If you are looking for a low-cost, functional short, and you are not planning on shredding any technical descents, the Pearl Izumi Summit could be a good option. It offers excellent stretch for cross country pedaling, durable fabric, and sports a couple of secured zip pockets. Size down, a lot, as it runs large.
Pearl Izumi Summit Short Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Roomy, good stretch, comfortable, inexpensive
Cons: Not stylish, baggy crotch tended to catch on seat on the downhill
Manufacturer: Pearl Izumi
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Our Analysis and Test Results
For great coverage, substantial stretch, and a very comfortable ride, check out the Summit short. It won't stop the show with glamour or bling, but it will get you where you are going and it won't break the bank.
Fit and Comfort
The Summit short runs quite large, like super duper large, in comparison to our other shorts. Definitely, size down a full size or two from what you might normally wear. Waist adjustment is handled with velcro tabs on the inside of the shorts, on the back. This means there is potentially a lot of fabric on your lower back to collect sweat. It also ends up looking like a gathered elastic waist, so depending on how you feel about that look, these may or may not be the shorts for you.
The legs are nice and roomy to accommodate powerful thighs and plenty long to work with kneepads. The Summit also has excellent stretch and all testers felt like the material moved with them on the bike.
The Summit has a 12-inch inseam that works well with kneepads. They are made of durable polyester treated with DWR, which not only keeps you dry, it helps keep the shorts looking fresh after a day in the mud.
The Summit shorts have roomy legs, but had a curious gathering of fabric in the crotch. Almost every tester was uneasy on the technical downhill sections, when they lowered their seats, as the shorts were catching on the saddle.
The Summit has a loose cut and 2-way stretch to make it a comfortable pair of shorts for pedaling. On the uphill, especially, these shorts were praised for being "surprisingly comfortable." All the ladies felt like the shorts were breathable and adequately ventilated on hot rides.
The two pockets on the Summit are zippered (yay!) but located in the front, so riding with keys or a smartphone was not a comfortable option. Location of pockets is as important as a zipper, in our opinion, so while we appreciated the security, we wished they were closer to the hip.
The Summit, as functional as can be, was not marked high for style by our testers. The cut of the shorts created sagging in the crotch and made a couple of ladies feel "frumpy." The dusty moss color reminded us of Grandma, who is a fun-loving woman, but a little out of style. There is color blocking, to create some visual interest.
The Summit is a serviceable short with a great inseam length and durable, stretchy fabric. It will be a comfortable pair of shorts for cross-country rides where you aren't shredding the gnar. Steep descents may cause you to catch the fabric on the seat, so even though the Summit works well with kneepads, we don't recommend it for your downhill riding.
The Summit is one of the more affordable shorts that we tested. The $80 price tag will get you a very durable and functional pair of shorts, but not a lot of style points. Additionally, the fit was very hit and miss for our testers, so these are not for everyone. For the same price, we feel like the Yeti Avery is a better value.
The Summit will protect you from the gnar and the fabric will stretch while you pedal. They are a great pair of shorts if they fit your shape and suit your sense of style, and if you aren't planning on descending anything steep and technical.
— Laurel Hunter