I shouldn’t need custom shorts. In most respects I’m about as dead-average as you can get: 5-foot-10, 160 pounds.
But due to a youth spent doing heavy squats for football, my quads are disproportionately large. Not that these big guns give me an advantage on the bike. They’re large, but they don’t go around very fast.
My theory: Large legs only increase the number of pain receptors.
These hefty thighs create a problem when I buy shorts. I’m the only guy in my racing club who orders team shorts in size XL. They fit around my thighs but bag in the seat and waist. That’s a big problem because a chamois that slides around can increase friction that leads to saddle sores.
So when I rode in Durango, Colorado, at Boure Bike Week in 2003, company founder Drew Bourey offered to make me a pair of custom bib shorts. I sent him my measurements and the result came several days later — a size medium body with XXL leg openings. Finally, shorts that fit!
Bourey says custom shorts are a big part of his business. He can fit 350-pounders, riders of NBA height and diminutive cyclists who want shorts that end mid-thigh, not below their knees. Boure custom shorts cost 25% more than its stock shorts, ranging in price to $125, depending on the style.
A great fit extends to the bib straps, too. They’re the right length to prevent the shorts from bagging, but not so snug that I feel like I’m getting a wedgie every time I bend over.
Boure custom shorts are detailed, high-end garments using top-of-the line fabric and stitching. You don’t give up durability for fit.
One example: I wore the shorts all week at a cycling camp, washing them in the sink each evening. Boure instructions say not to wring them by hand, but in a motel, what choice do you have? So I squeezed out excess water and rolled them in a towel. Then I stood on the end of the towel and twisted it to remove the last drops from the fabric. The shorts help up fine to six such treatments — no broken threads or split seams.
One caution: The chamois, an antibacterial pad, may not be what you’ve become accustomed to in other shorts. It’s smaller and thinner than some manufacturers provide, and it lacks the cut-outs and reliefs that have become standard.
The chamois size is adequate for me and quite comfortable, but bigger riders, or those using thinly padded saddles, might feel different. On the plus side, if you’re on tour and washing shorts each night, the Boure chamois dries significantly faster than thicker models.
To order, check the Boure website where there’s a list of measurements you can e-mail to the company. Turnaround time is about four days, and Boure will tweak the fit without extra charge if you feel it isn’t quite right. The company then keeps your measurements on file for future orders.
I liked my sample shorts so much that I bought another pair.
Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred’s full bio.