Why is bicycle clothing so expensive?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Why is bicycle clothing so expensive?

    Normally, I just wear regular shorts for biking. But today I decided I'd try out some bicycling-specific shorts. I was looking at some Azonic and RaceFace shorts, and found that their prices are around $60 or $70!

    What makes them so expensive?

  2. #2

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    I was in a couple stores this past weekend. €120 for baggy shorts?

    It's because people actually pay the price. People like me wait until they go on closeout.

  3. #3
    How do I do that?
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    I find that pretty much everything in this hobby/sport is on the pricier side

    Like JC mentioned, wait till the yearend closeout or something when last years model sells for a lot cheaper when the 'new' version gets released.

  4. #4
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    Actually 60 dollars is a fair price for a pair of bike shorts. Your paying for the materials and labour to assemble them. Here in Canada, most cyclist ussually shop at Mountain Equipment Coop for their Cycling togs. (mec.ca ) They give the best bang for the buck.

    http://www.mec.ca/Main/home.jsp?bmUID=1246229405845

    Sopwithcamel

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sopwithcamel
    Actually 60 dollars is a fair price for a pair of bike shorts. Your paying for the materials and labour to assemble them. Here in Canada, most cyclist ussually shop at Mountain Equipment Coop for their Cycling togs. (mec.ca ) They give the best bang for the buck.

    http://www.mec.ca/Main/home.jsp?bmUID=1246229405845

    Sopwithcamel

    What makes Azonic or RaceFace shorts better than, say, Gap or Banana Republic shorts?

    I understand that they're made out of synthetic materials like nylon or whatever, and maybe have a zipper or two more in them, but some of these biking shorts can run as high as $100!!

    How do they give you "more bang for the buck"?

  6. #6

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    More bang for the buck=made in Cambodia and Vietnam

  7. #7
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    MEC is a Co-Op which means it's owned by it's members.It cost you 5 dollars to become a member. I suggest you check "About MEC" on the front page to see how MEC works.

    http://www.mec.ca/Main/content_text....=1246230583032

    Sopwithcamel

  8. #8
    nnn
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    It's total nonsense - I don't see """genuine""" biking shorts lasting any longer or being classes better than my 15 quid Bilabongs or any bog standard brand with decent material and stiching...
    "Life begins at 140" Richard Burns
    http://www.nikolay-k.com

  9. #9
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    Their is a reason why hardcore riders wear Spandex Shorts! It's called saddle sores. You get it once and you never want to get it ever again.

    The Top 3 mistakes novice cyclist make is:

    1) Wearing underwear under their Spandex Shorts
    2) Forgetting to Lubricate (a little vasoline or Aqauaphor) can save a world of hurt espically when you are spinning the cranks at 90 RPM. That is a lot of Chaffing!
    3) Not showering immediately after riding is the best way to get crotch rot!

    Happy Trails,

    Sopwithcamel

  10. #10
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    its only expensive if you make it expensive, I don't think i've ever paid more than 30 bucks for any single item and its all name brand or tagged stuff "fox, cannondale, etc". Just watch for things on the clearance rack or at the year end close out. Summer is a good time to buy for winter and vice versa. A little planning ahead can take a big chunk out of the price.

  11. #11
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    Something else that makes them expensive is that they are usually 2 pairs of shorts in one. They have a padded liner inside. Your banana republics don't.
    Joe

  12. #12
    i also unicycle
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    Quote Originally Posted by nnn
    It's total nonsense - I don't see """genuine""" biking shorts lasting any longer or being classes better than my 15 quid Bilabongs or any bog standard brand with decent material and stiching...
    in my neck of the woods (midwest USA) legit cycling shorts(both lycra and baggies w/ liner) can be had in the $60+ range. the cheapest i've ever seen billabong board shorts (not on a huge sale) is $50. no chamois, nothing but a cheap nylon short. i've got some oakley cargo shorts that retail for $60 and they're an awesome pair of shorts to work in/hang out in, but not so much to ride in. chamois is your friend on the bike. why are noobs so opposed to being comfortable?
    mtbr says you should know: i work in a bike shop.
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  13. #13

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    Invest in a pair of high quality lycra bike shorts with padded chamois and wear whatever baggie shorts you want over top. Then take good care of your bike shorts.

    If you ride a lot, you may want to have an extra pair or more in case they aren't clean and dry for your next ride.

  14. #14
    i also unicycle
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    sure it's a sales line but it's pretty true: "you should have as many pairs of shorts as days of the week you ride. unless you like doing laundry all the time."
    mtbr says you should know: i work in a bike shop.
    bikes & beers (on my blog) http://idontrideenough.blogspot.com/

  15. #15

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    go to wheelworld they always have closeouts. I got a pair of AXO Jack shorts for 39.99. They might still have some left.

    www.wheelworld.com

  16. #16
    Stay thirsty my friends
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    The MEC stuff is OK, I have a few pairs and they have stretch sections at the hips and shaped and zippered pockets so they are comfortable to bike in but they are kinda thin for anything extreme. However the AXO and other high end shorts are worlds above in materials and quality not to mention ventilation, worth the extra cash thats for sure.

    I love these AXO's, best short I have bought to date.

    http://www.axo.com/Main/default/Prod....aspx?id=53000

  17. #17
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    Try a good pair (these tend to be pretty expensive) of shorts and you won't go back. I were LG bibs and won't buy anything else again. Normally $120 each, I managed to get my first 2 for $75 ea (sale and coupon). Spend 7 hours in the saddle and you won't want to skimp ever again.

    Yes, there IS a difference in the really cheap stuff and better made stuff.

  18. #18
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator
    What makes Azonic or RaceFace shorts better than, say, Gap or Banana Republic shorts?
    Well, for one thing, they have a chamois in them, so they are actual riding shorts. Gap or Banana Republic are not even riding shorts. I held out for quite a while (like about 2 years) of serious riding before I got my first real biking shorts for $70. Holy crap, did I find out what I was missing. As far as the difference between $30, $60 and $100 shorts, it is generally the quality of the material but especially the quality of the chamois. A quality pair of shorts last a very long time, and after a good bit of saddle time, are totally worth it, IMO. I'll ride around town in regular shorts because they are more comfy off the bike, but for any serious riding give me real bike shorts.

    I think $60 is very reasonable for biking shorts. Of course, if you look around you can get better deals.

    You can get a plastic raincoat at k-mart for $20. Or you can get a gore-tex shell for $100. Which would rather go running in?

  19. #19
    fnar fnar brrraaaaap
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    They seem expensive- but last for ever. I can't say that for cheap ones....

  20. #20
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    I've been seeing Oakley shorts super cheap lately. I picked up a pair of $135 Oakley shorts for $45 on a closeout about a year ago. I use these shorts all the time and they are so comfortable and and make a huge difference compared to come cheaper shorts I use.
    Vermonter - bikes, beers and skis.

  21. #21
    Mal Ad Osteo
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilostmypassword
    They seem expensive- but last for ever. I can't say that for cheap ones....
    Exactly. I'd rather pay more money and have it last over a year, than have to buy 3-4 pairs of shorts even if its cheaper.

  22. #22
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    I have some cheap Canari shorts with the non-removable pad. I honestly can't complain. The leg grippers keep them in place and the pad is adequate. I've done a couple 2-3 hr rides with them in 85+ degree heat and had no problem with discomfort, chafing, etc.

    That being said, I can totally see why the better quality shorts are more expensive. Better materials, stitching and pads. Once mine wear out I plan to replace them with something better quality.

  23. #23
    it's....
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    Got 5 pairs of Nema baggies w/padded inner shorts for $9 per pair on closeout.
    Also couple of pairs from Performance when they were on sale, and they are pretty good too.

  24. #24
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    I just wear shorts and a tee shirt. Maybe when it's super hot I'll put on some heatgear from underamor. And I gotta say, I"m not a newbie, and I don't ride rail-trail. I don't see a super big advantage to wearing the expensive bike shorts or jerseys. I've had them in the past but now I save my money for parts that I break. I don't like padded pants, (It feels like a diaper). When riding mountain my ass doesn't sit in the same position for long enough.

    I do wear some expensive coldgear in the winter. It definitely performs better and is lighter then the cheap stuff.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    More bang for the buck=made in Cambodia and Vietnam
    Also handmade... by skilled 10-year old craftsmen.

    No one has mentioned Assos yet? Ok, so it is roadie gear, but $200+ for a pair of f'king bib shorts? For that, I expect lips attached to the chamois.

    Aerotech is a good place for good-quality lycra at a reasonable price. Put that underneath and put whatever floats your boat above.

    V.
    Last edited by vkalia; 06-29-2009 at 10:24 AM.
    EMD9, drop-bar Bandersnatch, Surly LHT, a couple of Ridleys
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  26. #26
    Old man on a bike
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    With Azonic or Oakley or even Fox, you're paying a premium to wear their branded logowear, and people do like their logowear, and are often willing to pay a premium for it (crazy, I know). A good cycling short, whether baggy style, or lycra, will have seams and flexibility suited for a cyclist as well as a good chamois (and many of the logowear type shorts don't have very good chamois in my experience). To an extent it's also that the world of cycling apparel isn't as big a market as so many other types of clothing, economy of scale and all that.

    I also look for closeouts, and have several pieces of Assos that I picked up that way. Partly their price is likely due to their Swiss origins, but that stuff is the best made and most comfortable stuff I've ever used. You may not find it worthwhile, though...

    As far as a decent baggy goes, give the Hoss Ponderosa shorts a try, good price and well made but the fit can be kind of small.
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
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  27. #27
    neko no basu
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    i'd rather ask why any bicycle stuff so expensive?
    1 kg of bicycle or bicycle stuff is far more expensive comparing to 1 kg of motorbike/motorbike stuff, or car/car stuff, or even plain (at least some of them).
    GT force && scott voltage

  28. #28
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    Simple economics my friend, supply & demand. More people use cars and motorcycles than "seriously" ride bicycles. That being said, other reasons why gear cost $$, The bike shorts are cut and fit for a seated position and that helps with fit. Like others have said; better materials, stitching, and pads make a big difference. I have some gear that is like 5+ yrs old and still works. I do own a ton of jerseys and shorts though. I love Pearl Izumi products mainly because I sell them at my shop and get a good discount. The price is usually a good indicator of quality but some stuff, I agree, is ridiculous. Thank god for nashbar and performance, lol.

  29. #29
    And I don't mean the band
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    yeah go figure

    My MTB is worth about 2x my dirtbike . Even though the dirtbike is 10x10 + engine .

    Moto pants = $20, Jersey = $20, Helmet = $80, Dirtbike tires = $40/ea

    vs.

    Cycling shorts = $60-$120, Cycling Jersey = $40-$100, Helmet = $80-$180, Tires = $50/ea

    Materials and labor my a$$, motogear is put together the same or even more complicated.... For the rougher rides I actually wear old moto pants etc.
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. --Mark Twain

    BLAWG

  30. #30
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    Like many things in this sport, it's all about branding. Thing is: we're such fickle consumers, a product is only "hot" for a couple seasons at most. So, the marketers know to make hay while their "brand" is hot.

    I try to find a company which actually makes it's product (gee, what a concept)..for shorts, I've found Mt Borah to be good value.

    http://mtborah.com/index.asp?CompID=...&CategoryID=62

  31. #31
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    The shorts are pretty hard to get ellswhere, but the jerseys can be gotten at wal-mart or target for $5-10 bucks. This is a moisture wicking performance jersey, different colors, a few different styles, etc. They won't be yellow and orange, making you look like a bumblebee or something with your favorite brew advertised on the front, but I don't really care about those types of things. You can get your MTB gloves at the motorcross store, as they are exactly the same thing. The shoes are generally somewhat expensive, but again you can find closeouts and other deals, not to mention that the super-high end mtb shoes are rock-hard and terrible to try and hike in (like hike-a-bike). They are somewhat needed for the no-platform eggbeater type pedals, but otherwise you don't need quite as stiff of a sole and can go with somewhat cheaper shoes, not to mention in the wintertime the cheaper ones have thicker soles and can actually be quite a bit warmer.

    In any case, things are expensive because they can be and people will buy them.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  32. #32
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    LOL

    It's called technical apparel + brand recognition. Technical apparel may look like cheap-ass crap from your local x-mart, but has numerous distinctive properties. Namely, the fabric it's made of is different. Technical fabrics are harder to make than a cotton t-shirt, and technical CLOTHING is hard to sew (some is welded, even). Then there's the whole function argument. Seam location, sweat management, odor management, flexibility of the garment during the intended activity, etc.

    The stuff's expensive, get over it. It's not Hanes. Wanna save some bucks but still get good stuff, listen to the advice...buy clearance.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanHalen
    My MTB is worth about 2x my dirtbike . Even though the dirtbike is 10x10 + engine .

    Moto pants = $20, Jersey = $20, Helmet = $80, Dirtbike tires = $40/ea

    vs.

    Cycling shorts = $60-$120, Cycling Jersey = $40-$100, Helmet = $80-$180, Tires = $50/ea

    Materials and labor my a$$, motogear is put together the same or even more complicated.... For the rougher rides I actually wear old moto pants etc.

    damn my helmet was 375.

  34. #34
    And I don't mean the band
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertrat423
    damn my helmet was 375.
    LOL I fit kid's sizes, and there's lots of that on sale at the end of the season....

    No such luck with MTB though
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. --Mark Twain

    BLAWG

  35. #35
    The Beast Breathes
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    Quote Originally Posted by sopwithcamel
    MEC is a Co-Op which means it's owned by it's members.It cost you 5 dollars to become a member. I suggest you check "About MEC" on the front page to see how MEC works.

    http://www.mec.ca/Main/content_text....=1246230583032

    Sopwithcamel
    Sh1t, glad to see a fellow Canadian here, plus one who likes MEC! What a relief

    Bikinfoolferlife is right, though (although Oakleys rule all).
    Good luck with that, mister 300-Mile Turn Radius.

  36. #36
    Proud bike-o-holic
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    FWIW I own a Royal Black stealth shorts, $139 bucks and no chamois... bummer... but they look cool!

  37. #37
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    Hoss Ponderosas are almost always $40.00 wherever you go plenty of pockets and nice chamois. A bit heavy though

  38. #38
    curls of thunder!!
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    REI Garage sale. Got some cannondale baggy shorts with a spandex/chamois cycle short inside for $18.

  39. #39
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    You don't need to pay a lot for a riding jersey. Go to EMS or REI and get a sweat wicking t-shirt for $15-20. As for shorts, you're better off spending your money here. A nice pair of shorts will make your rides a lot better, but a $100 cycling jersey won't make your day.
    Vermonter - bikes, beers and skis.

  40. #40
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    You can do what I did and just buy a liner(s) from REI. $26 and I just wear them under my climbing shorts which are made of more technical/stretchy/wicking material.

    after doing this for a while I've noticed that actual mtb shorts are better designed for riding than normal shorts. the fit, length, where the material is seamed, etc make for a much more comfortable ride.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator
    What makes Azonic or RaceFace shorts better than, say, Gap or Banana Republic shorts?
    I learned very quickly when I got into outdoor activities (backpacking and mtn biking mainly) that quality functional clothing does not come cheap. Over the years I have gotten a ton of clothes at Gap and Banana Republic (I worked at Gap for 3+ years during college). A pair of cotton cargo shorts costs $45-$55. Compare that to biking shorts which are generally synthetic material (cotton takes a long time to dry) and have chamois padding in them, and you're easily up to $60+ to start. The same rings true for synthetic shirts, good jackets, etc.

    A couple options to save you money:

    1) What I did was buy 2 pairs of Enduromax (I think that was the brand) bike boxer-briefs. They cost me $20/pair shipped and I wear convertible pants with the bottoms zipped off.

    2) LLBean sells bike clothing much cheaper. They don't charge for their name like many other well known outfitters do, but their quality, customer service, and return policy are all excellent. It's just not "cool" and trendy like all the skater-ish stuff you get from Oakley and Fox (which I frankly don't like anyway).

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