By Brandon Bilyeu
- Levitate Plus chamois provides all day comfort
- Moderate compression and excellent fit
- Super durable
- Reflective elements
- Men and Women versions available
- Women’s version too low cut in rear for some, butt crack potentially exposed
- Average hot weather performance
Attack Air Bib Short: $160
How obtained: review sample from company
Available: online, retail
Attack Air Bib Short: Black, Dark Ink (Blue)
Website: Attack Air Bib Short
RBR Sponsor: no
Tested: 60+ hours
Sizing: S – XXL
Reviewer Measurements and Fit Comments: 5’10” (178cm), 150 lbs (68 kgs), 33″ (84cm) waist, 38” (96.5cm) hips, 33″ (84cm) inseam, 37″ (94cm) chest. I tested size Medium for the bib shorts. They fit perfectly so the size charts seem true to size.
Pearl Izumi Collections
Pearl Izumi slots their products into three collections, each with different fit and performance attributes:
Quest – value oriented with relaxed fit, designed for everyday recreational cyclists
Attack – balanced value and performance, moderate compression and snug fit
PRO – race day performance, cutting-edge technology, next-to-skin fit
Attack Air Bib Short – Goldilocks Approved
The Attack Air Bib Short does an excellent job of straddling the line between Quest and PRO which makes it a good choice for the dedicated roadie. At $160 the Attack Air is more expensive than the $75 Quest, but a relative bargain compared to the $285 PRO Air (non-”Air” PRO is $225). Where the Quest is very stretchy to fit all body types, the Attack improves comfort with moderate compression that feels on par with the PRO bib shorts.
The Quest uses the single layer, medium density Levitate chamois that is comfortable for shorter rides but falls short the longer you go. The Attack and PRO shorts use the Levitate Plus and PRO chamois, respectively. Both Plus and PRO chamois’ use a dual layer construction with high density foam. Technically the PRO chamois uses higher density for more support, but the Plus chamois in the Attack Air feels equally comfortable to my butt. Note that the Plus and PRO chamois’ are above average thickness but have a center relief channel to avoid any soft tissue pressure. The result is a cushioned and soft connection to the bike. The Plus chamois in the Attack Air is excellent, I don’t see any reason to pay more for the PRO.
The “Air” in the Attack Air name signifies that this is not the standard Attack bib short, but a special version designed for hot weather riding. I put in plenty of hot miles last summer and was comfortable, though I didn’t notice a significant difference in comfort between the Air bib shorts and my standard bibs. The short material is solid, not a mesh as seen on some hot weather shorts, so at least there is some sun protection.
In general, the fit and feel of the Attack Air is excellent. The bibs straps are wide, soft, laser cut and seam free for a ‘not there’ feel. The leg openings are also laser cut, include grippers that keep things in place well, and balance compression with enough stretch to avoid any sausage leg.
The Attack Air bib short was just released this Spring 2023, but I’ve been testing a sample for almost a year both outdoors and indoors. After many rides and washing machine cycles (line dry) the shorts still look and feel like new. There are no abrasions, loose threads, or loss of compression. These bib shorts check the box for durability.
A women’s version is available, and Sheri received a sample for testing, but unfortunately the drop tail for bathroom convenience is cut awkwardly low for her and reveals some butt crack. Try it on before you buy it!
The Attack Air bib short feels just right. Comfort is noticeably better than the Quest bib short and just as good as the PRO short. Unless you are a racer looking for the smallest of marginal gains then the Attack Air is the way to go.
Brandon Bilyeu is an avid recreational roadie who lives in Regensburg, Germany. He’s a year-round bike commuter and is a mechanical design engineer by trade. Click to read Brandon’s full bio.