After cycling more than I ever have in my life (which let’s be honest, is not much), I decided to invest in a good pair of cycling shorts. After taking a few recommendations from friends, I bought the Pearl Izumi Sugar bike shorts.
I didn’t know what I needed and anything was better than my amazon bike shorts. With that, I decided to find some bike shorts for beginners (ie: me). I didn’t need a whole cycling bib get up but wanted something for longer rides. Now when I bike, I see kids and I’m like…how do you wear what you wear and are comfortable?
Pearl Izumi is known for its biking gear. While I don’t consider myself a serious biker, I do want to be comfortable. Who doesn’t?
I stumbled upon the Pearl Izumi Sugar Bike Shorts. They are 5 inches and the shortest bike short from Pearl Izumi created for riding in a hot studio indoor cycling class or midsummer day. If you live on the East Coast, you know we’ve already had plenty of hot days.
The Pearl Izumi Sugar Bike Shorts are my first pair of “real bike shorts.” Maybe that doesn’t give me the credentials to review bike shorts because everything I try will be better then what I had. That being said, the blog is my journey. It’s always been my journey! I wasn’t always a runner, and I didn’t always bike. I’m sure there is someone out there, like me, who had no idea what good biking shorts for beginners were.
What is the difference between bib shorts and bike shorts?
The difference between “bib shorts” and bike shorts are bike shorts rely on a waistband to keep the shorts in place while bib shorts use a suspender system to keep them up. Personally, I don’t cycle too much that I don’t feel as though I need bib shorts and have been happy with upgrading to bike shorts. If I get more serious, I might invest in a pair of bib shorts later on.
What is good about the Pearl Izumi Sugar 5″ bike short?
The Pearl Izumi women’s sugar shorts features a 5 and 1/2 inseam. It’s short, but not too short. Compared to running shorts, it’s actually quite long.
The wide waistband of the Pearl Izumi Sugar Short is cut high in the back for coverage. The front is designed for less restriction and increased comfort.
What is Chamois?
Before cycling, I had no idea what chamois was. Did I need it? What did it do? My biggest piece of advice for beginner biking shorts is get something with chamois.
The chamois is the padded crotch section of bike shorts and what makes them comfortable. I’ve come to learn that you want bike shorts with chamois. That’s basically it.
Padding is made from varying densities. It differs between male and female because of anatomy. Most good quality chamois also has antimicrobial properties too. You sweat there and you don’t need it getting gross.
The Pearl Izumi Sugar short includes the Women’s SELECT Escape 1:1 chamois, which means you don’t chafe and the gel padding is comfortable for long-distance. (Which for me long distance on a bike means 20 miles…).
On the Ride:
I’ve ridden over 100 miles in the Pearl Izumi Sugar Bike Shorts with no issues. I haven’t chafed, or had any discomfort. To be honest, before investing in a good pair of bike shorts, I just thought discomfort from sitting for so long was part of biking. (Obviously, I still have a long way to go). I’ve been pleased with the Pearl Izumi Sugar Bike Shorts and I’ll continue to use them. For me, the Pearl Izumi Sugar Bike Shorts shorter inseam and the supreme comfort of the short material make it great for my rides.
If you picked up biking during the quarantine, I suggest you look into a good pair of biking shorts for beginners. I’ve quickly learned, it makes all of the difference.
You can see all gear reviews here.
Questions for you:
Cyclists: What are your favorite bike shorts for beginners?
Do you use bib shorts?
My first bike shorts were “regular” but then I tried shorts designed specifically for triathlon (TYR competitor tri shorts with a much thinner pad) and they work just fine for me. I’ve completed a few full century rides with no issues. One thing you might want to try for a metric century (100k) or full english is body glide or chamios buttr (nutz butter is another brand). You don’t want to be far from your car w/ 40 miles to go and realize you are chaffing cause it’s too late by then.
Oh geez, thanks Gene. For now I don’t see myself going much further than 20-30 miles. Who knows after that and after our move is all done. I never say never.
Glad you are enjoying biking and like your Raleigh. I bought a Raleigh road bike in 2008 and it’s still going strong. And I’m glad you discovered bike shorts too. I thought they were ridiculous at first, but now that I’m used to them, I wouldn’t ride without them. I biked quite a bit in college then took a few years off. I got started again in 2007 and then upgraded my bike.
I have a couple pairs of Pearl Izumi bike shorts – one that’s more basic and one higher end – and a pair of higher end Sugoi bike shorts. Mine are longer, but I’m 6′, so the 5″ would be super short on me. When I did the two-day Seattle to Portland ride, that’s around 100 miles a day (206 total), I wore the higher end Pearl Izumi’s the first day and the Sugoi’s the second day. The Sugoi’s are a bit better and I knew the second day would be harder.
Seconding the chamois cream. Even for 20-30 mile rides, I still use it. My favorite is the Hoo Ha Ride Glide. Definitely recommend one made for women. I can use a generic unisex one, but find the women’s ones more comfortable. A tube lasts a long time
Running is still my go to activity, but I’m an avid biker too. I also bought a Trek mountain bike in 2016. I’m not as confident mountain biking, so I don’t ride many technical trails, but I do like getting out onto the easier trails.
I’ve found that running and biking are complementary activities. While both work the legs, each sport works the muscles differently. Plus biking gets some leg training without the impact. Running also provides the bone strengthening as people who only bike don’t build up their bone strength. I’ve read that one mile of running is equivalent to 3-4 miles of biking. I run year round, but generally only bike from about March/April to October, unless I’m training for a long ride in the first half of the year. Even after taking months off the bike, I find that my running keeps me ready to do a 15-20 mile ride at the beginning of the biking season without too much struggle (as long as it’s mostly flat).
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