In its not so subtle mandarin red (orange) colorway the overall cut and fit of the Pearl Izumi Summit Short is very comfortable with a true form fit. Due to my small waist size I often have to size down in riding shorts where it’s not uncommon for the crotch and thigh area of a short to fit too tight as a result. This was not the case at all with the Summit Shorts as the entire short fit true to size in the waist, length and inseam. The snap front closure worked flawlessly and is much preferred to a Velcro option. Not once during my rides did I feel as though the fit was too tight or restricting of movement in the crotch or thigh area. As I predominately ride all-mountain these shorts provided a refreshing form-fitting cut that didn’t feel baggy like a typical DH short, this meant the fabric wasn’t flapping around or getting caught on the saddle when I was descending or off the saddle.
The overall appearance of the Summit Short aligns with today’s modern styling that can be seen across the cycling industry. Riders want less material and a form fitting look with the ability to customize their gear. With this said we hope to see more color options available next season. The idea behind the short is to provide a safe option for riders who need a performance short with off the bike appeal. Although it’s a very eye catching color this option may not be the most acceptable short to run you daily errands in. However, you can also purchase this model in black or tan which will definitely do the trick for your wardrobe.
It’s important to note that Pearl Izumi sells these shorts without a liner. For many people a chamois is personal and once you find a winner you just don’t stray to something new. I can relate to this so purchasing the Summit Short without one isn’t a problem. With my thin panel chamois the overall pairing is very lightweight, minimalist in feel and more snug to my thighs. I rarely have an interest in wearing a baggy short so this was exactly what I was looking for. Small details such as the two zippered hand pockets display the brands experience with listening to rider’s needs. There really isn’t room for small distractions while on the trail and a secure pocket is really does keep your mind focused don the dirt ahead.
All of my rides took place in prime Southern California sunshine so it’s hard to determine how the short holds up against wet terrain. We contemplated waiting for more wet conditions to formulate a review but let’s face it; it just simply isn’t raining here anytime soon. I did get the shorts wet to an extent when washing my bike and as advertised the DWR coating repelled water well. We were more impressed with how well the shorts wiped clean of the dry super fine dirt that is so common in Orange County. You can have a short that fits appropriate for everyday use but if it can’t clean-up for the post ride occasion what good is it. Fortunately the Summit Short’s polyester and spandex mixed with DWR pair well for a balance of comfort and function. The quality of the material and clean stitched seams instill confidence in riding the shorts without concern of durability. We have put some hard miles on them over the past two weeks with plenty of falls and we haven’t experienced any rips or tears worth noting. Simply wash as directed and take care of your gear as the instructions show for a more than adequate lifespan. Pearl Izumi did a great job of providing a short with their trademark performance and new modern styling.