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I got my first pair of "good" cycle shorts (Pearl Izumi women's Ultrasensor 3D Elite).

Love em.

If I'm not having any chafing/binding/pinching/rubbing issues with them, is chamois creme needed?

I wore them without today for 10 miles and they were 100% comfortable. Should I expect anything different from 20 or 30 miles?
 

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haole from the mainland
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Longer rides give you more chances for problems. Just overall longer in the saddle, more salt-laden sweat and chance of chafing.

I use chamois cream for longer rides, as a preventative. If you run into issues, you'll figure out which rides warrant the use of chamois cream.
 

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I'm male, but I don't see why my experience wouldn't be of value to women.

I went for a long time without having to use chamois creme. Eventually I developed saddle sores when I really started really piling on miles. I got out of my shorts immediately and washed them after every ride, showered immediately after, etc. I had them bad, and couldn't get rid of them by just the recommended hygiene alone. Finally tried, and then started using religiously Assos chamois creme. All I can say is wow. I now use it on any ride over an hour. Thankfully I haven't had a saddle sore since I started using it, so I'm a believer.

So, yes, you don't need to use chamois creme if you don't want to. It does take awhile to get use to the Assos stuff and it requires more cautious application for women, but I'd strongly recommend the first signs any chafing, saddle sores, etc. to use it.
 

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I am a religious user of chamois cream--never had a saddle sore. If you're doing shorter rides--under 20 miles, you may not need it, but I say why not use it...It really helps keep any seams from rubbing on the inside of the legs at the chamois seam----also, on those longer rides, after peeing, the chamois never seems to go back to the same spot that was originally comfy--the cream helps tremendously with that. I believe that the cream is also used to help prolong the life of the chamois pad in your shorts, too. You can rub some in the shorts after washing and it helps keep it like new. I use Assos, also, and there is a component in it that feels a bit like Tiger Balm--tingly--when you first put it on, but you get used to it--use it where your skin and the pad or pad seam comes into contact and don't skimp on it but you don't have to use gobs, either..--also--I have run across people--mostly women--who are freaked out by the idea of not wearing underwear under their biking shorts. I hope this isn't you--the extra rubbing from the underwear will absolutely cause issues on longer rides....hope this helps and happy saddle-sore free riding!!!!
 
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