The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Terry Bicycles Bella Review

There's much to admire about this short-short, most notably its women's specific chamois.
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Price:  $115 List | $114.95 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Shorter-length, highly technical chamois
Cons:  Pinches leg mid-thigh, "swimsuit" feel, awkward chamois stitching on the outside of the short
Manufacturer:   Terry Bicycles
By Rebecca Eckland ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 9, 2019
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 11
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 7
  • Padding and Protection - 25% 6
  • Breathability and Fabric - 20% 6
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 6

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.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Shorter-length, highly technical chamoisHigh-performance chamois lasts for hours, bib straps stretch to allow easy pit stops, multi-panel design tailored to rider's bodyLightweight, comfortable, highly breathable short, great priceUnique halter-bib, colorful patterns and designs, attractive look and fitBeautifully constructed, reinforced seams, super-soft fabric, value
Cons Pinches leg mid-thigh, "swimsuit" feel, awkward chamois stitching on the outside of the shortNo-thrills bib too boring for some, stitching shows wear after testing periodNot the most flattering short, 7" inseam too short for taller ridersCompact chamois, short inseamThicker fabric, slow to dry
Bottom Line There's much to admire about this short-short, most notably its women's specific chamois.A masterpiece that can handle every condition you might throw its way. While we wish there was a little more flair, sometimes there is beauty in simplicity.High-quality but reasonably priced, if you're looking for a high performer that doesn't break the bank, the Optimum delivers.If you want the protection of a bib but the ease of a short, this bib's unique design offers both fun and function.If you want a short that feels tailored and you are allergic to silicone, the Fit Sensor will not disappoint.
Rating Categories Terry Bicycles Bella SUGOi RS Pro Bib Optimum SheBeest Petunia Bib Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 7.5
Comfort And Fit (30%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Padding And Protection (25%)
10
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6
10
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9
10
0
8
10
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7
10
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8
Breathability And Fabric (20%)
10
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6
10
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9
10
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8
10
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7
10
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6
Durability (15%)
10
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7
10
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9
10
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7
10
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6
10
0
8
Style (10%)
10
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6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
7
Specs Terry Bicycles Bella SUGOi RS Pro Bib Optimum SheBeest Petunia Bib Louis Garneau Fit...
Main Fabric 74% Meryl, 26% spandex 80% Nylon 20% Spandex Signature Mat, Quantum, Mesh 80% Polyester 20% Spandex 60% nylon, 24% polyester, 16% Lycra
Inseam Measurement 8.5 in 8.5 in 7.0 in 8.0 in 7.5 in
Number of panels 6 panels 8 panels 10 panels 6 panels 8 panels
Chamois Flex Air Formula FX women's AirSport Women's Shelastic 2.0 AirZone
Weight (in ounces), size Medium 5.1 oz 6.2 oz 4.6 oz 5.6 oz 4.9 oz
Fit Type Form-fitting Form-fitting Form-fitting Form-fitting Ergonomic
Other Features Wide, elastic free waistband, silicone leg grippers Bib design Three different fabrics, stash pockets, flat-lock seams bib design with halter strap for easy lowering Huggfit waist and powerband cuffs are women's specific for better fit

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Our testers think the Terry Bella Short is a comfortable  durable short.
Our testers think the Terry Bella Short is a comfortable, durable short.

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.


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.


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.

Made by the women's-specific company Terry Bicycles  the Bella short might become your next favorite garment for your cycling adventures.
Made by the women's-specific company Terry Bicycles, the Bella short might become your next favorite garment for your cycling adventures.

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).


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.

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.
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.

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.)

Whether you're having a super fun time on the bike...
Whether you're having a super fun time on the bike...

Durability


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.

...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.
...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.

Style


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.

On the bottom of the right leg is a small reflective detail for added visibility on the road and another (subtle) stylish detail.
On the bottom of the right leg is a small reflective detail for added visibility on the road and another (subtle) stylish detail.

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.

A few extra style points for the color accent on the short's seams. The Bella also comes with the option of gray accents in addition to the pink (pictured).
A few extra style points for the color accent on the short's seams. The Bella also comes with the option of gray accents in addition to the pink (pictured).

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.

Just keep in mind a bike short can't fix everything about your ride... be sure you're in a comfortable saddle  that you are properly fit to your bike  and that your bike was made (at least) in this century! :-)
Just keep in mind a bike short can't fix everything about your ride... be sure you're in a comfortable saddle, that you are properly fit to your bike, and that your bike was made (at least) in this century! :-)

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

Overall  the Bella Short was OK. We didn't like the fabric as much as other shorts in this review  but it does have a lot going for it.
Overall, the Bella Short was OK. We didn't like the fabric as much as other shorts in this review, but it does have a lot going for it.


Rebecca Eckland