Reviews You Can Rely On

Terry Bicycles Bella Review

There's much to admire about this short-short, most notably its women's specific chamois
terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review
Credit: Terry Bicycles
Price:  $120 List
Manufacturer:   Terry Bicycles
By Rebecca Eckland ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 9, 2019
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 7.0
  • Padding and Protection - 25% 6.0
  • Breathability and Fabric - 20% 6.0
  • Durability - 15% 7.0
  • Style - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Terry Bicycles Bella offers much to be admired. Made by one of the only women-specific cycling gear retailers around, Terry's mission is to make sure women are comfortable on their bikes, and so our testers embraced this short with enthusiasm. And, as it turns out, we should — there is much to admire with this short. Granted, it's a little pricier than other options, but if you are petite and looking for a women's specific option, the Bella Short might be the perfect one for you. While the Bella Short ranked high in our Comfort and Fit metric, it didn't fare as well in Breathability and Fabric-- in other words, we loved the short's fit and feel, but we didn't love so much the nylon/spandex fabric that is intended to feel "slick and fast" but felt sort of clammy like a swimsuit to our testers.
Highly technical chamois
Pinches leg mid-thigh
"swimsuit" feel
Awkward chamois stitching on the outside of the short

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison

terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review - our testers think the terry bella short is a comfortable, durable...
Our testers think the Terry Bella Short is a comfortable, durable short.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Comfort and Fit

This six-panel short is constructed of "curvy flat-stitched panels", which accounts for how it performed in the saddle. There was no bunching or chafing on the ride, and the short really stayed in place, which we liked. For our petite testers, the 8.5 inseam was killer, but some taller reviewers mentioned that they would really like the short to be another half-inch longer.

terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

If you like your shorts-short, the Terry Bella Short also comes in a 5-inch inseam.

The short comes to mid-rise which helps to hold everything in place and not "fold-over" as some shorts with a lower rise can tend to do. We were skeptical about the fabric (see the Fabric and Breathability metric, below), but after taking these shorts of a few hard and hot rides, we had to admit the shorts were more comfortable than we expected them to be.

terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

What we really didn't like are the "Terry leg grippers"-- a thin silicone band that's meant to hold the short in place. The function of this particular feature of the short works as it is intended (they didn't budge during our test rides). However, thin silicone bands around your legs aren't the most comfortable. And, after longer rides, some people may find that their skin blisters under the bands. This happens to a small percentage of people, but it can happen.

terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review - made by the women's-specific company terry bicycles, the bella short...
Made by the women's-specific company Terry Bicycles, the Bella short might become your next favorite garment for your cycling adventures.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Padding and Protection

The Flex Air — the chamois you'll find in Terry's performance bike shorts — has features of a performance chamois, and it feels like it, too. Heat stitched (like every quality chamois is), the Air Flex chamois is a 4-way stretch pad that moves along with the rider in the bike saddle. We loved the size and shape, which offered Goldilocks comfort (not too big or bulky, but not too small and wimpy).

terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Size matters when it comes to finding a chamois that will do what it's supposed to on a bike ride. If the bike short itself is too large or too small, the chamois, too, will not work the way it's supposed to. So ladies, do yourself a favor and find out what size you are in whatever brand and short you're trying on. If a chamois feels awful on the road, there's a sizable chance (no pun intended) that you might be wearing the wrong size short.

What we didn't love so much were the rougher edges around the chamois. While we didn't experience any chafing issues in this round of testing, any raw edge on a garment is a warning sign of potential dysfunction or deconstruction down the road.

terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review - we weren't super thrilled with the unfinished edge around the...
We weren't super thrilled with the unfinished edge around the chamois, which could be a sign of trouble down the road. Otherwise, though, the chamois felt pretty great.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Breathability and Fabric

Here is where the Bella faltered a bit for our reviewers. While the fabric and meant to feel "slick and fast", it struck some of our riders clammy, like a swimsuit. To test this out, we did what all cyclists do — we rode our bikes with the short on until we got too tired and couldn't ride our bikes anymore — and made an amazing discovery: the short wicks sweat like it promised to.

So…the short might feel clingy, but they perform as advertised. Some riders might be able to move past that and enjoy the short. Others, especially former triathletes, might wince a little bit with the memory of soggy tri shorts after the swim.

We also didn't think they were as soft as other bike shorts included in this review, but they are much, much better than shorts with a higher nylon content (and that felt like sandpaper after an hour on the road.)

terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review - whether you're having a super fun time on the bike...
Whether you're having a super fun time on the bike...
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland


It's always hard to truly test a short's durability within the narrow window of a few months (no matter how many rides and miles we take these shorts on) because years are different than months, and we want to recommend products to you that will last a long, long time. So, we often look for signs of wear or places where the garment might have a weak spot to give you an idea of what you're getting into when you take our advice and order these shorts online.

While the outer construction of these shorts seems bomber (they held up our wash-ride-wear schedule without losing a thread), we did notice a few details we thought we'd share. As mentioned, the stitching around the chamois has a bit of a raw edge. This could lead to fraying or chafing the more the short is worn and washed.

We also questioned the silicone leg bands. While they held up for us, we've seen these break down after multiple seasons of wear (another reason we don't like silicone leg bands). However, this typically happens around the time you should probably think about replacing the short anyway.

We also appreciated "Terry's Guarantee"-- if you buy the short directly from them, you have a year to return the short to them if you're not completely satisfied with it for a credit or a refund. We think that's a pretty sweet deal, considering not all retailers offer that kind of guarantee on their products.

terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review - ...or you've got to change a flat, the bella short does a fairly...
...or you've got to change a flat, the Bella Short does a fairly descent job in helping you have a blast in the saddle.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland


Sometimes simple is best and that's what the Terry Bella Short offers to its riders: a straightforward short where style basically means function. We appreciate that the short comes in two length options. It also comes in two color options: a black short with a pink stitching detail or a black short with a gray stitching detail. On the bottom of the left leg is a small reflective detail of the Terry logo.

terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review - on the bottom of the right leg is a small reflective detail for...
On the bottom of the right leg is a small reflective detail for added visibility on the road and another (subtle) stylish detail.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

We weren't thrilled with the look of the stitching on the chamois from the outside of the short (other shorts found ways to "hide" or to make this detail look less noticeable) so we deducted a few points for that.

terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review - we like the color accent on this short's seams. the bella also comes...
We like the color accent on this short's seams. The Bella also comes with the option of gray accents in addition to the pink ones we tested.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Best Applications

The Terry Bella is a good all-around short for cyclists looking to do anything from an hour spin class to a century ride. While not all our testers were fond of the silicone leg bands, they didn't prevent any of us from riding and having a fabulous time on the bike. In terms of performance, this is a solid garment that will serve you well in the saddle.

terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review - just keep in mind a bike short can't fix everything about your ride.
Just keep in mind a bike short can't fix everything about your ride.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland


While we don't have any specific qualms with the Bella Short we do think it costs more than it has to for what it offered to our testers. There are comparable (and in our opinion, better) shorts on the market that aren't as expensive. However, if you are a fan of Terry or you want to support a women's specific company, you won't go wrong with trusting in their product.


While the Bella Short didn't walk away with any awards, we do think it's a solid contender in the field of women's cycling shorts. Where our testers got hung up was: the clammy-swimsuit feel of the fabric and the price tag.

terry bicycles bella bike shorts women review - overall, the bella short is a fine pair of shorts. we didn't like...
Overall, the Bella Short is a fine pair of shorts. We didn't like the fabric as much as other shorts in this review, but it does have a lot going for it.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Rebecca Eckland
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