Why do MTB riders wear baggies instead of lycra? And why do cross-country cyclists wear lycra?!
First and foremost, a lot of cycle wear is about personal preference. Despite what rule 18 says, here at TWC we know riders that break the rules in every discipline – you can wear a cyclocross skin suit to ride BMX in if you really want to. If your legs work, that’s all that really matters.
But there are some logical reasons for different riders wearing different kinds of kit too, that go beyond preference.
When it comes to road cycling, many wear lycra in order to minimise wind resistance. This keeps cycling as fast and comfortable as possible.
In mountain biking (mainly downhill) this is less of a concern. Wind resistance doesn’t effect performance in the same way it does on the road – what will effect your performance is your ability to move around freely in order to negotiate obstacles.
It’s also, definitely, a lot to do with fashion. Mountain biking has a completely different history to road cycling. Conventions are created and copied until they become accepted and sacred truths of the sport.
There’s also the general vibe of the people who are involved with the sport. Mountain biking is pretty gnarly dude and thus the people drawn to it tend to like a more relaxed look.
Whereas cross country mountain biking is much more of a fitness-orientated way to ride off-road and therefore XC riders make use of the extra aero that lycra can offer.
Also: brambles and branches rip lycra. Baggy clothing created specifically for mountain biking tends to be a little more hardy.
Have you got any questions for the experts? Email Editor@totalwomenscycling.com and we’ll find answers!