Hands-on Gear Review

Canari Pro Gel Review

If you’re riding for less than two hours, these form-fitting and reasonably-price shorts won’t break the bank or your backside.
By: Rebecca Eckland ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 20, 2018
Price:  $50 List  |  $30.00 at Amazon - 40% Off
Pros:  Simple design, form-fitting, moderately breathable, functional
Cons:  No-frills design, awkward chamois positioning, not built for long efforts
Manufacturer:   Canari
48
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 25% 5
  • Padding and Protection - 25% 5
  • Breathability and Fabric - 20% 5
  • Durability - 15% 6
  • Style - 10% 2
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Our Verdict

At OutdoorGearLab, we typically weigh economy over flair, and most times, that's a solid bet when it comes to equipment that enables you to do the outdoor activities you love. The Canari Pro Gel short, however, challenges this view. With eight panels of a nylon-spandex blend, a gel-filled chamois, finished seams, and silicon around the legs with inspirational messages printed on it (really, check it out!), this short has a few features of its more expensive cousins for a fraction of the price. Overall, though, it's a basic short that offers sufficient protection, short-term comfort, moderate breathability, and the low amount of style you can expect to see from a short without all the bells and whistles.

For short rides (under 2 hours) and spin classes, this model is adequate and costs less than one-third of some premium models. If and when you're ready to increase your mileage with some long rides, though, the Best Buy-winning Louis Garneau Sensor Fit takes performance to a higher level at a fair price.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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The straight-cut panels, too-long chamois, and basic black give you what you pay for: a short that will take you anything between an hour spin class to a 50-mile ride. For some riders, that's more than enough, and if you're nodding right now, this is enough short for you — no need to spend twice as much for features that, while nice, might not be worth the extra expense. However, if you are looking for something that enables you to say in the saddle for a longer ride, let's be blunt: this short is just painful.

Performance Comparison


The Pro Gel from Canari offers basic coverage for your journeys in the saddle. With the straight-cut  8-panel design  the short does the job for rides under two hours.
The Pro Gel from Canari offers basic coverage for your journeys in the saddle. With the straight-cut, 8-panel design, the short does the job for rides under two hours.

Breathability/Fabric


The Nylon/Spandex blend has a "heavy" feel to it, much little a swimsuit or a low-end tri short. However, it was soft enough not to chafe our testers on two-hour rides.


In a soak-test, the Canari Pro Gel short performed reasonably well: the nylon/spandex outer shed most water within an hour. An added bonus: the gel chamois was the driest of all the shorts in this review after an hour.

Padding and Protection


Our testers were intrigued by the idea of a "gel" chamois. It is, in fact, very different than other chamois composed mostly of 3D/layered (or 2D, depending on quality) foam. Despite the novelty, the gel becomes squished out of place by a rider's sit bones, offering minimal protection against bumps (or cracks) in the road.


In fact, for any ride over two hours, the chamois didn't offer sufficient protection and resulted in a sore backside after getting out of the saddle. Other testers remarked that the seams holding the chamois in place are oddly positioned and lead to the chamois "riding up" (rather than staying put) over the course of a ride.

Worst case scenario: the stitching on the front of the chamois was extra-unflattering on some testers.

The most important takeaway from our months of testing, however, is that the gel chamois doesn't offer sufficient coverage to keep road-chatter at bay. Granted, the chamois is better than riding naked, but that's a low bar. We tested this claim - which seemed unduly harsh - by riding the hard saddle of a race bike in these shorts and a pair of yoga pants. The Canari chamois made a HUGE difference to zero padding — which is why you need to invest in a pair of cycling-specific shorts before you head out for any road ride at all. Your backside will thank us.

Durability


With a lifetime guarantee on their products, the Canari short is sure to last. Reinforced seams (even around the chamois) guarantee that these shorts are built for longevity. The problem might actually be that the shorts will last longer than you will, especially on rough roads or longer rides when the gel chamois and the cut of the short deprive it of its potential.

The Pro Gel began to show wear along the inner thighs where the fabric rubbed against the saddle.
The Pro Gel began to show wear along the inner thighs where the fabric rubbed against the saddle.

Comfort and Fit


The straight-cut eight-panel design, a chamois that feels too long, and shorter leg length on the short make this one a difficult fit. Granted, it works well for up to two hours in the saddle, but then the Pro Gel gets plain uncomfortable. If you are looking for something for a ride over 50 miles, we recommend you try a few other options first, such as the Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit or the Louis Garneau's Fit Sensor 7.5 and save the Canari for shorter efforts or spin classes. These other options offer better comfort and fit due to the increased quality of the fabric and more thoughtful construction to get you through the miles.

Style


This basic black short isn't fancy: it's basic. And by basic, we mean exactly that: the eight-panel design is cut to the shape of a short with functionality—not fashion—in mind. And yet, for the price, if you don't want to spend a lot (and you don't ride a lot) this short is the fish in the sea you've been waiting to land and stuff into your gym bag. This short uses the most fabric panels, the most durable yet palatable fabric, and the most appropriate fit for road cycling of shorts in this price bracket. These are functional shorts that, for a mere $50 (or often less!), keep you covered and riding for those spin classes, short group rides, and beginner races.


Best Applications


The Pro Gel short is your go-to training partner on short efforts — rides you sneak into your lunch break from work or the shorts you should buy when you're exploring this strange, wonderful world of road cycling and you aren't sure you're ready to dive into it…yet.


This pair is also a valuable companion to the gym when you plan to do a spin class followed by weight training, stretching, or yoga, which requires a short without too much bulk, but a lot of versatility.

Value


Sometimes consumers get stuck on the "less is more" mentality. We encourage you to consider value not only the amount you spend on the short but the number of enjoyable moments you experience on the bike. At basically $50, this short costs significantly less than others in our line up: but, for the reduced price, what does it accomplish?

If you ride an hour a day, this is one of two of the highest value shorts you can purchase. However, if you want to ride more than that, then this short will pose this question to you between miles 35 and 40: "do you know you paid a dollar per mile -or more - for these shorts?"

And that is where every cyclist has to create a cost-benefit analysis: what do you want to do versus what can you afford? For the price, these shorts will take you through spin classes, 20-mile rides, hour-long interval sessions, a 90-minute brick workout (with an hour bike component), or a trip across town. If your time in the saddle exceeds those demands, we recommend looking into other models that are not that much more expensive: the Louis Garneau Fit Sensor performs incredibly for 25% more. Interested in a bib? Check out the Shebeest Petunia Bib with colors and styles that will blow your socks off.

Conclusion


The Canari Pro Gel short is ideal for the rider who wants to do twenty-mile rides and hour-long spin sessions, or a busy cyclist who is tired of doing laundry every night to have their high-quality shorts ready for every single workout. If you are in the saddle for over two hours, however, we recommend spending a little more for a short that will offer more padding, protection and overall comfort than this one.

Rebecca Eckland

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Most recent review: August 20, 2018
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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