By Laurel-Lea Shannon
Colors: black and white/black
Source: retail stores, websites
How obtained: purchased online
RBR advertiser: No
Time tested: several rides
Nature Breaks Made Easy — Finally
I’ve been wanting to test these bib shorts since a colleague first mentioned them to me several months ago. I don’t usually wear cycling bibs because they are troublesome on nature breaks. Who wants to get undressed from the top down to take a pee?
Pearl iZumi has solved that problem with their drop-tail bib shorts. The drop-tail isn’t a gimmick. It works — and not at the expense of the other design features of the shorts. These shorts get full points for comfort. I tested them out on a hilly 88 km ride (53 miles) on a steamy hot day. Even after the ride, the shorts felt comfortable and dry.
That dryness is due to a technology Pearl iZumi uses called Transfer fabric with In-R-Cool??. It reflects the sun and keeps you cool. The cycling bib has a UPF rating of 50+, and the mesh top panel provides excellent ventilation.
The shorts have a multi-six-panel design. Leg grippers made of silicon keep the shorts in place firmly but not tight. But the real star of this bib is the Elite 3D chamois. Three layers of variable-density padding adding up to 13 millimeters of bottom comfort.
Pearl iZumi got this breathable, four-way stretch, pressure-relief technology just right. The chamois adjusts to your body, providing better blood flow to your nether regions and a comfortable, dry ride. The best testament to a good chamois is that you don’t even notice your saddle.
Now for the drop-tail feature. At one point during a test ride I needed to try it out. This is how it works: THere’s a space at the back where the top panel meets the shorts (at your waist) That’s not attached to the waistband. You tuck this section into your shorts when you’re riding.
When you need to take a nature break, you just pull down the shorts from the back. The material stretches to easily accommodate that move. It’s simple — no muss, no fuss. Why aren’t other manufacturers making bib shorts like this?
Whenever you purchase cycling clothing online, it’s important to check the sizing chart of the manufacturer, because They’re all different. I normally wear a size small, but according to the Pearl iZumi sizing chart I was on the cusp between a small and a medium. I had heard that Pearl iZumi tends to run a little small so I sized up to medium and I’m glad I did. A small would have left my legs looking like sausages.
Bottom Line: These bib shorts are my new first choice for long rides. They look great and feel even better. Excellent!