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Thankfully cycling shorts are not a piece of gear that apparel companies take the “shrink it and pink it” strategy to make it women-specific. Female riders, these five shorts are for you.
Assos T FI.13 Lady_S5
Given the luxurious packaging (which includes cleanser, chamois crème and a washer bag) and price point, it’s no surprise that the Assos bibs just feel like the Rolls Royce of cycling shorts. Everything from the seamless, breathable chamois to the carbon mesh fabric to the asymmetrical leg grippers sets these shorts apart. Although the straps popped off a few times while standing around pre-ride (they go over your head and connect in front), once in aero position, the design made complete and perfect sense.
Sugoi Women’s Evolution Short
The Evolution Short proved to be comfortable even after a five-hour ride, with a dense chamois that features extra padding in three important spots. The longer inseam (8 inches) creates good coverage, and the black and white version is actually flattering.
Pearl Izumi Women’s Elite Cycling bib
There’s one major disadvantage women have when wearing bibs: It’s impossible to make a quick pit stop. Pearl Izumi took this into account with the movable back flap, but it still proves to be a challenge compared to shorts. The elastic used for the leg openings was the softest we tested.
Specialized Women’s BG Pro SL Shorts
Similar to a bib short (sans straps), the higher back of the BG Pro SL Shorts protects against the dreaded lower-back gap when your jersey creeps up. The wide, flexible waistband made it easy to breathe, even while in aero. The length falls perfectly in between too long and super short.
2XU Women’s Comp 1 Cycle short
Women with skinny thighs will be the best match for 2XU’s Comp 1 Cycle short, as the silicone grippers are tight and the leg openings narrow. The chamois is flexible but not as plush as other shorts on the list, so the shorts are perhaps best suited for shorter rides or bike workouts followed by a transition run.