Pearl Izumi’s Boardwalk is a stylish take on a basic mountain bike short. The fabric is light and stretchy, with a nice feel, though unfortunately it pills after just a few washes. We like the reflective accents. Safety first.
The Boardwalk Short has a standard enduro-length inseam (13.25 inches) for versatility—it’s at home on long trail rides and occasional trips to the bike park. The stretchy fabric makes a snug fit work well—it’s not a restrictive short even pedaling from the saddle. We never snagged on the seat mounting or dismounting. Belt loops remain the best solution to customize fit—they won’t fail like hooks or Velcro can.
With a pair of back pockets and hand pockets, only a pair of reflective strips above the left back pocket and on the back of the left thigh make the Boardwalk Short appear different from any other pair of around-town shorts. And that’s a good thing.
The Boardwalk’s lightweight, stretchy fabric makes for a remarkably comfortable short. We noted that the fabric does pill after just a few washes, however.
With four pockets—two rear and two handpockets—there’s plenty of storage on the Boardwalk. However, we’d trade most of them for just one hip pocket, which is the best location for a phone/camera. Two reflective strips are great if you find yourself riding home on the road from the trailhead at dusk.
The Boardwalk short is more of a cross-country style short, with the lightweight fabric oriented towards cross-country riding more than wipe-out inducing downhill. However, the fabric’s stretch and the short’s long inseam will help keep your skin intact if you do go down on a wet root.
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HOW WE TESTED
Our testing team tested the shorts in and around Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota; Sedona and Tucson, Arizona, Jackson, Wyoming and Moab, Utah over a period of two months on asphalt, gravel, and singletrack in temperatures ranging from the low 40’s to the mid-90’s and on distances that ranged from six miles to 56. Our testing team did not intentionally set out to test the durability of each pair of shorts in a crash. Instead, to judge the shorts’ ability to withstand impact, they scrutinized their construction materials, the weight of the fabric and the stitching. Though, there may have been some crashes anyway.