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Pearl Izumi Canyon Mountain Biking Shorts

Last year I spent the majority of my time on the bike out on the road, but this year I decided to mix things up a bit and enjoy the off-road trails in my area. Even though I own several pairs of mountain biking shorts I seldom wear them, mainly because most of them have a bad chamois or are just too bulky. Fortunately, I bought a pair of Pearl Izumi Canyon Shorts several months ago and have really enjoyed them—they changed my mind about MTB shorts!

Pearl Izumi Canyon MTB Shorts

Pearl Izumi Canyon Mountain Biking Shorts

The Pearl Izumi Canyon Short consists of an outer shell and an inner liner. The outer shell is made of 100% Polyester, a lightweight stretch fabric. This shell has a snap front closure with a zippered fly and an adjustable interior waistband (see photo below). Road cyclists are not used to having a pocket on their Lycra shorts, but most MTB shorts have several pockets. The Canyon Short only has one small pocket (on the right side). This pocket is large enough for an iPhone, billfold, or car keys (but not all three).

Canyon Shorts adjustable interior waistband

Adjustable Interior Waistband On The Pearl Izumi Canyon Shorts

The inner liner on the Canyon Short is made of 80% Polyester and 20% Elastane. The liner also has a Pearl Izumi MTB 3D chamois (13mm of 2-layer variable density padding). This chamois far exceeded my expectations and I’ve used it on several rides of over 60 miles or more without any trouble.

If you are used to riding in Lycra road shorts then you will find one of the biggest downsides to MTB shorts with a detachable liner is that they tend to hold in heat and moisture (mainly because they have two layers). This is not too bad of a problem when the temperature is in the 80’s, but on a humid day when the temperature is over 90 degrees I find it a bit uncomfortable.

Pearl Izumi Canyon Shorts retail for $70 are should be available at your local bike shop, or from major retailers like R.E.I., Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bike Nashbar, and Performance Bicycle. This product in available five sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL) and three colors (Black, Shadow Grey, Silt). Pearl Izumi also makes a version of Canyon Shorts for women.


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Lululemon Cycling Clothing For Women

Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago one of the marketing people from Lululemon Athletica, the premiere manufacturer of women’s sports clothing, asked if I would be willing to review a few of their new products. Obviously there was no way I could do the testing, so I asked Anna, a fellow cyclist and friend of mine, to try these products out and write a review.

I am an avid cyclist who one day found myself next to the one and only All Seasons Cyclist. That was three years ago and now every June I join him on his quest for miles on two wheels throughout the summer. I would say I’m an experienced and dedicated female rider and here’s a little about my riding history before I give this review. 15 years ago I began commuting to work and found I really loved riding a bike. After about a year of Chicago city riding I went on a long distance ride from Minneapolis to Chicago in five days, many of which were centuries. Since then I have ridden RAGBRAI, a ride across the state of Iowa, for the last nine years, and this year will be my tenth. I have also taught spin classes after becoming a regular groupie during the winter months. I am not as crazy/dedicated as All Seasons Cyclist, but I’m not retired either—I am a teacher, a job I chose partly to indulge my love of cycling! So, when he asked me if I would do a review for Lululemon Athletica I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I have seen some of their pieces and have thought they were very well styled towards the female athlete.

I was sent three pieces to test out. The Presta Jersey, the Presta Vest, and the Presta Padded Short. In all three the fabrics felt amazing, and the fit was true to size.

Lululemon Presta Women's Cycling Jersey

Lululemon Presta Women’s Cycling Jersey

The Presta Jersey ($78.00). Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways… First, you look fantastic in this jersey—no easy feat in spandex! It’s performance matches it’s looks as well, and I find you usually have to sacrifice one for the other. At $78.00 it’s something you might think about—so let me tell you, don’t over-think it. I went out on a very hot day (96 high) skeptical of wearing black, however it breathes very well with most of the back being a fine mesh (not see through) and has two back pockets about 6” deep. It has a generous length in back; you will never get sunburnt on your waist with this jersey. Also, it has the cutest reflection detail, though not much of it; a ruffle of reflective material is sewn on the back seam across the top at the yoke.

Now, why I think the Presta Jersey looks fantastic—I have an athletic build rather than a lanky one and I don’t look great in everything even though I’m in shape. I have narrow shoulders and this jersey has great details. At the shoulders they have two sets of pleats that offer a subtle “blousiness” in the cap sleeve, just a hint, but I instantly had wider shoulders. Another flattering detail is that the front zipper is about 10” long—perfect to open up on a hot day but not long enough for the unsightly bulge where the zipper stops on jerseys that unzip to your belly button. Also, both “All Season” and I decided that it looked so good you could throw on a skirt wrap over your shorts and wear it out when not cycling! I give the Presta Jersey 5 out of 5 stars for both functionality and style! I wish I had one for everyday—I’d never wear anything else!

Lululemon Presta Women's Cycling Vest

Lululemon Presta Women’s Cycling Vest

Last week I wore the Presta Vest ($98.00). It’s summer, so I just wore it over my sports bra as a sleeveless jersey. This vest is available in three colors: Black, White, and Ray (a hi-vis yellow). I received the hi-vis yellow and I never felt so visible! I’ve never worn something so bright and I instantly felt safer around cars. It was pretty windy with a chilly breeze coming off Lake Michigan and the wind repelling features on the vest worked great. The front of the vest is made of what Lululemon calls E-glyde coated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent). I’m pretty sure the water-repellent works. Although we went out on a rainy day, we never quite got more than a sprinkle. However, during some warm patches it did get a little “sticky”, leaving me to believe in it’s water repelling capabilities, but I just unzipped a little and with the mesh panels was still comfortable. As far as wearing it for rain I truly believe all the E-Glyde with DWR parts of the vest will keep you dry, but the back of the vest is mostly mesh save for a ruffled flap over your derriere that has a longer mesh underneath. So you will get wet, but I believe the idea is that your front and rear will be less wet.

The pockets are more to the side than on the back—I did lose an energy bar out of one, but then I used this thing called a zipper conveniently located right on the pocket! The vest also featured feminine details that make you feel like you have a bit of style and sophistication, instead of just feeling gross and sweaty after a long ride. It has the same ruffled reflective detail as the jersey (slightly different placement), and the ruffle on the back just makes you feel cute (but not too much). The vest has a full zipper, but no zipper bulges. I give the vest 5 out of 5 stars as well—you will be seen, no doubt about it, and great wind protection as well. If you are looking for something to keep you dry in full on rain then skip it, but otherwise a great vest alone or as a layer.

Now for the Presta Padded Short ($88.00). The length is nice, just above the knee—no grippy elastic, but they were long enough that I don’t think it matters. Again, as with the Presta Jersey and Vest, some flattering details, low waist in front and reflective ruffle detail on the thighs. The waist is also wide which is nice, preventing “roll-down” when bent over and it features two small mesh pockets in the back along the waist so if you want to leave the jersey at home there is a bit of storage.

I so wanted to love these shorts—high on looks, but no stars on functionality. If you need a padded seat, these fall short. It’s not that the pad is not thick, although it isn’t; it’s the way it’s made. I put them on and started down the street and turned around by the end of the block. I ride a road bike with a hard saddle—no gel covers or anything and I am conditioned to riding that way. The seams in this short are not hidden and are in the wrong place. There is an 1/8 inch rise from the short to the pad, which stops halfway under your rear where you make contact with the seat, cutting the sit bone contact point in half. I could also feel the seam along the inner thigh area as well. “But they’re so cute” my inside voice is saying. However, at the end of the day, cute isn’t what I reach for when need it to perform. If you ride a recumbent and want to look the part, then totally buy these shorts.

You can order Lululemon Athletica products from the company Website, or from retailers in eleven countries, including Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. If you can’t find a retail outlet in your area, you can also find many of their products on


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Pearl Izumi Men’s Elite Cycling Shorts

When I started cycling I bought several horrible pairs of cycling shorts merely because they were only ones available at the stores in my area. Eventually I started buying my cycling clothes at a Performance Bicycle store and was content with the Performance brand of cycling shorts. Last year Performance stopped selling the shorts I was used to and I couldn’t find a suitable replacement in their store. Fortunately, after several futile efforts, I was able to find a fantastic replacement, the Pearl Izumi Men’s Elite Cycling Shorts.

Pearl iZUMi Men's Elite Cycling Shorts

Pearl Izumi Men's Elite Cycling Shorts

The Pearl Izumi Men’s Elite Cycling Shorts are the most comfortable pair of shorts I ever owned. These shorts have a four-way stretch fabric that moves moisture to the outer surface for fast evaporation. Even when the heat index is over 110 degrees these shorts remain dry and comfortable. The 3D Elite chamois on these shorts is made with a variable density microfiber that wicks moisture away and has active carbon yarns to help reduce odors. These shorts are a bit longer than the other brands I’ve used in the past and have silicone dots on the hems to help hold the shorts in place. The shorts are mode of 69% nylon, 16% polyester, and 15% spandex.

I now own four pair of these shorts and have ridden over 4,500 miles in them over the past year. While the 3D Elite chamois is very comfortable, I would always suggest that you use a chamois cream regardless of what brand of cycling shorts you wear (I prefer the Blue Steel Sports Anti-Chafe Chamois Creme). I routinely use these shorts on 50 to 70 mile rides without any discomfort whatsoever. My quads are rather large (my best friend says they look like tree trunks) and I’ve never had the hem creep up my leg, even though the hem is not as tight as I would like. The waist on these shorts has a drawstring, but I’ve never found a reason to use it.

One added benefit of these shorts is that it uses the same 3D Elite chamois as the Pearl Izumi Men’s Elite Thermal Cycling Tights and the Pearl Izumi Men’s AmFIB Tights. Once you get used to the 3D Elite chamois you can ride in it all year round (I ride in the AmFIB tights in temperatures all the way down to zero).

The Pearl Izumi Men’s Cycling Shorts are not cheap, but it is hard to put a price on a comfortable ride. These shorts have a retail price of $100, but you can find them on for around $75.

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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Bicycle Clothing, Product Reviews


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