This past month I have had the chance to try out a couple competitors' chamois creams. I have been in the JRA (just ridin' along) mode so most of my rides have been 4+ hours. I figured this was the best time as ALL my races are at least this length.
I tested TBS (That Butt Stuff) and AsMaster. TBS contains no parabens and a host of natural oils. AsMaster contains parabens and a host of natural oils.
Testing conditions were mainly wet and muddy, including gravel roads and single track. Temperatures ranged from 45-70 degrees. Overall saddle times were 5-7 hours. I had enough to conduct two rides per product. I used the same Specialized shorts for each ride.
When initially applying both products, I noticed how thin they were. Both required a two-fingered application vs. the usual one finger Chamois Butt'r application.
For the first 3 hours both products did there job. Both felt the same. But by hour 4, I was aware of my taint. I felt a mild irritation, especially when I was moving around on the saddle. By hour 5, I was squirming around on the saddle, trying to find the "sweet" spot, wishing I had brought more cream with me.
Upon post-ride examination, my skin was definitely more inflamed. The good news was that there were no saddle sores with either product.
Conclusion: Chamois Butt'r is THE TICKET , especially for ultra-endurance riding/racing. (Having said that, TBS and AsMaster would work just fine for short rides and XC races.)
I think the biggest difference is that Chamois Butt'r has lanolin which allows it to endure for 4+ hours. When you scoop a fingerful out of the container, it has the same consistency as "I Cannot Believe It's Butter" butter spread. I also like the menthol which seems to have a "cooling" effect and therefore increases my comfort level in the saddle. (For those of you that do not like this "tingling," plain Chamois Butt'r works great and endures as long as its European counterpart.)
FYI, I used Chamois Butt'r for 9 months prior to being sponsored by them. This year, it held up to the extreme weather conditions at TransRockies and Pisgah stage races. No saddle sores and aside from some sit-bone soreness during the final days of each race, my taint was a happy taint!
I have plenty of samples, so if you see me out there, I would be happy to give some to you to try yourself.