Product Review

Pearl Izumi Cargo MTB Bib Shorts – A Pearl in the Rough

Spending a decent amount of money on a premium pair of padded cycling shorts quickly becomes a major consideration to your wardrobe when you double your workout time in 3 months. For the longest time I always looked for a cheap deal on a pair of cycling shorts without thinking of the comfort they can offer, rather than the money I could save. Race season is looming and more hours on the bike came calling. I looked to the Pushys catalogue to find a great deal on some shorts, not thinking that I’d be leaving with a new training partner instead.

Armed with sound advice from riding buddies I upped my price bracket which brought me across the Pearl Izumi Cargo MTB Bib Shorts. This particular pair of cycling shorts caught my eye for three reasons: the integrated pockets in the bib, breathable mesh panel construction, and the Elite Escape chamois. Each of which for their own reasons and benefits for my training – yours too.

Although I usually wear a zipped jersey with 3 part pockets built into them for training rides I like to have a few loose “trail going” jerseys in my wardrobe for a more casual feel. These loose jerseys make an appearance in my mid-week boredom crushing trail burns or skill-honing segment repeats. However, this is at the sacrifice of being able to carry my essential toolkit in the absence of back pockets on my jersey. The Pearl Izumi Cargo shorts means I can still feel the breeze in my casual jersey and not have to skimp on not taking a spare tube should I get a thorny surprise. They are well positioned on your lower back and have plenty of space for tubes, multi-tools, tyre levers or even a spare bottle! The right side pocket even features an elastic loop to better support longer items you may have like a hand pump or cheeky banana. If that isn’t enough storage for you, there are 2 side sleeves on each leg perfect for securing anything from a car key to a phone away from your pedal stroke. I incredibly appreciate these integrated pockets and the options they provide no matter what jersey day it may be.

The PI Cargo shorts have a quality assuring feel about them. The seams are comfortable and the material is impressively breathable. Pearl Izumi have taken this to mind by doing away with more dense lycra material that would otherwise provide more (visual) protection. As the shorts are made for the baggy-shorts-wearing MTB crew, the outer shorts do this work already. The front panels from the lower abdomen, around the groin, and down to the inner thigh is made of a light mesh for improved ventilation under the baggie layer. The same material is used for the over-shoulder bib to keep your top half cool, too. The soft to skin mesh does a fantastic job of keeping you cool and staying light under your outfit of choice. The side and lower back panels have never snagged on my outer shorts either, making for a frictionless experience all around.

Finally, the Elite Escape chamois to mention. When positioning myself on my bike for the trail I take advantage of every inch of my saddle. You’ll find me sliding my hips fore and aft up technical climbs while being very touch-and-go to the saddle in technical terrain demanding dynamic bike movement. I want to be able to position my hips on the saddle with comfort, without catching a channel between chamois pads found on many other shorts. The PI Cargo shorts feature the Elite Escape 1:1 chamois with dual density foam and has no relief channels that makes for a single pad for every inch of undercarriage. This is the unsung hero of my new training partner shorts. With no gaps in their support, the PI cargo shorts offer support no matter what saddle position I am in – all day every day. The material is also soft on the skin and never irritates so you can stay focussed on the trail.

The Pearl Izumi Cargo MTB Bib Shorts are my favourite pair of padded cycling shorts I have ever owned. Their utilitarian nature with baggie-friendly ventilation and versatile chamois pad has me making sure I had them lined up for as many rides per week my washing machine could take. PI’s focus on delivering a comfortable and performance promoting wardrobe experience is one to admire. I have since bought another pair of PI cycling shorts, gloves, and baggies so I am riding Pearl Izumi all week! It only took me one week full of riding to justify the premium price tag of the Cargo shorts. If you are in the market for cycling shorts or even other items, I encourage you to try PI!

By Kaiden Carter – Pushys sponsored athlete

Categories: Product Review

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