Pearl Izumi Pro InRCool bib shorts - review - Road Cycling UK

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Pearl Izumi Pro InRCool bib shorts – review

Excellent fit and very comfortable, but the legs are shorter than normal

Pearl Izumi’s Pro InRCool bib shorts sit second-from-top in the range and deliver on a promise of performance, durability and comfort, but the leg length is shorter than expected.

Let’s deal with that first. Pull the shorts on and the first thing you’ll likely notice is the fit. It’s close, and very good, but the legs are undoubtedly short – almost 30mm off my usual fit, as my vague early summer tan line showed. The answer is in the quoted 9” inseam, whereas more of the shorts I’ve ridden and tested are around 10-11”. Still, it’s not a performance issue but something to be aware of.

Continuing on the fit and these are undeniably cut for use on the bike, not standing around drinking coffee. Which makes sense, really. It means that when you get on the bike they’re comfortable with a great fit thanks to the sculpted panels.

The Pearl Izumi Pro InRCool bib shorts are excellent for summer use
  • Specification

  • Price: £119.99
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Size tested: M
  • Website: Pearl Izumi
  • UK distributor: Madison

There is a benefit to the shorter leg design in warmer weather, as more skin is exposed to the cooling breeze, and Pearl Izumi do pitch these are summer shorts for use above 20 degrees centigrade. They perform well as the temperature rises, up to the mid-20s during the test period, and the InRCool fabric uses Coldblack technology to offer “optimal cooling and reflective sun protection.” The shorts also have an SPF 50 rating. How do they fare in use? The fabric offers good breathability and quickly wicks away moisture, and the material used for the bib straps is light and airy. There’s also a light, mesh-style fabric across the base of the back, which once again helps with ventilation in an area where sweat can otherwise get trapped.

Above this band there’s also a small pocket for an electronic device (or race radio) and a small fabric loop for headphone wires. If you do carry anything there, you’d need to protect it from sweat. It’s a neat idea but not ideal positioning for general use and it’s perhaps better left to a jersey for carrying things.

The chamois is excellent, with a sensible shape and a smooth fabric exterior to sit on. Internally it’s constructed from three layers of padding ranging from 4 to 13mm over different areas, according to where you need more cushioning – it’s thicker on the centre and thins out towards the edges. My experience of Pearl Izumi chamois pads is they last well and I can’t see any sign of that changing here.

Visually, the test pair are fairly bright as bib shorts go, with the neon yellow and green at the bottom of the legs. It adds a flash of colour when riding in an urban environment but blends in almost perfectly with the countryside out of town. There are also red, blue and black alternatives available, so you should find something you like. Otherwise, elsewhere on the shorts there’s the familiar Pearl Izumi logo on the rear left, and a reflective graphic area on each outer side, offering a little low light detailing.

A mesh panel on the back helps provide additional ventilation

Conclusion

The Pearl Izumi Pro InRCool are excellent summer bib shorts – they’re well-suited to riding in warm weather and have a great on-bike fit with a comfortable chamois, but if you like long shorts then watch out for the leg length.

Pros

  • Great on-bike fit
  • Comfortable chamois
  • Good for summer use

Cons

  • Short legs
  • Pocket isn’t particularly useful in practice

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