Lycra Knicks are one of the most recognised (and notorious) items in a cyclist's wardrobe. The visibility of cyclists out on the road and at the local coffee shop means the general public is more than familiar with Cycling Knicks. The reality is that cycling has its own unique requirements in terms of apparel, and Knicks are designed for their ability to meet those requirements. Road riding requires a freedom of motion in the legs, as well as a need to reduce aerodynamic drag, hence the fitted, stretchable Lycra is the material of choice. Likewise, there is a lot of pressure placed on a riders' sit bones as the majority of their weight is held by the saddle. As a result, inbuilt padding will greatly improve comfort over longer periods on the bike.
Types of BibKnicks & Knicks
Of the Lycra variety, cyclists have two options, Knicks and BibKnicks (Bib Knicks). Knicks (otherwise known as Cycling Bib Shorts) are cut off at the waist, while BibKnicks feature braces which loop over each shoulder. These help keep the garment in position, while also reducing discomfort around the waist as they are not held up by a waistband. Both options feature a padded chamois. Cheaper models utilise a fairly basic foam pad, while more advanced offerings use a combination of gels and pads to give the most overall comfort possible.
Some riders prefer to benefit from the padded chamois, without the fitted Lycra. Cycling Shorts (Bike Shorts) offer and inbuilt chamois that clips into exterior shorts that more closely resemble casual clothing. Cycling Shorts tend to be favoured by commuters and mountain bikers who have less of a requirement for aerodynamics, and appreciate the added features of shorts like pockets and reflective strips.