First, some context: I commute to work on a fixie and go for longer rides on weekends on a road bike.

I often find my legs get sore/tired, especially when I've been on a longer ride or have pushed the speed on my commute... sometimes it's so much fun I can't take it easy :) My calves seem to be more affected than my thighs

My question is whether compression clothes are very helpful. I haven't tried any, but am quite interested. Also, would you recommend compression gear during the ride, or after riding, for recovery.

3 Answers 3


Apparently, studies have shown no significant benefit to compression clothing in terms of leg fatigue. What I notice more so is that the hight at which you sit and the bend of your leg play a much larger role in leg fatigue. That compounded with the position and way you push the pedal probably are the most significant causes of fatigue.

What you want is to have your seat high enough so that your leg is only slightly bent at the lowest position of your pedals on either side. Also you want to push more with the front of your foot. This will use the calf muscle more and put less pressure on your knees.

Also you can see these questions for more info:

  1. How do I determine the correct position for my bicycle seat?
  2. How do I make sure my bike's the proper size?
  3. At what height should I have my seat on a road bike?
  4. What is the recommended procedure for adjusting the fit of my bike?
  5. What are some good exercises to prevent knee pain?
  • Thanks for the info. My bike is custom made so I don't have an issue with fitting and I don't get any knee pain. It's purely muscle stiffness and fatigue that I'm looking at preventing.
    – Mac
    Jun 3, 2011 at 2:18
  • 1
    Awarded this as the correct answer because of the link to the "studies" in the first sentence. The rest of the answer is not so relevant to this particular question.
    – Mac
    Jun 8, 2011 at 6:44
  • A bit late here, but a quick survey of the studies I found (one at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3605315) reinforces something I've noted over the years: most such studies are either on subjects who don't routinely go for multihour rides and/or they cover activities much shorter than multihour rides. "three separate three minute tests on a bicycle ergometer at 110% of their VO2 max" doesn't really tell you what's going to happen to your muscles on a two-hour bike ride where you average, say 50% of your VO2 max. Oct 10, 2018 at 15:02

I've found that the use of compression socks after long rides helps with recovery. Feet that feel like a lead weight are never a good thing. Especially when you need to hit the road again the very next day.


I use compression clothing because they are usually better at wicking away sweat and keeping me dry and cool (remember cotton kills). I also like that because they are tight fitting I don't have to worry about them getting caught in my bike, I have had shorts catch on different parts of my frame before. Another plus is that I think I look pretty good in compression clothing. Bike shorts with a bit of pad are awesome!

But as far as fatigue I don't have any information. I think the prevailing theory is that compressed muscles will be less fatigued, but I have my doubts with that theory.

  • I have bike shorts that I wear and I find they have the benefits of wicking away the sweat and also having comfortable chamois. I'm not quite as confident as you in my appearance :) but it's all about the comfort.
    – Mac
    Jun 3, 2011 at 2:18

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