Pearl Izumi Summit Shell Short Women's Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Lightweight, breathable, fun pattern
Cons: Not waterproof, ride up when pedaling, short inseam
Manufacturer: Pearl Izumi
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Pearl Izumi Summit Shell Short Women's
|Price||$69.98 at Backcountry|
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|$68.99 at Evo|
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|$87.65 at Amazon|
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|$74.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Lightweight, breathable, fun pattern||Great fit, smart waist adjustment, usable pockets, lightweight, comfortable||Lightweight, four-way stretch, excellent fit, breathable, super comfortable||Durable material, 13-inch inseam works well with kneepads, comfortable||Lightweight, breathable, many pockets, affordable|
|Cons||Not waterproof, ride up when pedaling, short inseam||Not waterproof, slim fit may not work for all riders||Not as protective for burly terrain||Not the most breathable, a little heavy||Not water resistant, runs large, velcro waist adjusters|
|Bottom Line||A lightweight pair of mountain bike shorts that is best suited for short rides in warm weather||Really comfortable and lightweight shorts that fit well, have great pockets, and look good on and off the bike||One of the best fitting shorts we have ever tested, with a minimalist design, lightweight, and a high level of comfort||For all day, big rides in technical terrain the Airmatic is protective, comfortable, and durable||A very functional pair of mountain bike shorts that are lightweight and super affordable|
|Rating Categories||Pearl Izumi Summit...||Specialized Trail C...||Patagonia Dirt Roamer||100% Airmatic - Wom...||Zoic Navaeh|
|Fit and Comfort (30%)|
|Pedal Friendliness (30%)|
|Specs||Pearl Izumi Summit...||Specialized Trail C...||Patagonia Dirt Roamer||100% Airmatic - Wom...||Zoic Navaeh|
|Shell Fabric||86% recycled polyester, 14% elastane||Vaporize woven fabric||90-denier 87% recycled polyester/13% spandex||Polyester, elastane||86% polyester, 14% spandex|
|Lining Main Fabric||None||None||Sold seperately||None||None|
|Chamois||None (also sold as shorts w/ liner)||None||Sold seperately||None||None|
|Inseam Measurement||10 in||11.5 in||11.75 in||13 in||11 in|
|Number of pockets||5||4||1||3||4|
Our Analysis and Test Results
A super lightweight pair of shorts that are breathable and stretchy. They are not water-resistant but dry quickly making them ideal for rides in the heat. The relatively short inseam doesn’t offer much protection from UV or trail hazards, but they would fit right in at the beach.
Fit and comfort
If the Summit Short were just casual summer shorts, we wouldn’t have any complaints about the fit. The sizing guide is spot on, the shorts fit as intended, but they don’t seem cut for movement on the bike, especially on longer rides. We found the fabric gathers and binds in the thigh creases when peddling. The webbing belt pulls to tighten but only pulls from one side, meaning waist adjustment, if needed, will not be symmetrical. However, this style is offered in twice as many sizes as most mountain bike shorts, so finding a good fit that won’t require a huge amount of adjusting with the belt should be easy. The fabric is super stretchy polyester and soft on the skin, making them comfortable for short rides.
The four-way stretch polyester moves well when riding and doesn’t make any loud swishing sounds. The Summit does not have a gusseted crotch, however, and this means there are fewer ways for the fabric to move. We found that the legs ride up a lot, and tend to stay up rather than sliding back down, even when standing to pedal. This was especially noticeable on long climbs and was annoying enough that we kept pulling it down, not ideal when you want to focus on the trail instead of your shorts.
With a 10-inch inseam, the Summit is one of the shorter lengths in our test and is really too short to work well with knee pads. It also provides much less protection from brush and UV rays. However, the greatest flaw for us is the complete lack of water resistance. Most mountain rides will have some chance of changing weather, and the Summit will leave you soaked in a rain shower. For shorter rides with a clear and warm forecast, however, the wind resistance may offer enough protection. And the lightweight fabric does dry quickly, should you encounter a brief shower.
With five pockets, the Summit is pocket-positive! The zippered pocket on the right thigh is large enough to hold an iPhone or snacks and is the only one we would recommend putting things in while riding. This pocket is not tacked down and can flop around, but the cut of the shorts mostly held it in place. With a snug fit and top entry, the open hand pockets in the front are not the easiest to use, even for casual use. The two rear pockets are primarily decorative, though they do provide extra protection for your backside.
How could we not love multi-colored birds perched on bike chains? The fabric is fun and memorable without being gaudy. The webbing belt with a shiny aluminum hook adds a bit of style, as well. Overall, the Summit looks like lightweight, casual short that won’t be out of place at the pub or cafe.
Falling in the middle of the price range of shorts in our test, but lacking in durability and protection that make them usable in a broad range of conditions, we don’t feel these are the best value.
Pearl Izumi’s Summit Shorts are cute and stylish shorts that lack the technical features and fit recommended for all-day mountain bike rides in mountain terrain. They are best for short rides or rides to the beach.
— Laurel Hunter
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