Tech Tuesday: Eliminate Wet, Soggy Cycling Shorts Chamois Forever

Pin It

Ever get tired of sitting on a wet chamois during your cyclocross racing and winter and spring riding? Remounting and landing on a cold, wet sponge is certainly no fun, and is easily one of our top pet peeves. There’s waterproof socks and jerseys but what about our butts?

Endura has now created their waterproof bibs to avoid exactly this problem, but not everyone can afford to buy new gear or wants to throw big money around just to have dry shorts. Sure, you can add a fender or swap to a non-absorbent saddle, but fenders can get in the way of cyclocross remounts and plastic saddles can get slippery. And this time of year, with the snow melting in many places, and storms even hitting NorCal (finally), it’s a struggle for many of us to stay dry while riding, especially around the most important areas of our anatomy.

Now, there’s an easier, cheaper and more flexible solution for cyclocrossers who are tired of ’cross crotch rot, and it’s one of those why-didn’t-we-think-of-it-sooner ideas. And this trick allows you to continue using your favorite shorts or bibs… No chamois break in time or switching to a less-romanticized brand necessary. This technique uses an age-old sealing technique many cotton tubular cyclocross racers are already familiar with from our Mechanical Monday post.

It takes 16 minutes total and involves mostly standard household items with the exception of the urethane sealant. Grab your assistant or teammate and let’s get started.

Essential equipment and supplies:

First gather these necessary items:

    1. Your shorts, bibs, or skinsuit
    2. A cookie tray, baking pan (it should have raised edges). Non-stick full-size pans like these work best for easy clean up.
    3. Rubber spatula
    4. Either McNett's product should work: Aquaseal and Tent Sure urethane sealants.

      Either McNett’s product should work: Aquaseal and Tent Sure urethane sealants.

      One 8oz bottle of McNett’s Tent Sure Urethane Sealant (about $9); an 8 oz tube of the much more expensive McNett’s Gear Aid Aquaseal ($25) can also work.
      Can’t decide on the McNett’s product? Aquaseal is attractive because it’s said to offer “waterproofing and abrasion resistance with minimal shrinkage,” something most men will appreciate when it comes to cold, wet riding (it’s hard to put a price on that). However Pro mechanic Dave Drumm says Tent Sure doesn’t reduce suppleness like Aquaseal does.

    5. Hair dryer
    6. Best friend, teammate or significant other

 

Then, follow these simple steps:

      1. First make sure your shorts are clean. Put them on, and pull them so they’re skin tight—avoid getting your chamois in a bunch as you won’t get adequate coverage.
      2. Empty half the contents of the 8oz Tent Sure bottle or 8 oz Aquaseal tube  into the baking pan.

        Either is fine. Tent Sure is cheaper and more flexible, Aquaseal may last longer and is said to reduce shrinkage. Save the extra 4oz and let your partner seal her shorts after doing yours. © Cyclocross Magazine

        Either is fine. Tent Sure is cheaper and more flexible, Aquaseal may last longer and is said to reduce shrinkage. Save the extra 4oz and let your partner seal her shorts after doing yours. © Cyclocross Magazine

      3. Spread the Aquaseal bottle contents over the surface of the pan using the spatula. It’s similar to greasing a pan before baking cookies, but you don’t need coverage all the way to the extreme edges, and it’s okay to have a small puddle in the center.

        Spread it out, making sure to cover a posterior-sized area. You don't need to spread it all the way to the edges. © Cyclocross Magazine

        Spread it out, making sure to cover a posterior-sized area. You don’t need to spread it all the way to the edges. © Cyclocross Magazine

      4. Place the baking pan on a flat chair. Sit down in the pan, being careful to make circular motions to completely cover the chamois area. Slouching and gyrating will help ensure full coverage—think  Miley Cyrus-style Twerking if you’ve got the body control and rhythm.

        After spreading the urethane sealant, take a seat. Give it a few seconds to absorb and cover the area, and then start moving. © Cyclocross Magazine

        After spreading the urethane sealant, take a seat. Give it a few seconds to absorb and cover the area, and then start moving. © Cyclocross Magazine

      5. Have your friend use the spatula to collect the remaining Aquaseal in the pan, and have that friend use the spatula and leftover sealant to cover any areas that did not make contact with the pan, especially between the legs, near the front of your shorts, and further up the back (covering further up your back will also reduce unwanted penetration from rear wheel spray).
      6. Imitate the cycling position, with your butt out, torso leaning forward. Have your friend grab the blow dryer and on low heat, blow dry the coated areas. 10 minutes on the lowest setting should be sufficient.

        Just as with tubulars, you need to wait until the sealant coating is fully dry before use. 10 minutes of a blow dryer on low should do the trick. © Cyclocross Magazine

        Just as with tubulars, you need to wait until the sealant coating is fully dry before use. 10 minutes of a blow dryer on low should do the trick. © Cyclocross Magazine

      7. Pray for rain, go ride and enjoy completely dry chamois and privates during your next wet ride or cyclocross race.

Notes:

  • Recipe serves two: You should have 4oz left of Aquaseal or Tent Sure, which allows your helper the opportunity to reverse roles with you, and waterproof his or her shorts as well.
  • Storage: While you can create several batches of these shorts, careful storage is needed to make sure your new coating lasts. Stuffing the shorts once they’re dry with newspaper before storing them can help ensure the coating won’t crack, but a mannequin is ideal. Just as with tubulars, your improved, Aquasealed shorts are best stored in a dark, dry cool place, next to aging tubulars and/or good wine.
  • Last-minute is OK: Because the sealed shorts work best when created fresh, with a 12v car adapter for your hair dryer, this DIY technique is easily done on race day at the venue, and can be the perfect team building exercise. Randomly assign partners on race morning or at ’cross camp for a true bonding activity that is sure to seal up some strong relationships.

Step by Step in Photos:

See the full photo slideshow below for a full step-by-step guide on this easy DIY technique to waterproof and seal your cycling shorts and chamois.


 

Video: Pro Technique

See the video on how to ensure complete Aquaseal coverage of your chamois (shaved legs are not necessary). Loud, fast-paced music can be helpful.

 

Know a better process for sealing your shorts? Or have a tip you’d like to share for our Tech Tuesdays? Drop a comment below.

 

 

Cyclocross Magazine, Issue 22, Print and digital subscriptionsHave you subscribed yet? You're missing out if not. Get all-original content and your cyclocross fix throughout the year with a subscription and Issue 23 back copy, with features on Lars van der Haar, Jonathan Page, Elle Anderson and more!
Tagged as: , , , , , ,
14 comments
Dzung Dang
Dzung Dang

The date of this article is 04/01/14 ... hmmm ...

Margaret Lum
Margaret Lum

I will definitely try this. It's also a good suggestion for "monthly" visits.

Cyclocross Magazine
Cyclocross Magazine

Margaret, but hopefully dry? Feeling dirty is ok, we can't help you there.

Margaret Lum
Margaret Lum

Oh. My. God. I feel dirty just watching this.

Collin James Guy
Collin James Guy

Instructions not clear; rear derailleur is stuck in ceiling fan.

Chad Rector
Chad Rector

In a "How to remove glue" article on CXmag, heat is supposed to loosen up the glue. Already have a baking sheet...

Daniel Toomes
Daniel Toomes

Interesting idea. One needs a REALLY good friend to help out with this one!

Cyclocross Magazine
Cyclocross Magazine

Nigel, is that teammate or assistant still around? We've made the same mistake, but slowly heat the pan with the hair dryer and it should come off eventually. But don't be like that frog in hot water.

Cyclocross Magazine
Cyclocross Magazine

Andrew Reimann, shoot, Mastik is only used for the Running of the Bulls variation! But enjoy the extra moisture protection.

Challenge Tires
Challenge Tires

Try plastic tire levers to pull it away without damaging the fabric. Best to find someone you really trust!

Andrew Reimann
Andrew Reimann

Help!! I followed the step by step pictures on the website, but I thought that was a tube of Vittoria Mastiff tubular glue. Now I have a baking sheet stuck to my behind. Any suggestions?!?

seanwittmer
seanwittmer

Now, I know what to do with all those extra mannequins in the garage.

Great idea! Thanks!!

Stay up to date:

Search for a product, review, race or racer:

Visit these cx-loving companies:





Support CXM at no extra cost to you:

About Us | Jobs | Subscribe | Contact Us


Copyright © 2007-2014 Cyclocross Magazine - Cyclocross News, Races, Bikes, Photos, Videos All rights reserved.