Many already know the benefits to riding in a bib short. Many have said they ride in nothing else. Personally, I never saw the benefit despite many others before me constantly telling me. Now, thanks to the Pearl Izumi P.R.O Escape Bib Short ($170) I can speak.
What I loved
- Aesthetically-pleasing. When I put these on, I immediately noticed the slimming effect. No rolling waistline, I’m one with the shorts. It also has very nice silicone leg-grippers to keep the legs in place. Honestly, I’ve worn bike shorts without these leg grippers and they all pretty much suck. I’ve never seen men’s bike shorts without leg grippers. Why would a company omit leg grippers on women’s shorts? Not an issue with the P.R.O Escape Bib Short because Pearl Izumi added silicone leg grippers.
- Bio-break ease. Frankly this is the reason I resisted bibs, even ones that claim to be bio-break-able without having to remove a jersey. The P.R.O Escape Bib Shorts have a drop-tail design that has overlapped v-shaped panels at the back of the waist that allowed me to squat and pull down the shorts. Except that when Pearl Izumi describes the process it sounds so much easier! I had to re-think the way I relieve myself on the trail. With regular shorts, I pulled my shorts down while going into the squat position. I couldn’t really do that with the bib because it’s designed to be pulled down when your body is not elongated (e.g. in the squatting position). So it was a culture-shift for me. And bonus points that I didn’t have to remove my jersey.
- Breathable and comfortable. This is a big must-have in Minnesota in the summer. It’s always hot and humid. The P.R.O Escape Bib Short are made with a lightweight, soft fabric and finished off with laser-cut edges. They also dry relatively fast. And the straps? I don’t even notice them.
- Comfortable P.R.O. 3D chamois. I’ve always liked Pearl Izumi chamois and this one is no exception. It’s actually geared for race riding, which is about 10 percent of what I ride. Still, the padding is dense. Placement is more for an aggressive riding position but also just fine for less aggressive. It’s also wide and doesn’t bet bunchy.
What could be better
Well, not much. Pearl Izumi nailed it again. But I have to nit-pick at something so I’ll nit pick on the drop-tail design again.
I didn’t practice ahead of time so when nature called on the trail, it was a process to figure out how to do it. Like I said earlier, when Pearl Izumi describes the process it sounds easier: Squat, pull down, relief!
Indeed, my first experience was a trial-and-error effect of, “HOW THE @#$%!& DO THESE THINGS WORK??!!!” as I struggled with straps, fearing a tearing of the fabric, my kidneys on the verge of bursting. I finally unzipped my jersey and pulled the straps off my shoulders. It wasn’t until I practiced at home that I realized I had to follow Pearl Izumi’s stated process.
So, with an empty bladder and a YouTube video*, I got the process down. I haven’t had to remove a jersey since! So practice, practice, practice!
*I’m kidding on the YouTube video.
Final thoughts and a parting shot
So there you have it. My journey of bib shorts has concluded with favorable results. Am I a convert now? I am! Especially now that I know how to take a leak in them.
The Pearl Izumi P.R.O Escape Bib Short is a Gear Gals Piece of Recommended Gear,