Remember this post? Essentially, I told Pearl Izumi that their “buckle” droptail design (which, in fairness, is used by several other manufacturers) looked like it would not offer much convenience in comparison to their very awesome waistband type (which is not used by anyone else). The customer service person who was so quick to answer my initial questions about the shorts has ignored my request for an explanation as to what exactly they were trying to achieve with their buckle design.
There you have it- Pearl Izumi has, once again, given the middle finger to customer service.
I’ll wear the current shorts until they fall apart… which, in my experience with lower quality shorts, will be about May, if I’m lucky. By then, the Outdoors Inc team shorts should be in, and I will just deal with non-drop bibs. It’d still be nice, though, to have the “perfect” shorts. I have no idea if anyone in the business of bib-shorts making reads this blog, but if you’re willing to listen, these are my “demands”:
-Quality construction. Don’t use the thinnest spandex, and use strong thread to hold it together. Ibex is a champion of this. Hincapie also comes to mind. Thin spandex sucks. My first experience with poor-quality fabric was back in 2008 (racing with Kenda) when Verge went cheap, and lots of chicks in the pro/elite ranks were left showing off their under-shorts tattoos because the fabric was so thin. It caused a big stink amongst women’s teams that most of the general racing public didn’t hear about because, well, if you don’t have anything nice to say about a sponsor, then don’t say anything at all.
-Chamois that isn’t a diaper. Yes, women are different than men. No, that doesn’t mean that the fabric used in my chamois should be measured in square feet and the thickness of my chamois in inches.
-Droptail. Steal Pearl Izumi’s waistband design.
-Fit. Most athletically-built women complain about not being able to find shorts/jeans that fit their thighs without going up a size, leaving the remainder of the garment too large. Take this into account when making your women’s shorts. 8-inch inseam, generous leg-holes, snug around the waist, and snug-fitting suspenders.
-Price. I don’t mind paying a little more for good quality, but don’t put the “hey these are euro and cool” markup on your product like Assos and others do. I’m not paying $300 for a pair of shorts. Ever. It’s spandex. No matter how much quality you put into the construction, no matter how many panels it’s made out of, consumers realize that the cost to make the shorts is probably somewhere in the range of $.50 per pair (including the daily handful of rice you give to the kid in the sweatshop that’s running the sewing machine). Don’t insult me with a %9000 markup.
-Offer them as a custom-sublimated product.
Takers? Somehow, I doubt it. I think that with most clothing manufacturers, women’s bib shorts are somewhat of an afterthought.