Building your bike kit: Chammies 101

There are as many ways to spell chammy / chamois / cham-wowee as there are options, opinions and misconceptions about this infamous piece of apparel. 

Depending on who you talk to, chammies are either the patron saint of the taint or a diabolical diaper designed for derriere despair. So, we’re here to try to demystify things a bit and, hopefully, answer some questions you might not have even known you had!

I fall somewhere in between evangelical and atheist when it comes to said cush for your tush, which I think is most folks. Just like no two bodies are exactly alike, no two rides are exactly the same, so our chammy needs tend to change accordingly.

For example: some days, I cannot even with the idea of adding a chammy when I’m barely gonna be in the saddle during bike park laps, so I choose violence and opt for no chammy under my Freyah pants. Other days, I still choose violence, just different, when I need to feel fast (even if I never gear out of the dinner plate) on a long slog uphill, so I reverse course and wear only a chammy, no baggies over top.

The Aries chaos is real with me. 

Thank the gods of dirt church, then, that Wild Rye makes multiple undercarriage options for all our multiple athletic personalities. Because while all their chammies share the same radass genetics—like anti-roll, anti-sausage-casing-vibe leg bands and materials that are sourced ethically and sustainably—they definitely branch out from the family tree from there.


  • The Eleanor (6” inseam) is lightweight enough to feel comfy under baggies or pants, but cute enough on her own to shine in a spin class or when I ABSOLUTELY MUST jump into the creek at the end of a trail. Bonus points to The Eleanor for having pockets, especially pockets big enough to hold phones and/or plenty of gummy bears. 
  • The Alyssa (9” inseam) is long and sturdy enough to prevent any butter-is-my-favorite-food-no-thigh-gap-here chafing of my 5 '10 legs against my saddle when it’s just me and her fighting against gravity on a climb. 
  • The Baddie Bib (7” inseam)comes in clutch when the idea of layering as many waistbands as a chammy + pants + hip pack situation requires feels too claustrophobic to fuck with, and/or for when your chosen (mis)adventure requires all focus to be on stamina and snacks, not seams or slippage.  
  • The Alice (6” inseam) is the slightly sturdier version of the Eleanor, in the same vein as The Alyssa when it comes to compression, durability, and not see through-ed-ness, but is maybe even more capable of being the “quiver killer” if I’m only gonna grab one chammy for a road trip.
Woman Wearing Baddie Bib For Gravel Bike Ride

That said: I would never grab only one for a road trip. 

Why? Because you don’t wear underwear with chammies, and there’s only so many times you can rinse ‘em out between rides before you reeeeeeally want a fresh pair. 

The no undies thing definitely surprises some folks, but I’ll tell you two big reasons why Wild Rye says commando is the way to go: 

  • Every Wild Rye premium Italian chammy pad is antimicrobial, so adding something between its fancy fabric and your lucky labia negates its ability to keep you fresh and unbothered by anything but the type-two fun you’re putting yourself through.
  • The more fabric you have down there, the more likely you are to have more seams and wrinkles stacking up, which means more pressure points (the main culprit when it comes to what causes saddle sores) and more chafing.

 One chammy I haven’t tried yet (and, full disclosure, will not be since I have the right to self-determination and access to healthcare, no matter how unhinged our lawmakers get), is the B.O.B. maternity chammy. 

[Black] Black BOB Maternity Chammy On Model

I’m stoked it exists, though, because having been schooled on my bike by certain moms out there (here’s looking at you Cynthia Krass), there’s nothing about choosing (and it is and always should be a CHOICE) to have a kiddo that says you gotta stop riding. And this extra-stretchy, extra-high waistband chammy is here to support you in that, literally and figuratively.

Couple other chammy notes before we wrap this seat sermon up:

  • Chammy butter of any brand can reeeally help but it can also feel reeeally weird the first time you use it. Chammy butter is meant to go directly on your sit bits (making direct eye contact with your ride partner while you apply helps add extra hilarity to the hands-down-your-pants situation) and should be applied before you start pedaling to help add anti-friction protection while you ride. 
  • Last but not yeast (thanks Kendall for this gem of a phrase), if you opt for undies instead of a chammy on a ride for whatever reason, make sure they’re quick-drying, and either a natural fiber like performance wool or a synthetic fiber meant for high-output activities, so you don’t come home with more than just a sock tan. 

Hope this helps!


By Ariel Kazunas

pick your fighter

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published