Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts and ELITE Escape Jersey Review

Pearl Izumi was started over 50 years ago in Tokyo, Japan by a father who wanted to make bicycle racing clothing for his son.  It has become one of the largest makers of cycling apparel in the world.  The name Pearl Izumi means “fountain of pearl” and was named after Izumi, which is an area of Japan known for its clear water and the gem, pearl.  They have been selling their gear in the United States since 1981 and have branched out into selling gear for running and triathlons as well. 

I have been using Pearl Izumi cycling products for over 15 years and have found that the quality of their gear is top notch.  The durability and design has never left me disappointed.  I have 3 different Pearl Izumi cycling shorts and my favorite shorts are the P.R.O. series shorts.  I was really excited when I got a pair of the P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts and ELITE Escape Jersey.

P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts

There is no substitute for really great cycling gear.  When you have the right bib shorts or jersey, it can make all the difference in the world.  Research has proven that you ride faster when you are more comfortable.  The P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts are the top of the line bib shorts from Pearl Izumi.  The features really do make a difference and while the price tag of $195 is pricey, they will last quite a while and feel awesome.  I have had a pair of Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Shorts for about 6 years and they work just as good today as the day I bought them.

The P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts feature high end fabric with Coldblack technology.  This provides a great amount of stretch and compression, which will aid in muscle support and recovery.  Coldblack is a revolutionary finishing technology that reduces heat buildup due to sunlight, especially on darker materials.  Having Coldblack will also protect you from the sun by providing a minimum of UPF 30 protection.

Another great feature of the P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts is their 1:1 Chamois.  It comes with multi density foams that support key areas (you know the area’s that I’m talking about) but still remains light weight.  It looks like one uniform chamois and you wouldn’t know that there were different thicknesses if you didn’t touch the chamois.  I have to say that this is one of the biggest selling points for me.   A great chamois will keep you happy mile after mile and the 1:1 chamois that Pearl Izumi used in the P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts is the best that I have ever tried.  

The upper bib material (the overall straps) are made with a Transfer Direct Vent mesh and provides awesome moisture transfer, odor resistance, and dries really quickly.  I will admit that up until about 2 months ago, I always wore regular cycling shorts.  I tried a few bib shorts out and I will never go back. 

Some of the other features of the P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts include silicon grip material at the leg openings to hold the legs in place and prevent them from creeping up in the middle of your ride and reflective elements for low light visibility (which is hidden in the black material of the bib shorts).

While it may be hard to justify the $195 price tag of the P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts, It is a great investment.  The bib shorts will last quite a while and you simply can’t beat the comfort.  With some of the best features in the industry, I would put the P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts up against any bib short out there. 

Coldblack material keeps you cooler and drier
Mesh bib area is well ventilated and dries quickly
Best chamois I have tried
Silicon leg grippers to keep the shorts from riding up

Expensive, but well worth the price.

Elite Escape Jersey

The Pearl Izumi Men’s ELITE Escape Jersey is another great product that delivers some of the best moisture transfer technologies in the industry.  It is specifically made to keep you cool and comfortable even in the heat of summer.

The ELITE Escape Jersey may not be Pearl Izumi’s top-of-the-line jersey, but you wouldn’t know that from the fit, feel, and performance.  It comes with Pearl Izumi’s Elite Transfer In-R-Cool fabric which uses Ice-fil technology to keep your skin cooler.  I have used this on a few 90+ degree rides and felt like the fabric did keep me cooler than my other jerseys.  The jersey also has Direct-vent panels to provide superior ventilation.

The ELITE Escape Jersey has a full length zipper in the front, three large pockets and two additional stow pockets (all pockets are in the back).  This is the first jersey that I have used with 5 pockets and I really liked it.  Plenty of room for tools, gels, bottles, my phone, and more.  There are also reflective elements built into the jersey for added safety.

The ELITE Escape Jersey is made with 100% polyester that has UPF 50+ protection from the sun’s harmful rays.  The price tag, like the P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts is a little higher than some jerseys, but I feel the features are worth the price tag.  You may find a cheaper jersey, but it won’t perform or feel as good.  You can find the jersey for around $85.

Elite Transfer In-R-Cool fabric with Ice-fil keeps you cooler
Direct-Vent panels help keep you dry with superior ventilation
Full length zipper
5 pockets to store your gear

Expensive, but well worth the price.

Pearl Izumi’s Social Media Links:

I have never been disappointed with the products that Pearl Izumi makes and that is especially true with the P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts and Elite Escape Jersey.  They both have top-of-the-line features that really came through in my brutal testing.  I was riding in 90 degree temperatures each day and they not only made the ride more manageable, but I feel the compression in the shorts and comfort of the chamois helped me perform better.  I would not hesitate to pay the higher price tag for such a great cycling kit.  You can purchase these items on the Pearl Izumi website or at a local dealer near your (click here for locations).  I would love to hear what you think about these products, so please leave a comment and let me know.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

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