Pearl Izumi’s P.R.O. Pursuit Doesn’t Disappoint
(Editor’s Note: Sheri tested and reviewed the women’s bibs, while John Marsh tested the men’s. See his capsule review below.)
Back in February I reviewed the P.R.O. Escape bib shorts and gave them a 4.5-star rating. When the new P.R.O. Pursuit bibs showed up on my doorstep, I wasn’t sure how Pearl Izumi would improve the comfort and design. But they sure did.
I was able to wear these bibs on several CompuTrainer sessions prior to leaving on a winter cycling getaway to Northern California. The bibs were very comfortable and did a great job of wicking while on the trainer. I couldn’t wait to try them out in the warm California sunshine. Luckily, I was able to test them on a couple of rides, including a 50-miler in Santa Cruz.
Enjoy long rides with the new P.R.O. Pursuit 1:1 chamois
The primary feature by which I gauge any cycling bottom is the chamois. If it isn’t comfortable, who cares about the rest of the garment. Pearl Izumi’s new P.R.O. Pursuit 1:1 chamois is extremely soft next to your skin, and very comfortable.
No matter if I was on the trainer for an hour and a half or on a 50-mile outdoor ride, there was no difference in the level of comfort.
The chamois is designed with four layers. The first layer closest to your skin is a smooth, dynamic stretch top sheet. Under that is a soft comfort foam layer, followed by a high-density suspension foam. The final layer is a perforated backing fabric.
This may sound like a lot going on down there, but the pad is not bulky and conforms to your body for true comfort.
P.R.O. Pursuit vs. Escape
I found myself comparing the P.R.O. Pursuit with the P.R.O. Escape bibs during testing (click the link for that review). Looking back on my Escape review, I mentioned how I’d like the inseam a bit longer. Well, sure enough, the Pursuit has a 9-inch inseam vs. the Escape’s 8-inch (size medium). That extra inch provided more area of compression and made a big difference in fit with my long legs.
As for the hem on the leg openings, the Pursuit had a raw edge (laser cut) vs. the Escape’s band. Both have applied Silicone grippers and do not give you that “sausage” leg look. But I did like the raw edge hem of the Pursuit a lot better.
The bib straps have the same raw edges as the leg openings, with the short’s fabric continued throughout the bib and straps. I found the straps very comfortable and the P.R.O. Transfer In-R-Cool(R) with coldblack(R) fabric was breathable and provided moisture transfer, keeping me dry and cool.
Men’s Pursuit P.R.O. – Capsule Review
While Sheri was putting the women’s bibs to the test, I was testing the men’s. I’ve had the chance over the years to wear the full range of the Pearl line of bibs, including previous P.R.O. bibs. I can safely say that these are the lightest, most comfortable and best-fitting Pearl bibs I’ve ever worn.
In fact, they’ve become among my very favorites; I chose them for the all-day comfort they provide on my century ride last Saturday.
What sets them apart for me is that the whole is the result of the sum of the just-right parts. I think men, by and large, don’t spend too much time worried about bib straps. It’s the slightly compressive fit through the legs, the high-on-the-abdomen reach in front, the stay-in-place-all-day cuffs (a 10-inch inseam in the Medium size) with applied silicon grippers and the uber-comfortable chamois that work together just about as well as shorts can.
Like Sheri, I’m highly impressed by the new chamois. I was a big fan of Pearl’s last high-end chamois (the green one, for those playing at home), and hated to see it go, but this one’s a true winner.
I’ve now worn these bibs on multiple rides of 60 to 100 miles, on all types of rides, in temps from the low 60s to low 90s, and in Atlanta’s super humidity. And I’ve stayed comfortable across the miles.
While there seems to be a trend toward ever more “fancy” chamois design (“floating” versions not sewn around the entire perimeter to the outer material, etc.), Pearl seems to have stuck to their tried-and-true formula of just making minor improvements to an already great product.
You can easily pay up to twice the price of these bibs for other big-name shorts, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find better value at this price point. The Pursuit P.R.O. are great shorts. —John Marsh
The Pursuit has the same center bib clip on the women’s version as the Escape, which I think is more useful on the Pursuit because of the raw edges of the straps. It keeps the straps in place better. As before, I also found the clip itself extremely small (approximately 1/2 inch), which madeit difficult to unclip, even though it was easy to clip.
As with the Escape, Pearl kept the bib straps black to not show sweat/dirt (vs. white straps) and when riding in the drops, if your jersey hikes up, you don’t see a patch of white along the lower back. Also, the bib’s sides came up far enough to provide a clean, sleek line under your jersey.
On the Pursuit they eliminated the drop tail from their design. That’s perfectly fine with me, as it was easy to undo for nature breaks, but reattaching required removing your jersey.
One design element carried over from the Escape that I didn’t care for was the low-cut front, which dips below the belly button. I’d prefer to see the bibs provide more coverage and come above the belly button.
The one feature I did like better on the Escape vs. the Pursuit was the flat-locked seams. I feel they lay better against the skin and have less potential for chafing.
While I really like both the P.R.O. Pursuit and Escape bib shorts, I preferred the Pursuit. The new chamois design, along with a longer inseam, and raw hem leg openings tipped the scale for me.
Pearl Izumi’s P.R.O. Pursuit bib shorts with the new Pursuit 1:1 chamois is a winner. At $180 (USD) for the women’s version, and $195 for the men’s, the P.R.O. Pursuit offers a good value for high-end bib shorts. Great comfort, moisture transfer, and fit with the right amount of compression makes it great for indoor trainer rides or a long outdoor adventure. These bibs were very dry even after a 50-mile ride in Santa Cruz on a warm, sunny day, and on a century ride in the late spring Georgia heat. Pearl Izumi succeeded in pursuing a winner.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.