We use our bikes for more than just twenty-mile mountain bike rides or ninety-mile road/gravel rides. We commute to work. Ride to the farmer’s markets or local coffee shops. For urban pleasure riding, skirts are just more civilized.
I’ll skip over the fashion-part because it’s pretty obvious that the Pearl Izumi Superstar cycling skirt ($75) is fashionable, and plunge right into the functionality.
The skirt itself is equal parts amazing and a bit of a lottery.
It is essentially two flaps: A back and a front that are joined together at the waist and, when standing, it has a really cool A-line silhouette. On the saddle, the design makes it impossible to hook the hem on the back of the seat when standing up off the pedals.
It’s also detachable, so you can wear it with other shorts, like the Pearl Izumi SELECT In-R-Cool short or even use it to jazz up a pair of carpi’s.
The waistband is wide and comfortable and contains a convenient little slide pocket on the back to hold your iPod. I’ve ridden many urban miles in this skirt and have never lost an iPod. Because it isn’t secured, I don’t recommend using it for a key or cash or anything that isn’t secured, say, by an iPod cord.
However, the shorties that come with the skirt kind of fail.
They are short—like a four-inch inseam short—and they don’t have elastic on the legs. This combination mixed with the motion of pedaling causes them to creep all the way up your legs a la bloomers.
Remember when I said that the skirt is “equal parts amazing and a bit of a lottery”?
Well, the “lottery” is that the two flaps of the skirt make it drape over the seat providing zero coverage on your thighs—where the motion of pedaling has caused the shorties to creep all the way up your legs a la bloomers.
For me, it was a never-ending, unwinnable battle to yank the legs down every five pedal strokes.
The only redeeming quality of the shorts is that it’s made with PI’s SELECT Transfer Dry fabric and the MTB 3D Chamois. Very comfortable and breathable. PI just needs to rethink the shorties with a much longer inseam and some elastic on the thighs.
However, remember that the skirt is detachable. I wear the skirt all the time with the Pearl Izumi SELECT In-R-Cool short or some old PI or Sugoi shorts with actual elastic on the legs. This solved the problem. When cooler weather comes, wear the skirt over a pair of capri’s.
A quick word about the Pearl Izumi SELECT In-R-Cool short. The pairing of these shorts with the skirt is extremely comfortable because of the unique waistband design. While they don’t have elastic on the leg, they stay put thanks to the eight-inch inseam.
My overall impression? Decent. For $75 you get a cycling skirt that you can wear with all your bike shorts–just not the one it came with.
The three-star rating is the average of 5 starts for the skirts and 1 star for the shorts.