Testing out the Pearl Izumi ELITE bib Shorts was a guilty pleasure for me. Coming from a triathlon background, I typically would not splurge on a top-of-the-line bib short that has a superior support structure and chamois to match. The majority of my shorts consist more of a minimalistic approach and a nonexistent chamois. The thing that really stood out to me after opening the box was the amount of detail Pearl Izumi put into the design of these bib shorts. With protectant and heat reflective materials combined with a multi-panel bib short design, it is apparent their goal was focused on keeping the cyclist comfortable. I also like that they kept the bib short black with reflective elements for low-light visibility so that I can wear it with any of my jerseys, and at any time of day.
The Pearl Izumi ELITE Bib Short has a great fit
Pearl Izumi ELITE Bib Short Fit
I ordered a medium based on their sizing chart and I found it to be true to size. The Pearl Izumi ELITE Bib Short was designed with the perfect fit in mind. The shorts have multiple panels each specifically designed to fit a rider ideally with appropriate fabrics used for maximum comfort and performance. The mesh bib upper is extremely light weight and comfortable while still providing stability. The two together provide the ideal amount of compression and stability which hugged my body without feeling restrictive. Pearl Izumi uses a folded ELITE fabric at the leg openings which provided the perfect compression and stretch. There are four small silicone grip strips on the thighs which held the short comfortably in position throughout my rides.
Pearl Izumi ELITE Bib Short Chamois is super comfortable designed for medium to long rides
Comfortable grips to keep the shorts in place
Pearl Izumi ELITE Bib Short Performance
The Pearl Izumi ELITE Bib Short performed excellent during all of my tests. It worked great on my shorter one-two hour rides but it really shined on my longer four-hour-plus endurance rides. The first thing I noticed was how incredibly comfortable the ELITE 3D chamois was. I am not used to a pad which has been designed this well. From the moment I started my rides until the end, I felt the chamois performed well throughout. The seamless stitching and comfortable material used minimized chafing and prevented hot spots from forming. With this chamois, I had no issues with blood flow and protection from any soft tissue damage while in the aero position on my tri bike and on my road bike.
The anatomic multi-panel design in the shorts also provided excellent compression during my rides without feeling too constrictive. The fabric is UPF 50+ rated, providing excellent protection from sun damage while creating nice tan lines. Pearl Izumi utilizes In-R-Cool fabric which is designed to actually keep the surface of the material cooler during hot days and direct sunlight. That paired with the mesh upper of the bib maximizes comfort on those long hot rides. On my warmer test rides I would go up some of my favorite mountain climbs and when the sweat started rolling, my torso and legs still felt comfortable with the great sweat wicking that these bibs provide.
Pearl Izumi ELITE Bib Short Final Thoughts
If you’re looking for a superior all-around bib for short and long rides, the Pearl Izumi ELITE Bib Shorts is your ticket to ride. From leisure city tour rides with friends to tough endurance rides in the mountains, these bibs hit high marks for performance and comfort. Products like this solidify Pearl Izumi’s place among the top dogs for gear and cycling apparel year after year. It was difficult to find anything that annoyed me with them, and they have become favorites in my rotation of cycling bottoms. They seem to be holding up very well after a couple months of wear and tear and trips to the washing machine. More information on product information, sizing and price can be found at pearlizumi.com