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Pearl Izumi PRO Escape thermal bibshorts review

6 Apr 2018
Verdict:

Among the very best bibshorts I have tested, these have become a staple

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£149.99
For 
Supreme comfort and warm, hugging fit
Against 
There are no criticisms

Firstly, it's worth noting that I am wearing matching the Pearl Izumi Elite thermal knee warmers in the pictures but am only speaking about the bibshorts. I have done this for a few reasons.

Primarily because I don't think thermal bibshorts often get worn alone. They are reserved for cold and damp Winter conditions meaning they are usually partnered with leg or knee warmers and not worn without company. If it's warm enough to wear bibshorts without warmers then it's probably sunny enough to just pluck with a standard pair of bibs.

You may then ask 'Why don't you just review the knee warmers at the same time?'. Well, simply put, this explains my second reason. These Pearl Izumi PRO Escape thermal bibshorts are so good they deserve their own individual spot in the limelight. 

Buy the Pearl Izumi Pro Escape thermal bibshorts from Bike Inn

The outstanding thing about these thermal bibshorts is their comfort. 

When I rode the Hell of Ashdown, 105km in February with almost 2,000m of climbing, I made sure to wear these Pearl Izumi bibshorts. I knew that they would keep me warm and dry if the weather turned nasty and that I would remain comfortable.

Along the flats, the PRO Escape chammy is so forgiving that there is little need for readjustment. On a less cultured chammy, any flat road longer than a kilometre or two will see me fidgeting for comfort, rising in and out the saddle for some easement, but this was never the case with this chammy and I could remain firmly planted for a good amount of time. 

Then when the road started to climb the shorts remained stable underneath me allowing a solid platform to plod back on to after having danced out of the saddle in search of some light relief. Not once did I get back in the saddle and feel like I had missed the spot.

This supreme comfort also comes thanks to supreme warmth. The back brushed fleeced lining on these shorts is seriously soft and hugs your legs tightly without restricting any movement. 

The fabric is also thick enough to keep your thighs nice and snug in the coldest of conditions but miraculously never saw me overheat when the sun decided to make an appearance.

These bishorts were equally as impressive in damp conditions. When it rained, the PI dry coating (a process that took three years to develop) used on the bibshorts kept the water out even when it began to truly pour. 

It made for a nice change not to return home sopping wet from the waist down after a long ride in the rain.

If the bib fits

It seems like the Pearl Izumi PRO Escape bibshorts are also cut with a shorter inseam. It measures as at 9 inches (size medium) which is not as long as other bibshorts I own.

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Personally, I like this. Shorter legs hark back to the good old days of the 1960s and 70s when a rider's easiest gear was a 42/21 and they all wore caps.

Be sure not to be caught out by Pearl Izumi's sizing guide, it's generous. A 34 inch waist, which is my size, will almost always equate to a Large in cycling bibshorts and this across the board from Castelli to Rapha to MAAP. However, with these particular bibshorts I found myself most comfortably slotting in to a medium. 

They fitted like a large in almost all other brands but had simply been branded up as the size below, so I'd recommend backing yourself on a smaller size which, I will admit, is a nice feeling.

I was suprised by how pleased I was with these bishorts. They look pretty underwhelming on face value but they truly are spectacular. I don't think I have worn a more comfortable pair of bibshorts and it will take a lot to improve on these.

So, I'm going to say it. These Pearl Izumi PRO Escape bibshorts are the best that I have ever worn and it's going to take an awful lot to go one better. 

Buy the Pearl Izumi Pro Escape thermal bibshorts from Bike Inn here

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