Gear Friday: It’s All About the Kulo

I remember with great clarity the first time Sal pulled out the chamois butter. That moment was characterized by a creeping feeling of horror, amazement, curiosity, and amusement.

"You’re going to do what with that?" I’d asked him.

Needless to say, I shook my head, chuckled softly, and promptly tried as hard as possible to forget about what had transpired between us.  (For those non-cyclist readers, the chamois is the padded part inside cycling shorts and chamois butter is… well… a thick, creamy substance to be used in conjunction with the chamois. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about how the two might go together.)


Now that I have committed to The Year of the Bike, I have been seeing higher mileage than I’ve ever seen in my life.  Back when I started this year, I complained about saddle sores and my ever-knowledgable readers cried out, "Dude!!  Chamois cream!"

O right.  Chamois cream.

So I went into Sal’s special drawer, selected a tub from within, and headed out on my first squishy-butt chamois-cream ride.

The experience was reiligious.


I raced in the door, left my bike in the entryway and ran up the stairs to the bedroom, grabbing the tub of cream from where I’d left it earlier: "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE!??"

So, in honor of kulo comfort for cyclists everywhere, today’s Gear Friday is dedicated to my favorite butt butters. Here are my current picks:

Assos Chamois Cream  Mmm mmm good.  This is my number one favorite as of right now.  A slight cooling and numbing sensation with excellent texture and weight.  It’s thick and scrumptious… the Gucci of chamois creams at a whopping $17. Comes in a tub so be prepared to dip and smear.

Butt Butt’R Not quite as thick as the Assos and no delicious numbing qualities.  However, it comes in a tube so you can squirt it out and make happy faces on your chamois before spreading the love. I also like that this container is very portable and durable. We keep a tube of this as backup in the cycling bags.

Sports Balm Chamois Cream  This interesting option has a texture that is more like Vicks than the previous two. As a result, it’s little easier to control, which is a huge benefit.  It also has a bit of the numbing/cooling effect, which has it vying for position as my new favorite.  It will take me a few more rides to know for sure.

Of course, what good would chamois butter be without a kick-ass chamois? 

I have a reputation for being unreasonably picky about certain things (and unreasonably relaxed about other things).  Suffice it to say that when I get my mind set on loving something, I am not going to settle for less.

The chamois have become one of these items in my life.  I own a lot of good cycling gear – our team kits are done by Castelli, and I have a pair of Ibex Wool Knickers that I loved deeply and madly for a year and a half.  But then, one day I dipped into Sal’s special drawer again when I found my favorites were all in the dirty laundry pile.  And what do you think happened?

The same thing that always happens when I go into the special drawer.  I fall in love.  The upper eschelon of cycling accoutrement is revealed to me.  My eyes are opened where they had been closed.

I find treasure.

This time it came in the form of Santini Ank Bib Knickers with Twist Gel ChamoisDid you see what I just wrote!??  Twist Gel Chamois.

Holy good lord.

The bibs were just barely small enough for me to make them work, but work they did.  Combined with Assos Chamois Cream Glory, they delivered a ride like no other I have had.  I returned from my travels to find Sal in the living room.

"Hey, are those my Santini knickers!?"

"No.  They’re my Santini knickers."

"What!? You don’t have any!"

"I do now."

And so it began.  I kept the Santinis in my cycling drawer, hiding them under dodgy Pearl Izumi crap so he wouldn’t be able to find them. After a while he caught on and I started have to dig through his cycling drawer to steal them back. I was relentless.

So you can imagine both of our relief when he came home two weeks ago after paying a visit to Mr. Team Cyclists Man over in Beaverton or wherever the heck that place is. He was carrying the tell-tale bag.

"What’s in there!?" I demanded.

He produced a brand new pair of Santini Ank Bib Knickers with Twist Gel Chamois.  And they were just my size.

I can honestly say that there have not been many surprise gifts that have come close to eliciting the same degree of glee that I foisted upon the world in the moment I laid eyes on those beauties.

And now that there are two sets in the house, peace has returned to the cycling drawers and their overlords.

Now, if you’re one of those men who is desperately trying to get your S.O. hooked on cycling so you can experience less guilt related to ride-time, expenditures, and geek-talk… don’t say that you haven’t been warned. The grass is always greener….



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  1. I used to have lots of hiney problems when I first started riding. I believe Bag Balm was the thing back then, combined with real leather Chamois.

    I’ve never tried this butter stuff you speak of, so it was a nice read. Thank you. These days, I don’t like to use anything. The dryer, the better. I was thinking about trying Gold Bond powder when it got really hot out.

    You won’t hear any squishy noises when I come by, unless maybe I had Indian food the night before.

  2. Assos is the bomb. I use that stuff for any ride over an hour. I almost put it in my hair once. Erikv recently told me it was ok to wear two pairs of shorts at the same time. That works wonders for any ride over 4 hours.

  3. Two pairs of shorts is the best for glorious Oregon chipseal!

  4. I’ve used Assos for many years on the recommendation of a friend.
    I’ve used other when it ran out, but always sighed in relief when there was more.
    It’s the best thing out there.

  5. Wow. Who knew such items were needed for riding comfortably? See, I learn something new every day! Chamois Creme..It even sounds good :)

  6. And this, my friend, is why you and Sammy are made for each other.

    And why I love you SO much. No one else could possibly be so adorable while using the words butt and butter in the same sentence.

  7. Qoleum Antifriction ‘O’
    The best bar none! I use Paceline Chamois Butter for commuting, since it’s cheap and it’s only 35 mi. round trip, but I save the “O” for the long rides. It’s in the “Vicks” consistency with E and Tea tree oil.
    For Bibs, there is nothing like Assos Assos FI-13 S2 Bibshorts! On sale $199.

  8. Assos all the way. I agree with Erikv though. With these newfangled synthetic “chamois” I find that unless it’s going to be an epic, I don’t really need the stuff.

  9. I love your blog, keep up the great posting!!

    There’s a portland chamois butter company that makes “Greyhound Juice anti-friction cream”. I had to buy it simply for the awesome name, and it turned out to be pretty effective, too. Very natural, $5 cheaper than asseos, and it smells great, even when the chamois doesn’t :-)

  10. Thanks, Sarah! And thanks for reading. I used the Greyhound embrocation products last fall during cyclocross season and it almost burned my legs off!!! Too hot!! Overkill!!! So, I have been a little gunshy about the their cream, but I will give it a shot with your endorsement. :)

    Jon – I will add both of those to my list of “butters to try”

    And… two pairs of shorts… who knew!? I have some long hauls coming up here that may demand a test run of this strategy.

  11. Doesn’t anybody still use Noxema? Seriously – I am not making it up, the stuff works and it’s a lot cheaper than any other product and the tingle…well, can only be described as old-school, BKW-approved PRO.

  12. I love those knickers!!! And the Assos chamois cream is my favorite.

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