchy material, a raised-back and for being waterproof and good-looking. Oh, and pockets. Secure pockets.
So, with that in mind, let’s start by looking for the best men’s bicycle shorts for urban cyclists (ladies, you can skip to the female section by clicking here).
Best Men’s Urban Cycling Shorts
Now, if you’re looking for stylish urban cycling shorts, you don’t need to look much further than this beautiful number from Foffa Wear.
The bike manufacturers expanded their operations in 2016 into the world of cycling apparel – but they certainly haven’t lost their eye for design.
The Foffa cycling shorts repel rain and feature a “double layer diamond gusset” which is basically the gold standard of the gusset world – meaning your crotch area isn’t going to wear out any time soon.
These shorts are packed with cycling functionality, include plenty of ventilation for breathability, and reflective branded logo across the rear. There’s no doubt these are some of the best looking and functional bike shorts in the UK.
Castore are so confident in the quality of these waterproof shorts, that they even offer a five-year guarantee on them.
These shorts haven’t been designed specifically for cycling, with Castore an urban activewear brand – meaning all their gear is suited for those who will an active lifestyle and want to look good while doing so. That means these shorts work great on a bike, in a gym or if you’re off on a run.
What makes them so good? Well, from a style point-of-view, you can make your own mind up in the pictures below. But in terms of functionality, they’re made from an ultra-lightweight membrane intense mesh fabric that expands in hot temperatures to provide increased breathability and prevent the build up of sweat. What’s more, they have an anti-chafe mesh design, meaning you can go about your business in complete comfort.
Probably the most impressive thing about the Castore Bertil shorts, though, is that they are waterproof, thanks to their patented waterproof warp knit fabric. Combined with the temperature control functionality of these shorts and you’re on to a winner.
Indeed, I’ve also become acquainted with DUER’s commuter shorts during the past year and I’ve got to say they’re absolutely top notch.
These shorts feature a gusseted crotch and plenty of stretch in the material. They come in a slim fit design which I really like and offers moisture-wicking properties so you don’t overheat down under.
The DUER commuter shorts also have plenty of pockets, with two normal front pockets, and two on the back where you’d expect them – all of which provide good depth. Then there’s also a small coin pocket on the front right thigh, and a discreet zipped pocket slightly further down the leg – which is perfect for a wallet, although won’t quite fit a larger phone (my Samsung S7 Edge doesn’t quite squeeze in). There’s also a small loop on which you can clip your keys on the right hip.
DUER are based in North America, so bare this in mind before ordering as you may have to pay extra shipping costs and VAT on arrival. However, DUER offer free international shipping on orders over $250 (£180), so it’s worth getting a few pairs of keks in one go.
The DUER Live Lite Journey Shorts are available in five colours: Sahara (beige), Storm (faded navy blue), Midnight (black), Cinder (light grey) and Oxblood (maroon).
No urban cycling style guide is complete without a mention of Rapha. If you’re on the lookout for technical lightweight shorts that look and feel great in warm conditions, then the Rapha city shorts are right up your street.
The Randonnee shorts make no compromises in terms of style and are available in purple, navy, grey blue, dark navy and black.
The fabric is made up of 94% nylon and 6% spandex, which helps provide extra flexibility in the material , which is also crease resistant and quick drying. The front of the shorts feature two pockets, while the rear has a handy button down and a zipped pocket. Another useful feature for cycling is the fold away high-vis tab which can add a bit more security to your right after the sun goes down.
Rapha are known for their attention to detail, and that’s why you won’t be surprised to find these city cycling shorts also feature a high-cut back to prevent unwanted backside exposure when riding.
*BARGAIN* Stylish Men’s Bicycle Shorts Under £50!
Resolute Bay are one of my very favourite urban cycling apparel brands. Why? Well, despite still being a very small operation, the quality of the gear they produce is second-to-none.
Indeed, they produce my favourite cycling jeans and don’t take the mick when it comes to pricing. Meaning you can get incredible value on great style and mega functionality for cycling – a dream combination.
For the Resolute Bay shorts, they’ve basically taken their winning cycling jean formula and “shortened” it down. That means that these denim cycling shorts have five pockets, are made from 12.5oz stretch Cordura demin, have a a crotch gusset and feature plenty of reflective strips are the side back and rear.
Best Women’s Urban Cycling Shorts
The Endura Hummvee shorts of something of a legend in the cycling world thanks to the incredible functionality and comfort that Endura have embedded into these ladies cycling shorts.
These womens padded cycling shorts are discreetly functional and perfect for urban life or a rural explore. The padding (8mm) in the shorts is part of a datable liner, which has been ergonomically designed to fit the female form.
They feature zipped hand pockets (woop), cargo pockets and large rear pockets – so there’s plenty of storage available.
The women’s version of the Randonnee Rapha city shorts also make the cut on this list, thanks again to their flawless style and practicality.
These shorts look great and use technical fabric that is stretchy, quick-drying and very breathable – making them great all-round urban cycling shorts for ladies.
The Randonnee shorts features zipped side pockets and a zipped rear pocket, as well as a further button-down back pocket. There’s also a choice of three colours: black, grey blue or navy blue.
If you’re looking for some lady’s padded shorts that effectively work as short leggings under a dress, then the dhb Flashlight Women’s Waist Shorts will be right up your street.
Available for £45 from Wiggle, these womens padded cycling shorts are built with comfort in mind, with the material shaping around the body in order to provide a comfortable fit. The pad is also thermo-moulded to provide ultimate flexibility and support, while it also features soft wings in order to prevent chafing.
Another great all-round pair of shorts for female cyclists comes from Gore Bike Wear, who’ve produced lightweight, stretchy shorts perfect for biking on any occasion.
Two zipped pockets can be found on the back of the shorts, while there is also plenty of discreet reflective detailing around the shorts. The waistband is partially elasticated to provide comfort and security where needed.
*BARGAIN* Stylish Women’s Bicycle Shorts Under £40!
Vulpine have had a difficult couple of years on the business front, but they’ve got some really excellent products amongst their ranks, including the women’s cotton rain shorts, which you can now snip up for under £40 at Cycle Surgery
Not quite women’s waterproof cycling shorts, but certainly water resistant – meaning they can repel all but the most severe of downpours.
And there we have it, five of the best urban cycling shorts for men and women. Have you used any of the shorts we talked about, I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments section below. Also, if there’s any worthy contenders that I’ve missed out, also feel free to comment with your suggestions!