This is an uncensored review of bike shorts, so if you don’t like reading about lady parts – stop now – you will not enjoy the rest. The truth is, when you have a bike short problem, the consequences are significant. One time my skin suffered chemical burns thanks to poor reaction to a chamois (or the detergent it was washed in). The result was sores, shaped in the heart-like pattern of the bike short – that eventually completely peeled off. It wasn’t all awful, my quads benefited from the iso-squat I was forced to perform for the better part of a week.
Everyone who rides has stories of an angry beaver and I know the better part of our all-female Dirt Girls rides are spent talking about our lady bits. That being said, how often has the word vagina appeared in a bike short review? And yet – why do I wear bike shorts – it’s not because they are fashionable. I say, it’s time to be honest about bikes shorts – because at the end of the day all I want to know is: will I be able to ride after my ride?
After looking at the webpage, my review of this short may be a little outdated, as I can see that Pearl Izumi seems to have Lillith Fair-ed their short. The version I have still features a drawstring that gives phenomenal muffin top; and tight elastic bottoms that complete a sausage look. The white stitching going down the middle of the short also does a great job of creating the illusion of a camel toe . The new photos show a women’s short that has a broader waist and thigh elastic – which will definitely increase the attractiveness quotient. If I’m going to walk around in spandex, it should be as flattering as possible, because let’s be honest – spandex is only flattering if your name is Olivia Newton John and it’s 1983.
I’m not fond of the length of these shorts either, they are Catholic school girl size. Which I find creates the most unattractive tan lines and sticks out from underneath my baggy mountain bike shorts.
But, my biggest beef for the Pearl Izumi’s is the chamois. It’s thick, which both feels and looks like an extra large, super absorbent maxi pad, and it’s got a funny texture to it. It’s almost as if there’s some kind of plastic fibre in it – or another artificially created textile that gives it an unusual stiffness. This is problematic because the starchiness can cause serious labial chafing – and subsequent post-ride burning in the nether region.
2. SheBeest S-Pro
SheBeest only makes women’s clothing, giving them an obvious advantage in the bike short challenge. Their shorts have a nice thick waistband which requires no string cinching to keep it in place. This is a fabulous feature if you like bikecationing. I have a hard enough time working up the courage to get in a bikini – the last thing I need is that bright red imprint around my stomach where my bike shorts were dug into my “insulation”. They also have thick thigh bands that keep the short in place, without leaving any evidence.
The SheBeest’s are shorter than the Catholic school girl – but not Britney Spears’ short. They sit almost exactly mid-thigh, slightly higher than my average work skirt, which conveniently means no weird tan lines.
The chamois does not feel or look like special space-aged material, but instead fairly plain cotton – according to their website this is: SheLastic Vita di Carbonio which I believe is Italian for “soft vagina blanket”. The chamois is also quite thin and smooth, and while it’s still a bit maxi pad-like, at least it’s just regular absorbant.
The best part about SheBeest – the shemazing way they just add “she” to make sheverything more feminine – it’s shetastic really.
3. Assos S5
I just paid $200 for bike shorts.If my vagina doesn’t sing in tune with my hubs, I’ve paid too much.
— Mrs. North of 60 (@mrsnorth60) June 14, 2011
I was kidding – but wasn’t, $200 is a lot of money to pay for shorts. But, Assos has a pretty smart tag line – Sponsor Yourself. For people like me, who will never be sponsored by anyone else, the idea of being sponsored, even by your own wallet, is appealing.
Like SheBeest, Assos has a fabulous waistband system, that keeps the shorts firmly in place, without a drawstring. They also have similar thigh bands to the SheBeest and are almost the exact same length. So why pay the extra money for them? The secret seems to be in the chamois.
Assos’ chamois is thin and dimpled – at first I wondered if I’d accidentally bought “special” Euro bike shorts designed for a different kind of ride. But it turns out these weird dimples, or “waffle pattern” are supposed to increase airflow. It’s not just a gimmick – it actually works. At most, these shorts feel like a panty liner – but most of the time, you actually forget they’re there. On hot days – like my one mountain bike race, the shorts are noticeably cooler. The only better option is riding bottom half naked – which is frowned upon at most events outside the Yukon.
The best part about Assos – their entire website looks like it was styled by Derek Zoolander – so hawt.
So there you have it, my review of shorts. At the end of the day, everybody’s vagina is different, so you may completely disagree with my ass-essment (that was my clever pun of the post). So, if you have a favourite pair of shorts – let me know!