Sometimes I feel a love/hate relationship with baggy shorts. I’ve been unimpressed overall with most of them for their lack of breathability and their “too baggy” feel on the trail. While I rarely wear bibs or standard bike shorts on my mountain bike, I have regretted wearing baggies on several occasions where I felt too hot or too encumbered by the bulky nature of some baggies. That said, however, I have found a great baggy shorts solution in the Pearl Izumi Divide MTB shorts.
Pearl Izumi Divide MTB Shorts Features:
- Transfer stretch fabric
- Snap and hook and loop front closure with zip fly
- Adjustable interior waistband
- Two hand pockets and one rear pocket
- Detachable liner with MTB 3D Chamois®
- 11.5 inch inseam (size medium)
- Colors: Black/Shadow Grey (tested), Foothills Green
- MSRP: $115
Pearl Izumi Divide Shorts Review
While I’ve been reluctant to switch back to full-on lycra on the dirt, I’ve become fairly impatient with many of the current baggy shorts designs. Many of them are simply too “freeride-ish” for intense trail riding. I’m in and out of the saddle, pounding through extended climbs and meandering my way through technical singletrack and I don’t want any baggy shorts that are too hot or too cumbersome. While the Pearl Izumi Divide Shorts are not super-streamlined, I thought their design would be compatible with my flavor of trail riding. As it turns out, they have been pretty darn solid.
I’ve come to appreciate the most recent trend in baggy shorts — the separate liner and short. On the surface, it seems a bit silly since many of these shorts are not much more than a pair of board shorts paired with a chamois liner. Luckily, the Divide Shorts are purpose-built for mountain biking.
What makes the Divide Shorts great is the 4-way stretch of the fabric. Hard pedaling and trail maneuvers are met with a flexible, non-constricting pair of shorts. Not once did I feel that the shorts were putting a damper on my climbing or descending. Not once did I think to myself, “Man, these shorts are hot and constricting,” like I have with other baggy shorts.
I’m giving the 3D MTB Chamois top marks for keeping the man area and sit bones happy. I’d daresay that this chamois is the most comfortable on the market today. Having been completely impressed with the Pearl Izumi PRO In-R-Cool Bib Shorts for road riding, it’s easy to see that Pearl Izumi knows how to make a good chamois.
The downside with having a separate liner and short is that sometimes they get quite contorted after washing. It can take some serious Boy Scout skills to untie the granny knots that my dryer put in them. But, if you separate them for washing you then have to search for two items instead of one. I will also mention that my pair of shorts did come from the factory with a sizable hole in the left pocket — I’m confident that was an anomaly, but I’ve got to mention it.
- Stretchy material moves with you
- Chamois is ultra-comfortable — even on a hardtail after the longest of climbs
- Usable pockets
- Breathes very well
- In spite of length, stretchy fabric allows for unrestricted movement
- Adjustable waistband dials them in for size
- Super-stylish for apres-bike adventures
- Maybe a little longer than I’d prefer
- Separate liner has its pluses and minuses
- I had a hole in my left pocket (I’m sure it was an anomaly)
Bottom Line: Pearl Izumi Divide MTB Shorts
The Divide shorts offer ample length and style to satisfy the Lycra-averse crowd and the stretchy fabric never feels constricting under any riding conditions. I’m really liking these.