Pearl Izumi PRO LTD Bib Short Review
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I rate bib shorts on an hourly scale. That is, how many hours can I ride in the shorts before becoming uncomfortable. Some shorts are low, only a rating of 1 or 2. The P.R.O. LTB Bib Shorts from Pearl Izumi rate don’t get a number, they get an all day rating. When I know I’m going to be out for a long day in the saddle, I grab these shorts.
Pearl Izumi has taken what they have learned in working with the Garmin Pro Cycling Team and applied some of that to the LTD shorts. With that sort of research and testing it is no surprise that these shorts rate so highly.
Let’s start with the fit and feel of the shorts. The fit is definitely racer inspired and on the small side. I am normally a size Medium, but in these I had to size up to a large. It’s not something that bothers me, but if you are a bigger rider this could be an issue. Granted, they do come in a size XXL.
Sliding them on you quickly realize that this short is performance oriented. The P.R.O. Transfer fabric feels thin and silky, but not in a cheap way. It moves with you and you quickly forget you have bike shorts on. Somehow Pearl managed to add in a UPF 40+ into the fabric as well. The anatomical panels hug your legs providing the right mix of stretch and compression. The aero panels help with cooling and aerodynamics while direct vent panels provide even more ventilation. The mesh shoulder straps feel light and I never noticed them bunching. Throughout the shorts Pearl uses flat lock seams to minimize any chafing.
Pearl puts their 4D chamois into this short, a fitting match. The chamois is seamless, has 4 way stretch and is pre-shaped and anatomically curved to provide a comfortable fit. It is also highly capable in the moisture wicking department. Pearl even uses carbon yarns to help with thermoregulation.
The silicone leg grippers are narrower than most other shorts I’ve used. At first this took some getting used to, but when the shorts didn’t ride up or slip I found it to be more comfortable than most of my other shorts. One drawback I found was the 9 ½ inch inseam. I would like to see this cut by ½ an inch or so, but this was not a big deal overall.
As far as performance goes, most bike shorts work great during short outings. It’s only after 3 to 4 hours that you start to feel a seam, notice bunching or realize that the chamois isn’t quite right for you. Having ridden in the P.R.O. LTD shorts for over 5 hours on several occasions I never had any issues. They stayed were I wanted, wicked away sweat and provided as much comfort as possible when sitting on a hard bike seat. The feel of the short stayed smooth and refined even with sweat pouring all over them. I appreciated the UPF 40+ rating on the days when the sun was blazing. I’ll take all the extra sun protection I can get.
I have to say I also liked the white, black and red design. I’m not a big fan of the old school solid black, but on the other hand I don’t want something flashy. I’ll admit it, I think they just plain look cool.
Bib shorts are simple really, but the wrong pair can make your cycling experience miserable. The P.R.O. LTB bib short from Pearl is one of the best choices out there. Some may complain about the $165.00 price tag, but believe me, that is low for a high end, well made short. Plus, shorts is not a place to try and save a few bucks. When it comes to bike shorts you definitely get what you pay for. In the case of the P.R.O. LTD shorts, you certainly get more.
For more info on the PRO LTD Bib Short and other Pi products, visit www.pearlizumi.com.