Pearl Izumi makes some of the best bicycling bibs in the cycling industry. They offer a wide variety of options temperatures and budgets. I have been personally riding in Pearl Izumi bibs and shorts for over a decade and have many miles logged and offered an honest and unbias opinion on what I like and don’t like as well as where I think the value is worth spending your money. This guide will help you choose what bike shorts are right for you as well as educate you on the different offerings from Pearl Izumi.
There are 3 main versions or levels of bibs/shorts from Pearl Izumi
1. PRO Bib Shorts
The Pro Bib Short is designed for serious cyclists who prioritize performance and comfort. It is constructed using advanced materials and features a close-fitting, race-inspired design. The Pro Bib Short is known for its exceptional moisture-wicking properties, keeping you dry and comfortable during intense rides. It also offers excellent breathability, allowing for optimal airflow. The Levitate Pro chamois pad in the Pro Bib Short provides strategic cushioning and support, reducing fatigue on longer rides. Additionally, it has a compression fit that supports muscle performance and reduces muscle fatigue.
2. Expedition Bib Shorts
The Expedition Bib Short is specifically designed for endurance rides and long-distance cycling. It features a slightly more relaxed fit compared to the Pro Bib Short, allowing for increased comfort during extended periods in the saddle. The Expedition Bib Short incorporates durable materials to withstand the rigors of off-road cycling or gravel riding. It provides ample moisture-wicking capabilities, ensuring you stay dry and comfortable throughout your ride. The chamois pad in the Expedition Bib Short offers excellent shock absorption and cushioning for long hours on the bike. It also has thigh cargo pockets and a center pocket on the rear of the bib. This is what makes the Expedition bib stand out from the other options.
3. Attack Bib Shorts
The Attack Bib Short is a versatile option that strikes a balance between performance and value. It is designed to offer a comfortable fit and reliable performance for a wide range of riders. The Attack Bib Short utilizes moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you cool and dry during your rides. It features a supportive chamois pad that provides adequate cushioning and comfort for medium to long rides. The Attack Bib Short has a more relaxed fit compared to the Pro Bib Short, making it suitable for both casual cyclists and those looking for a more forgiving fit.
The “Air” Versions
The Pro, Attack, and Expedition also come in an “AIR” version. You can expect to pay about $60 USD more for the AIR version. The Air versions are made with an ultra-lightweight material that is infused with a special treatment to help keep you cooler as well as lighter than the standard versions.
- In-R-Cool – Reacts when your core temperature rises to cool and dry itself. Jerseys infrared tech cools the surface temperature.
- Ultralight Fabrics – Air fabrics made from the lightest materials, micro-perforated, soft to the skin
- UV Protection – Built-in UPF 50+ Sun Protection
- Form Fitting – Stretch for perfect contouring, seamless openings
- Levitate Chamois – dual-density, moisture wicking
More about the Levitate Chamois and Review
The Levitate(TM) chamois are some of my favorites for road and mountain biking for overall comfort, quality, and longevity. The chamois are constructed with multiple layers of varying-density foam to achieve a comfortable ride with minimal bulk. The multi-density foam helps “levitate” you off the saddle. When shopping for a Chamois you should consider the following points:
- Comfort: The primary purpose of a chamois is to provide cushioning and support for your sit bones during long rides. Look for a chamois that offers ample padding and is designed to reduce pressure points and friction. Consider the thickness and density of the padding, as well as any ergonomic features or multi-density foam construction that can enhance comfort.
- Fit and Size: Chamois come in various sizes to accommodate different body types. It’s crucial to choose a chamois that fits properly and provides sufficient coverage. Consider the sizing charts provided by the manufacturer and take measurements to ensure a proper fit. A chamois that is too small or too large can lead to discomfort and chafing.
- Breathability and Moisture Management: Look for a chamois that incorporates breathable materials and features to allow for adequate airflow and moisture-wicking properties. This helps keep you dry and comfortable by minimizing sweat accumulation and reducing the risk of chafing or skin irritation.
- Durability: Consider the durability of the chamois, especially if you plan to do long rides or use it frequently. Look for materials that are resilient and can withstand the rigors of cycling. Reinforced stitching and high-quality fabric can contribute to the longevity of the chamois.
- Brand and Reviews: Consider reputable brands known for their cycling apparel and chamois quality. Read customer reviews and ratings to gain insights into the performance and durability of specific chamois options. Real user experiences can provide valuable information when making your decision.
- Price: Chamois can vary in price range, depending on the brand, features, and quality. Set a budget and consider the value offered by different options within that range. Remember that investing in a higher-quality chamois can enhance your comfort and overall riding experience.
- Try Before Buying: If possible, try on the chamois or test it out in-store before making a purchase. This can give you a better sense of the fit, comfort, and overall feel.
1. Levitate PRO Chamois
The Levitate PRO is the most advanced and comfortable Chamois in the Pearl Izumi lineup. It has more support with ultra-high density. The high-density foam offers a more supportive yet comfortable ride, especially on longer rides. It has excellent moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry and comfortable on long hot rides. Lastly, the multiple layers provide a drag-free sensation to prevent chafing with the repetitive movement of cycling.
2. Levitate Plus Chamois
The Levitate Plus is found primarily in Pearl Izumi tights. It’s very similar to the PRO chamois offering two layers of foam but these are softer high-density and medium-density layers of foam. You still get the dual layer to help reduce friction and a relief channel in the middle to help alleviate pressure. They offer great breathability and moisture management because of the high-quality materials used. The multi-layer moves with you on the bike to help reduce friction.
3. Levitate Chamois
The Levitate chamois is a great overall value chamois that in my opinion offers a great value and is often better comfort and fit than other similarly priced chamois. Some of the features of the Levitate Pro Chamois have trickled down to the Levitate Chamois. It has a relief channel and a tapered pad for an infinite feel from pad to skin and fast-drying fabric. The main difference is that it’s cut from a single layer of foam.
My Personal Opinion on the Levitate Chamois
Having used all three chamois and many others listed below from Pearl Izumi I can say the amount of thought and design that has gone into the design defiantly shows. The fit and material reduce any gaps in the chamois to the skin. This helps with moisture management, comfort, and friction. I typically ride from 2 to 3 hours at a time and prefer the comfort and support of the Levitate PRO Chamois. However, on most Mountain Bike rides where I am in and out of the saddle the Levitate Chamois is preferred.
It’s also worth mentioning the quality and build of the Levitate Chamois. I’ve had some Pearl Izumi shorts and bibs for years now and logged hundreds if not thousands of miles in them. Where other less similarly priced or less expensive chamois have started to lose their stretch and get a “saggy diaper” feel to them, the Levitate Chamois has remained tight to my skin. they may show a little sign of dirt and not as clean after washing them weekly for years, but the performance is still there.
Other Pearl Izume Chamois
1. Pro Escape 1:1 Chamois
2. Elite Escape 1:1 Chamois
3. Select Escape 1:1
Clearing up the confusion around Pearl Izumi Bibs and Shorts
When shopping for bibs or short it can get confusing with all of the options of Expedition Bibs that offer the PRO features. What Chamois is included with what shorts? Understanding the basics of the three offerings of PRO, Expedition, and Attack helps you to know where to start shopping. The Pro and Pro Air are going to be the top-of-the-line offered by Pearl Izumi and the price will show that. They are the most comfortable with the highest quality of materials.
Moving toward the Attack versions of bibs and shorts you will find more value and budget-friendly options. These are still very good cycling shorts, and if you are newer to cycling may not notice a difference from a “Laser Cut Bib Strap” to the sewn bib straps. Or an advanced highly breathable cooling material may feel exactly the same to you as any other bike short. It’s best to start with the Attack budget-friendly options before jumping into the fancy higher priced versions.
When shopping for Pearl Izumi shorts and bibs you might also see these other options of shorts available they are sometimes discontinued or ultra-value options that come included with some mountain bike shorts. They can still be great options and are worth looking into as they can save a lot of money over the higher priced advanced options we mentioned above.
In conclusion, Pearl Izumi bike bibs and shorts have proven themselves as exceptional cycling apparel that caters to the diverse needs of riders. With a strong commitment to quality, performance, and innovation, Pearl Izumi has established itself as a trusted brand among cyclists of all levels.
Whether you’re a professional racer seeking the highest level of performance or a recreational cyclist looking for comfort and durability, Pearl Izumi offers a range of bibs and shorts to suit your preferences. Their attention to detail, advanced materials, and thoughtful design ensure a comfortable and enjoyable ride, allowing you to focus on your performance and push your limits.
The Pearl Izumi Pro bib shorts excel in delivering top-tier performance, with their cutting-edge technology and race-ready construction. They provide a second-skin fit, moisture-wicking capabilities, and unmatched comfort, making them a favorite among serious riders.
For those looking for a balance between performance and affordability, the Pearl Izumi Attack bib shorts are a fantastic choice. With their durable materials, ergonomic design, and exceptional value, these shorts offer a great blend of comfort and functionality.
If you’re an adventurous cyclist who seeks durability and versatility, the Pearl Izumi Expedition bib shorts are built to withstand the challenges of off-road and long-distance riding. Their rugged construction, strategic paneling, and integrated features make them the perfect companion for your cycling expeditions.
No matter which Pearl Izumi bib shorts you choose, you can be confident in the brand’s commitment to quality and performance. Their extensive experience in the cycling industry, combined with their dedication to constant improvement, ensures that you’ll receive a product that meets and exceeds your expectations.
Investing in Pearl Izumi bike bibs and shorts means investing in your cycling experience. So, gear up with confidence, hit the road or trail, and enjoy the ride like never before with Pearl Izumi by your side.