LDComfort Riding Undergarment

LDComfort shorts (XL) compared to Denver Hayes (L, Mark's Work Wearhouse) boxer briefs

LDComfort shorts (XL, left) compared to Denver Hayes (L, Mark’s Work Wearhouse boxer briefs, right)

Salem, Oregon

I’m happily meandering through the large building that houses the dozens of vendors who’ve made the trek to the 2013 BMW national owners of America rally in Salem, Oregon.  (If you ever want to find the most obscure farkle for your motorcycle, make a beeline for this annual pilgrimage of the BMW faithful.  It’s one of the biggest motorcycle rallies in North America.  Rally organizers said some 5200 people attended the gathering in Salem this year.)

From a vendor’s perspective, this annual rally has got to be a licence to print money.  What could be better than a captive audience of affluent BMW owners, itching to spend money to make their motorcycling that much more entertaining?

I was quickly captivated by the LDComfort representative’s well-rehearsed patter.  (LDComfort sells undergarments designed specifically for long distance motorcycle riders.)  His slick spiel rolled off his tongue as smoothly as Vince Offer, the TV guy who sells a kazillion Slap Chops and ShamWows.

“This is a piece of material we use in our LD shorts”, he says.  He dips the cloth into a shallow container of water , and wrings it out.

“Here.  Give me your hand”, says the LDComfort rep.

I stick out my hand palm down, and he wipes the wrung out cloth on the back of my hand.

“What do you feel?”, he asks.

“It’s wet”, I say.

“Give me your other hand”, he says.

He turns the cloth over and wipes the top of my other hand with it.

“What do you feel?”, he asks.

“It’s DRY”, I say.  I’m a skeptic, so I’m surprised.

Then the rep goes on to explain that painful discomfort (aka “monkey butt”)  after long hours in the saddle of a motorcycle is caused by moisture buildup on skin of one’s buttocks.  The company claims that the 2 different layers of material used in the shorts wick away perspiration to keep your skin dry, and therefore comfortable for extended hours in the saddle.

The rep’s sales patter is so utterly convincing, you’d believe they’d invented a way to turn tap water into premium unleaded gasoline.  And we hard riding motorcyclists want to believe there’s a magic way to add four or maybe five pain free riding hours to our touring day.

I ask the rep how much, and he says $44 USD.  Too rich for me, so I thank him and walk away.

One minute later, I’m second guessing my decision to NOT buy the shorts.

Grant Johnson, world motorcycle traveler  and workshop presenter at the Salem rally once told an audience of ‘Round the World wannabe motorcyclists if you see something you want to buy, buy it.  Do it now.  Don’t expect to find it at the next town or village you’re riding to.  That’s sage advice.

What the heck, I thought.  I can buy the shorts now and not pay for shipping to Canada.  (As far as I know, they can be bought only online or at rallies the company attends.)  And if they DON’T work as advertised, at worst, I’d still have a new pair of underwear and lost only $44 dollars.  A small amount in the ‘big picture’ of motorcycling expenses.

Cash in hand, I headed back to the LDComfort booth.

“I’ll take a pair, size Large”, I say.

Sizing and humiliation

“We have to measure your waist”, says the rep.  “The LD shorts are designed to ride high, on the waist so they don’t slide down.”

He pulls out a cloth tape measure.  I have to force myself to stand my ground.  My instincts are telling me – Step back!  Do NOT let that man measure your fat roll!

He wraps the tape measure around the fattest part of my waist, quietly mumbles the dimension, and discreetly writes the embarrassingly big numeber and “XL” on the reverse of his business card and instructs me to give it to one of the girls who retrieves the correct size from the wall of storage bins.

Fit and Construction

The shorts are made of a heavy, elasticized, finely textured material.  It’s soft to the touch, and the label states it’s composition is 66-percent nylon, 19-percent polyester, and 15-percent nylon.

The LDComfort shorts dwarf the Denver Hayes boxer shorts (Mark Work Wearhouse driWear brand, $14.99), my previous favourite dry wicking underwear.  True to the sales pitch, the motorcycling shorts ride high, right up to my naval, and they’re long, extending to just above my kneecaps.

The waistband is heavy duty and elasticized, measuring 1-1/2-in. wide, strong enough and with sufficient width to grip the waist to prevent slipping down, and there’s a a clever, 7-row band of rubber-like stitching around the inside hem of the leg openings that grip the skin to prevent the shorts from riding up.

Pull them on and they hug the body, snugly.  The heavily elasticized material holds my bulging waistline in.  I’d imagine LDComfort shorts are like Spanx for men.

7 rows of rubber-like thread grip the skin so the legs don't ride up

7 rows of rubber-like thread on the hems of the leg openings grip the skin so the shorts don’t ride up

 

LDComfort shorts' horizontal fly opening is odd

LDComfort shorts’ horizontal fly opening is odd

Putting LDComfort briefs to the test

One oddity is the horizontal fly opening, a design I’ve never seen on men’s underwear before.  The simple design looks good in theory – a horizontal pocket that keeps everything tucked tightly to the body, with access from the top of the pocket.

Worn ‘properly’ (as prescribed by the manufacturer) with the waistband at the thickest part of the waist (in my case, at my naval), the fly opening is four finger widths below the naval.

Stand up and measure four finger widths below your naval.  In the real world, my t-shirt, when tucked in, covers the fly.  Undo your pants zipper to pee and you’ve got lift the front of your t-shirt out of the way, find the top opening of the fly, dig your fingers down there and try to pull ‘it’ out.

On my first few attempts at trying to relieve myself at gas stops, men at adjacent urinals were backing cautiously away, eying me warily because there was waaay too much hand movement going on and, I guess, grunting too.  My hand fumbling made me look like a pervert.  I finally learned the easiest way to pee wearing the LD shorts and BMW Summer 3 trousers is to unbuckle the belt, unzip and open the pants, lift my t-shirt out of the way, then access the fly.  Not exactly the lightning fast 40-second pee stop Iron Butt riders aim for.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Robyn and I rode home from the 2013 MRT Canada Rally, held in the B.C. Kootenays.  We were on the road for 13-1/2 hours.  I can’t say the LDComfort shorts were the key accessory that made this long riding day bearable (I was also using a new Airhawk inflatable seat cushion), but I think they helped.  Also, our ride back from Salem was in some very hot (37 Celsius) weather, and not once did a sweaty posterior even cross my mind.  So they must be keeping me dry.

Overall, I’d have to conclude the LDComfort riding shorts work as advertized.  The keep you dry, they stay put, and for the most part, if you wash them at night, they’re dry the next morning.  Yes, they’re a tad pricey, but worth the money when you need to grind out that extra few hours in the saddle.

LDComfort riding shorts, $44.00 USD.  Made in the U.S.A.  Available online from LDComfort:  ww.ldcomfort.com

 

 

 

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