The Pearl Izumi Pro Pursuit Bib Tights represent excellent performance at a very good price (and, as usual, even better online – but make sure you're buying the right ones, they come with or without a pad). If you are after foul-weather, full-length bibs for going fast in, look no further.
Historically I've had a hit-and-miss affair with Pearl Izumi kit. I nearly wept when my 20-year-old winter gauntlets finally passed on to the Great Glove Bin In The Sky after multiple repairs, yet last summer I reviewed its Elite WxB jacket and came away unimpressed. I recall the standout feature was 'no features to speak of' – and if clothing is going to go minimalist while retaining a premium price tag, it had better deliver the goods, fit- and comfort-wise. Fortunately, with the Pro Pursuit bibs Pearl Izumi has restored my confidence in its ability to offer high performance at a sensible price.
Keeping it simple, the 'no features to speak of' tagline is again applicable – but this time it works. The Pro Pursuit bibs don't feature ankle zips, carbon weave, a radio pocket, über-reflectivity or a pad that claims to be borderline-sentient to your changing anatomical needs. You put them on and go ride. During which you stay warm, dry-ish and, most importantly, comfortable.
The multiple panels are split between material to keep water out low-down and heat in, while being breathable up top. The level of brushed-fleeciness I found to be just right, never noticing an excess or absence of warmth while bashing about the place in temperatures in the lows-to-zeros. On a couple of occasions I donned the Pro Pursuit bibs for hour-long turbo sessions in a literally freezing garage, and found they melted away into the background, leaving me to focus on just how much fun I wasn't having.
Opinion will be divided on the merits of zip vs. no zip at the ankle, and it was a feature I thought I'd miss until I realised the total lack of any irritation or need for adjustment under a winter boot and/or heavy overshoe. The ankle fit isn't tight, nor loose – it's just so. There's a silicone grip-strip to keep things in place, and I never felt the need to make lower-leg adjustments.
Moving north, the knee panel is slightly articulated to sit right on the bike, with a more breathable panel at the back of the knee than at the front.
Further up around the waist and lower chest/back the panels retain some fleeciness while aiding breathability through thinness. As someone who runs pretty cold, I found the balance to be just right.
The straps are a laser-cut seam-free single piece, ensuring maximum comfort under multiple layers.
The multi-density 'PRO Pursuit 1:1' pad looks flat, and it's only through close inspection you detect the differing thicknesses. As a lifelong card-carrying disciple of The Church Of No Pad Fits All, I am very pleased to report that from ride one the pad felt like it wasn't there. I never had to move about, adjust anything or feel a need for a change of scenery. This was a set of bibs I wore daily, washing immediately on return from a ride, and popping on the radiator ready for the next day's outing.
With very minimalist silver logo branding on the left buttock and right thigh, these are hardly a commuter-warrior high-vis beacon of invincibility, but the flip side is they should pair nicely with just about any jersey or jacket. And after what must be getting on for 30 washes they look good as new. For the £129.99 RRP they are a pair of bib tights you should be very happy with.
For the money it's hard to go past these warm, comfortable and stylish bibs. Highly recommended!
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pearl Izumi Pro Pursuit Cycling Bib Tight
Size tested: Large (weight is for medium)
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
These are warm bibs for people who want to go fast or slow, short or long, in cold, wet weather. Possibly the best I've ever worn.
Pearl Izumi says: "Keep the elements at bay on stormy training days with the PRO Pursuit Cycling Bib Tight. Softshell panels protect key splash zones, while breathable Thermal panels add ventilation. Contoured styling maximizes muscle support, and the Pro Pursuit 1:1™ Chamois eliminates the need to layer with shorts"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
PRO level 3-layer Softshell Panels for wind and water protection in key areas
Lighter weight Softshell on lower legs for splash protection
Thermal panels on back of legs and upper for comfort
Pearl Izumi's own PRO Pursuit 1:1™ Chamois is designed to provide support for riding in the drops and features a smooth and lightweight poly microfiber face fabric over a 3-layer high-density suspension foam with a highly breathable surround foam and perforated backing fabric, all built away from the body for maximum support and comfort
Non zippered, elasticized cuffs for comfort under shoe covers
Minimal raw edge straps on bib upper for layering comfort
Reflective elements for low light visibility
Weather forecast: Cold and windy
Temperature range: -5 to 5 degrees
Fabrics: PRO Softshell panels of 39% polyester 39% nylon 22% elastane, Thermal Panels of 56% nylon 30% polyester 14% elastane with Softshell Weight of 340 g/m2
Had to go to a large, when size guide was squarely medium.
Possibly the best pad I've ever used. It was almost not there.
£130 isn't cheap, but expensive doesn't mean poor value if what you're getting is worth it. These are.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
After quite a few filthy rides the leg cuffs and shins look like new.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed. Highly recommended.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit. Like a glove for me.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I might have been swayed by zipped cuffs. Maybe. But didn't miss them.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
For the £129.99 RRP, these are great, even better if you can find them cheaper online.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling