Reviewed: Pearl Izumi P.R.O. OCTANE BIB SHORT

pearl-izumi-pro-series-octane-bib-short-46639.jpg

Over the last year, we have done our best to try the latest and greatest cycling bibs available. Yes, the market segment is somewhat dominated (on the high-end) by Assos, Giordana, Castelli and such--but we are always looking for the underdog. The "underdog" being a company that doesn't have the market-share, reach, or marketing, but still excels in craftsmanship and "engineering". To that point, we have reviewed the Panache Eleven Bib Short (excellent summer bibs) and the 2XU Elite Cycle Bib Shorts (super price and super chamois).

To be honest, the brand Pearl Izumi just simply fell off of our radar. As we are snobs, our taste for the cycling upper-end steered clear of the mass-marketed companies like Sugoi and Pearl Izumi. When Pearl launched their new, made in Italy, P.R.O line featuring their anatomic transfer fabric, we took note. Not just because of the price tag (a full P.R.O kit will run you $500), but because they are actively targeting the higher-end cyclist. Yes, the discerning cyclist is a whole different class of rider than their normal mass-market class of rider that doesn't mind the larger sizing and neon-blaze green color scheme's. The high-end rider can smell a loaf a mile away.

With that, let's tell you what we liked:

The true judge of any bib short in our mind is the chamois. To our surprise, the P.R.O. Octane performed nicely throughout our 110 mile test ride. Pearl states, "the 4D Chamois™ conforms to every anatomical nook and cranny..." and we are happy to confirm, it did just that. We actually liked it better than the 2XU Elite and almost as good as the FI. Mille bib shorts from Assos believe it or not (we are luke warm on the FI.Mille's).
The snug-fit didn't seem out of place...and like any bib worth it's salt, the feel off-the-bike is a bit uncomfortable compared to being on-the-bike.
Lastly, we have noticed others mentioning they hate how tight the red compression gripper is at the thigh...we disagree and think it is one of the pieces strong points.

The snob in us says:
It really comes down to two small things for us. One, the chamois doesn't extend far enough towards the front (up to the belly button) for our tastes. While it can be seen as minor for some, those riding aero bars--off the front of the saddle, may find the padding shortfall too uncomfortable to handle. Lastly, the color white has always been hard for us...while it provides a nice contrasting color scheme, it looked like something the cat dragged-in after our long ride.

Where To Buy:
Excel Sports, Boulder CO

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