By Gillian Scobie
Cost: MSRP $110
Source: retail stores, websites
Colors: Black/black, black/white, black/pinstripe
How obtained: sample from company
RBR advertiser: No
Time tested: 1 month
Stylish, Functional Women’s Shorts — At Last
Style, meet function. Function, meet style.
I love cycling. I have never liked cycling shorts. They’re almost always black, they’ve got that big pad, They’re too long and they have no style. Sure, They’re functional. Not good enough. Substance without style ain’t enough for me. Style, c’est la femme!
But things are changing, especially now that so many more women are cycling. Colors are actually appearing. I now have a pair of royal blue bike shorts. And even more important, style has entered the picture in the form of Pearl Izumi’s Symphony Cut Shorts.
Yes, They’re black. But not just any black — They’re black with a pinstripe. THere’s a three inch border at the bottom that looks something like a Jackson Pollack painting, gray and white undulating criss-crossing lines shot through with splashes of white, like spilled paint. The same pattern appears on the inside of the waistband. This material is silky smooth and slightly thinner than the rest of the short and contributes a huge amount to how soft it feels. THere’s even a little back pocket that blends into the Pollack painting area on the right-leg gripper where you could put your keys.
No Distractions, Plenty of Comfort
I’ve worn these shorts on several fairly short rides, up to 40 km (25 miles). I barely even feel them. They slip on like a second skin, and That’s what they become, even on the bike. So when I’m busting up a hill, those little things that can distract you from focusing single-mindedly on the summit, like the bottom edges digging into your thighs or waist, or riding up your leg — they just don’t happen.
No elastic in the waistband makes them so much more comfortable. These shorts move with your body, whatever you’re doing. And they have none of the usual bike short look to remind you you’re wearing some weird clothing that will look really dorky the moment you get off your bike.
They also work for me because They’re only six inches long, which is perfect. The shorts have two other elements that add enormously to the “it” quality: a “3D” chamois that isn’t thick, just layered so you’re padded where you need to be but without any annoying bulkiness that can make it hard to walk, or not want to be seen walking in a pair of bike shorts.
And two kinds of fabric: one called “In-R-Cool,” which is activated by perspiration and claims to cool your body surface temperature by five percent; the other, the Elite Transfer stretch fabric, which quickly transfers moisture on the skin to the outer surface of the short for fast evaporation and also provides protection from the sun with a UPF rating of 50.
These are just words on the page to you right now. But get these shorts and you’llfeel the difference on a hot day when you’re out for hours. Or any day, for that matter.
Very cooling technology. Very cool design. Can’t beat it.
Gillian Scobie writes for www.WomensCycling.ca, which contributes the Women on Wheels column that runs occasionally in RBR Newsletter.