Daddy, where do chamois pads come from?

Where you from, chamois?

China, my child.

If you’re buying the casual cycling gear, the lower priced stuff when you don’t feel like dropping two or three hundred on a bib short, China is your destination.

Along with the rest of the cycling gear — bikes, wheel-sets and components — Chinese factories pump out lycra bib shorts and pads for apparel companies in Europe, the United States and elsewhere.

Often, the hyped, multi thickness, grooved channel, anatomical wonder that’s advertised as part of a fancy cycling short was cranked out in a sweat shop outside Shanghai or Beijing or some backwater where hours are long and pay is depressing.

The made-in-china website is kind of a dating service for companies who need to find a Chinese manufacturer for any number of cycling goods. It’s also comedy central, with english translations that will have you rolling on the floor with laugher.

Here are two gems from out readings in the world of Chinese cycling pads:

“During the longtime bicycle tour, the body especial man’s genitals will be badly harmed if saddle’s pression, friction and jounce can’t be will reduced. Elaborate selection of fabric and foam, gel rubber material use, thermofusion 4D emboss technology …. ventilation theory’s use and humanistic consider make our cycling pads or chamois own wonderful quality.” — Beijing Tourmate Outdoor Sports Products Co.

“For riding lovers, in the long-term riding process, good riding equipped with is essential. Our company is specialized in producing bicycle pants mat, novel style, type is various, according to customer demand by original yarn,… Also can produce according to the demands of the masses of customers with customers providing the same products, welcome the masses of customers to negotiate with our company, we will use the reasonable price, high quality products and warm service return you!” — Quanzhou Omi Apparel Co.

There you go. For riding lovers in the long term riding process who don’t want their genitals jounced, China is the place to go.

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  • http://www.wafflesandsteel.com Waffles and Steel

    When I lived in southern China, I sometimes rode with a Swiss businessman who ran an operation that provided kits for several pro teams. It was a decent factory, not a sweatshop at all.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Waffles, loved your china blog. Have an adopted daughter from China. So as you know, China, big country, many stories, good and bad, so I have no doubt your story is true as are many other, deep and superficial. Best, Matt

  • Gnossos7

    At least they use Spellcheck! What, for example, is a "qhen", or "facories". or even "readins'. Ha, good one, that. And, there are more! Dude…

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      I have spellcheck but just as I pressed POST the Chinese internet police jammed it. Seriously, the spelling is part of the twist and half of what I write in interuppted in the middle by the wife going "get off the computer." We do the best we can but sometimes it takes an hour or two for us to circle back to do corrects. It ain't the New York Times, have you noticed? Matt

  • ridesforbeer

    Yoda couldn't have said it better! Which begs the question – Did Yoda learn English from his Chinese Master???

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Yoda worked in a Chinese garment factory for many years before attaining true Star Wars wisdom. Matt

  • IdeaStormer Jorge

    I hear Chinese sweat shops have started to remove employee sweat glands to prevent the bad moniker of Sweat Shops.

    A sweatshop is a place of employment where you would not consider viable even for a second cousin on your wife's side of the family. A non-sweatshop is a place of employment you'd be happy to work for. Any other definition is just a spin of a sweatshop.

  • Alessandro

    this must be crazy… . I am the designer and producer of 2 of the models in this picture and I'm from Italy.
    All the pads you see in that picture come from me and my Italian competitors.
    In Italy we really care about anatomy, design, materials and we RIDE since always. We know what to do.
    The brands you are purchasing (the one in the picture for sure) are spending for achieving their customer satisfaction and they are researching a lot. They neither trust Chinese pads.

    The 99% of the pads I've sen from Chinese production are just intended to make money, they have no research, they copied the Italian design (in a bad way) and they hurt in saddle.

    China is the place to go with bike pads? Sorry I totally disagree..
    The future of those Technical product is still in Europe with US cooperation.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Alessandro, I never said that any of those models in the picture were from China. I needed an image for the post so I took that shot myself of the bib shorts I own (most of which I've reviewed on my TS site.) To your point, all the high end apparel makers will use something from Europe. You get what you pay for. China is the low end of course and anyone with a nice bike that cares about style and comfort will not be buying those shorts. We all love Italy's craftsmanship and flair for beautiful design and that's never going to change. However, trends are trends and I would expect sometime down the road that there will be high quality pads sourced from China. They start with copies but it doesn't take too long before they go the next level and begin innovating. If you're interested, I would love to use you as a source and expert opinion for occasional questions on fabrics and designs for cycling apparel. If you go to the About Twisted SPoke heading in the top right of the home page, you'll find an email link. Best, Matt