You don’t need special clothes to ride a bike, but a little padding in the right place makes things more comfortable.
Review by Simon Vincett
$70.51 + $6.25 postage to Australia
Bicycle Network rating 90%
You don’t have to kit up in lycra for all your rides, or even for most of them – as pointed out recently by Bike Snob NYC. Bikes are perfect for local trips and commuting, and ordinary clothes are all you need.
There’s just one item of specialised apparel that is sometimes worth the wardrobe change in the interest of comfort, and that’s liner shorts.
Liner shorts go under your other clothes. They replace underwear to add a padded insert for a bit more comfort on the saddle. Like a ‘chamois’ in standard lycra knicks, the insert should also absorb perspiration away from the skin and thereby reduce chafing.
Liner shorts are also made from a fabric that can withstand friction against an outer garment, unlike standard lycra knicks which don’t fare so well under other clothes.
Underdogs by Ground Effect are tried and true liner shorts with a quality chamois and superbly breathable and durable mesh fabric. I find the fit is perfect and I like the high-rise back that keeps you covered when you lean forward to ride. Be warned though, don’t drop your daks in company because the mesh is pretty see-through.
I’ve had a few generations of Underdogs over the years and this latest version is the best yet, with wide leg bands that hold without constricting and with the label on the outside to avoid scratching.
Ground Effect is a New Zealand company of mountain biking heritage and they design and make the best cycle commuting clothes in our neck of the woods. And yes, they do make the gear themselves in New Zealand.
The durability of Ground Effect products is a big plus for me. Their stuff is well made, out of good materials and it lasts. The Underdogs are not the cheapest liner shorts you’ll find but the quality of them makes the price good value.
The easy-to-use Ground Effect web store has all the info you need to make a confident online purchase, with size charts, zoomable images, explanations of technical feature and comprehensive FAQs. There’s a review section as well, which reads like it’s authentic, and the prices convert to AUD.
Orders are fulfilled from the Christchurch factory and are dispatched quickly – on the day you order if it’s during NZ business hours. Decades of being in the mail order business means that, should you choose the wrong size, the Ground Effect exchange process is straightforward. This should soothe any anxiety about getting the size right.
Ground Effect offers three other liner bottoms for men, Flatliners shorts without a pad, Innuendos premium shorts and Stowaways bib knicks. For women, Dovetails are the equivalent to the Underdogs, and Rendezvous provide a premium option.
I can vouch that matching Underdogs with Ground Effect Supertankers will give you a combo to cover most of your riding – it’s been my default knock-about outfit for many years. In fact, a fellow commuter asked about my new pair of Supertankers just the other day, but that’s a review for another day.