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!
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).
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.