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Pearl Izumi Attack Bike Short Review

I don’t think I am unique as a cyclist when I say that I am always in search of the perfect cycling short or bib short. Nine times out of ten I will gravitate towards bib shorts because they just tend to be more comfortable, and I know I am not alone! 

In fact, when I wore the Pearl Izumi Attack Short on a group ride last week, and mentioned that they were indeed shorts, not bibs, a friend said that she will only wear bibs from now on, and is going to be giving away all of her cycling shorts. 

Attack Short Full Body
photo credit: Carrie Calvi

Cycling shorts DO have some advantages over bib shorts. They are WAY easier to get on and off, and a lot easier for bathroom breaks. When you want to just do a quick ride around the neighborhood? Shorts are amazing.

Lacking the motivation to ride at all and just don’t want to pull anything up over your shoulders? Shorts are the answer. 

Though most days I tend to prefer bibs, especially for longer rides, every once in a while a cycling short comes along that I can really get behind. My very first cycling short love was the Terry Breakaway Short. I loved them so much that I endorsed AND reviewed them right here on Femme Cyclist! 

It can be tough though, to find a pair of cycling shorts that are comfortable and that don’t roll down. I honestly didn’t think I would ever really find a cycling short that was equal to the Terry Breakway Short at such a reasonable price point until I tried the Pearl Izumi Attack Short. 

Attack Short Front
photo credit: Carrie Calvi

I am, quite frankly, completely blown away by this short. I actually FORGOT that I had them on, and that is really saying something about a cycling short! When your ride in a cycling short is so great that you can just focus on the ride and don’t have to worry about any kind of discomfort with bunching or rolling you know you have found an excellent short. 

Pearl Izumi is a leader in the US cycling apparel industry.  They are known for making high quality, long-lasting cycling apparel and gear.  Honestly, it was the first cycling apparel company I was ever really even aware of.  Pearl Izumi products are a staple in US bike shops nationwide.  

So what, specifically, is it that makes the Pearl Izumi Attack Short so amazing?  In a nutshell they are comfortable, reasonably priced, and they STAY UP! Read on for my complete review of the Pearl Izumi Attack Short.


Review in a Nutshell

Pros:

  • Comfortable and well-made.
  • Great value: price is very reasonable for a quality pair of cycling shorts.
  • True to size and come in a nice range of sizes (x-small to xxx-large).
  • Chamois is substantial for long rides, and is more substantial than other shorts at this price point that I have tried.
  • The waistband stayed up and did not bunch for my outdoor ride. 
  • Leg band is comfortable, does not squeeze too tight, and does not roll up.
  • Pearl Izumi has committed to making 90% of their line sustainable by 2022. 
  • Pearl Izumi is a major, world-wide cycling company that originated in Japan more than 50 years ago, and has been distributing in the US since 1981. 

Cons:

  • The chamois is substantial and may be too much for some…it does feel more like a “diaper” than some other chamois I have tried. This tends to be the case with many Pearl Izumi shorts and bib shorts. 
  • More seams/potential irritation points than their higher end shorts/bib shorts, but I did not find this to be a problem. If you have very sensitive skin this may be an issue for you.
  • At this time the color selection is mostly limited to black. There is a Navy/Dark Denim Decco option which is AMAZING but appears to be mostly sold out.
  • When I tried to wear these on indoor rides they did roll down a bit more than on my outdoor ride, and more than the Terry Breakaway Short. I am not sure why they only did this indoors, but I feel like it’s worth mentioning. They were otherwise so comfortable, though, that I didn’t think it was a big deal!

Price: $80


The Pearl Izumi Attack Short is Very Comfortable 

The most important feature for many female cyclists in choosing a cycling short is comfort. Pearl Izumi Attack Shorts are incredibly comfortable. 

I require my cycling shorts to be comfortable both on and off the bike. A great chamois is wonderful, but if there is too much squeeze elsewhere, either in the leg band or in the waist, the short is just not going to cut it for me. 

Putting on the Pearl Izumi Attack Short is so easy. You can slide them right on without feeling like you are pulling up the universe just to get into your shorts. They are comfortable to walk in as well, though the substantial chamois is more noticeable off the bike than the chamois of other shorts I have tried. 

Attack Short Rear
photo credit: Tracy Langevin

In regards to compression, the description of the shorts mentions compression, but I honestly did not feel compressed. Depending on your preference this may be a pro or a con. For me it is definitely a pro because I hate the “squeezed sausage” feel that I have received from some of my previous cycling short purchases. 

There are more seams on these shorts than on some of the more expensive Pearl Izumi shorts/bibs, but I do not find this to be a deterrent. The seams did not bother me at all, and seemed to really help the shorts stay comfortable and in place. 

The leg of the short has a little grippy material on the inside to keep it in place. This material was not irritating, and definitely did its job because the shorts did not roll up on my leg. 

Finally, Pearl Izumi Shorts tend to be very consistent and true to size across their different designs.  This is extremely helpful when you are purchasing bib shorts online and can’t try them on.  I have several pairs of Pearl Izumi shorts and bib shorts, and they all fit me the same way.

The Attack Short Has Been Updated 

According to the description of the Pearl Izumi Attack Short on the Pearl Izumi website, they have made some updates to the Attack Short. 

Most notably, they have actually removed some seams, and they have made sure that the waistband includes compression but isn’t uncomfortable. 

Attack Short Hanging

Immediately, I noticed the interesting seams on the waistband, and appreciate that they seem to do their job in terms of keeping the shorts comfortably in place. I did experience some rolling of the waistband on an indoor ride, but that could have been the positioning of me on the bike. I did not experience any rolling at all on my outdoor rides, so I think these updates were a great addition!  

Pearl Izumi Shorts are Durable 

We have worn a lot of Pearl Izumi shorts and bib shorts in our family, over the course of approximately five years, and each and every pair has held up. In fact, they all pretty much look and feel just as they did when they were brand new. 

Though I am new to this particular pair of shorts and can’t speak to the durability of the current Pearl Izumi Attack short at this time, I can say that due to their solid construction I have high hopes that they will last just as well as our other Pearl Izumi shorts and bibs. 

This is more of a budget option than other shorts and bib shorts that Pearl Izumi offers, so it’s certainly possible that they are not quite as durable as some of their more expensive products.

The Chamois of the Attack Short Bib Short is Thick

Now, depending on your preference, you may see this as a pro or a con.  Sometimes if a chamois is too thick, or is not placed properly, it can honestly feel more like a diaper than a short.  

Attack Short Chamois

I will say that the chamois in this short does feel a bit droopy in the back when I am walking around, but it’s not terrible considering that this is the same chamois that makes riding on the bike quite delightful and pain free. 

I have been riding more considerable distances than just around the neighborhood with these shorts, and I find that for a solid 25/30 mile ride they keep me and my butt very happy.

Substantial Bang for Your Buck with the Pearl Izumi Attack Short 

The Pearl Izumi Attack short is their mid-range short, clocking in at around $80 as compared to their lower price option (around $50) and their PRO option (around $175). 

Attack Short Rear 2

For $80, these shorts are a substantial value. The chamois is definitely different from the PRO chamois in terms of the lining material, but seems to offer a similar experience in terms of the amount of padding. 

The real feature that seems to set the Attack Short apart from the lower priced option is the attention to detail in the design and seams. The Attack Short has a unique waistband that likely increases the comfort of the short and keeps it from rolling down. 

Bottom-Line: Supreme Comfort And Quality At A Reasonable Price

As a long-time customer of Pearl Izumi shorts, I can attest to their quality and continued commitment to developing women’s cycling clothing. 

These shorts don’t feel like men’s shorts that are just sized for women, they feel like shorts that were designed specifically for women. 

Attack Short 1
photo credit: Tracy Langevin

The changes that have been made to this current generation of Attack Short shows that Pearl Izumi continues to commit to enhancing clothing options for female cyclists. 

The Pearl Izumi Attack Short offers supreme comfort and quality at a reasonable price. If you are a bib short enthusiast and want a cycling short that gets as close as possible to the comfort of bibs, this is an amazing option for you. 

More Bike Short Help

About The Reviewer

stacy smith


Stacy Ann Smith is a New England-based cyclist who strives to stay upright on her bike.  She is the founder of Sascy Cycling, and her mission is to encourage women to love their body and focus on what it can do, not what it looks like.  When Stacy’s not cycling she is teaching high school history and eating pizza with her husband and son. For awesome women’s cycling tips and to learn more about Stacy, visit Sascy Cycling at www.sascy.com

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