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.For steeper rides, the cut of the short was awkward, as it caught on our seats. We also found these to run quite large, so you may want to size down, a lot. These shorts are affordable, if not overly stylish.
Pearl Izumi Summit Short Review
Cons: Not stylish, baggy crotch tended to catch on seat on the downhill
Manufacturer: Pearl Izumi
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Summit short no longer appears on the Pearl Izumi website and has been discontinued. They may still be available for purchase through some online retailers. Pearl Izumi does still make a couple of other models of women's mountain bike shorts, and we look forward to testing a new model in the near future. -November 2021
For great coverage, substantial stretch, and a comfortable mountain bike 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 shorts 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. Though they are equipped with a 12-inch inseam that fits with kneepads, steep descents may cause you to catch the fabric on the seat, so even though they work well with kneepads, we don't recommend these for your downhill riding.
The fabric is more than durable enough to protect against brushy trails and inadvertent collisions with the ground.
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.
They 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 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 one of the more affordable shorts that we tested. The affordable 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 may not be for everyone.
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
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More