Bike FAQs

Why Cycling Shorts Become See-Through (And How to Avoid It!)

correct answerThe Short Answer is:
Cycling shorts can become see-through when they are old, too small, or made of fabric that is too thin. To avoid this, you should regularly check your shorts to make sure they aren't worn out in revealing places. If you notice your shorts are see-through, you should replace them to avoid an embarrassing situation.

Cycling shorts are a staple for any cyclist, but have you ever experienced the embarrassment of your shorts becoming see-through? This is a common problem that many cyclists face, and it can be caused by a variety of factors.

In this article, we will explore why cycling shorts become see-through and provide tips on how to avoid this issue.

Why Do Cycling Shorts Become See-Through?

Cycling shorts become see-through due to various reasons. One of the main reasons is that the fabric is too thin. Poor quality shorts can also be a reason for this problem.

To avoid this issue, it is recommended to buy high-quality cycling shorts that are made of a thicker fabric. It is also important to wash them properly and avoid using fabric softeners or bleach, which can damage the material and make it thinner over time.

Additionally, wearing dark-colored shorts can help prevent see-through issues. Cycling shorts are designed to be worn without underwear, so they are made to keep you covered up.

Types of Cycling Shorts

There are two main types of cycling shorts: traditional close-fitting lycra road shorts and more casual, loose-fitting mountain biking (baggy) shorts. Road shorts or bib shorts are skin-tight padded shorts that do not have waist elastic but instead use straps or suspenders to prevent them from slipping down.

The different types of cycling shorts depend on your discipline, and you can choose between cycling shorts or cycling bib. There are also various brands and models of cycling shorts available for different types of riders.

Factors that Affect the Transparency of Cycling Shorts

The transparency of cycling shorts can be affected by several factors. One of the main reasons why cycling shorts become see-through is that the fabric is too thin. Other factors that can contribute to this issue include wearing old or too small shorts, as well as poor quality materials.

How to Choose Cycling Shorts to Avoid Transparency

To avoid transparency in cycling shorts, it is recommended to choose darker colors instead of white or lighter colors. Additionally, it is important to choose high-quality shorts with a tight fit that will stay in place during the ride.

Padded cycling shorts can also be beneficial for comfort and protection. When washing the shorts, it is recommended to turn them inside out and avoid snagging the fabric on Velcro or other rough surfaces.

How to Care for Cycling Shorts to Avoid Transparency

To care for cycling shorts and avoid transparency, it is recommended to wash them on a gentle cycle with cold water. Always turn the shorts inside out before washing them. It is also suggested to use a pre-wash agent directly on the chamois to remove stains and odors.

Ensure all zips and velcro are closed before washing as loose zips can damage both the kit and machine. Avoid washing your gear with warm water as it can cause shrinkage and damage to the fabric. In between washes, you can air your cycling kit and use a sponge with mild soap or detergent to remove lighter stains or dirt.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to the topic:

How do I know if my cycling shorts are see-through?

You can know if your cycling shorts are see-through by checking them regularly to ensure that the fabric is not too thin. If the shorts are old or too small, they may also become see-through.

To avoid this, you should invest in high-quality cycling shorts made of thicker and more durable fabric. Additionally, wearing cycling tights over your shorts can help prevent them from becoming see-through.

Can I wear underwear under my cycling shorts to avoid transparency?

No, you should not wear underwear under your cycling shorts to avoid transparency. Cycling shorts are designed to be worn without underwear, and wearing underwear can negate the benefits of the shorts such as friction reduction and moisture management. Instead, choose good quality padded bike shorts that fit well and are not see-through.

How often should I replace my cycling shorts?

To avoid cycling shorts becoming see-through, you should regularly check them for signs of wear and tear. According to different sources, including Trivelo, bike shorts should be replaced after around 500 hours of use.

However, it’s important to note that the lifespan of cycling shorts can vary depending on the brand and quality of the fabric used. If you notice your shorts are becoming too thin or rigid, it may be time to replace them.


In conclusion, cycling shorts are designed to be worn without underwear and should not be see-through. However, this can happen due to various reasons such as the quality of the fabric or washing them incorrectly.

To avoid this problem, one can opt for baggy shorts instead of tight lycra shorts, or choose to wear bib shorts. It is also important to wash the shorts carefully and avoid wearing them in bright sunlight. Additionally, investing in high-quality cycling shorts with good chamois can help minimize friction and prevent chafing.

Charlotte Barnes

Charlotte Barnes is a trailblazing mountain biker who is passionate about exploring the great outdoors on two wheels.

Alice Eleanor

Alice Eleanor, a seasoned pro who has been cycling for more than two decades. Alice Eleanor’s extensive knowledge of biking equipment and techniques has helped countless riders optimize their biking experience.

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