Good quality, comfy black bib shorts with 'heat reducing' fabric for summer riding
Off somewhere hot for a training camp, or just hoping from some hot weather later in the year... or even now? Pearl Izumi's Elite In-R-Cool bib shorts promise "optimal cooling and reflective sun protection", and certainly they seem to take the edge off the hot days. On top of that, they're very comfy in use and the pad is good too.
From the outside these bibs look like a standard multi-panel anatomic short. They're well put together and the fabric is on the thin side. Where they differ is that Pearl Izumi claim that the In-R-Cool technology makes the black lycra perform like white lycra, but without the need to go around in white lycra.
Does it work? Well I wore these shorts on some pretty hot rides, including at altitude in the late summer sun in the Alps and on some long summer day rides in the UK, and they remained comfy over extended periods in the saddle. I also stuck them on for an 8hr MTB race and from that and some long road rides I can confirm that the pad is well positioned and pretty comfy; it's not as good as the top-line Elastic Interface ones or the Castelli Progetto X2 but it's good for a £100 short. The fabric is also rated to SPF50 for UV protection, although I can count the number of times I've been sunburned through lyrca on, oh, no hands.
Without going back and doing the exact same rides in the same conditions it's hard to know how much of a difference the In-R-Cool technology makes. My inner sceptic would say "not much" but then we live in a world of incremental gains; if the fabric keeps your guns a couple of degrees cooler and that makes you more comfy, then that's a win. These are certainly comfy; the silicone leg grippers keep everything in place without ever feeling restrictive, and the bibs are comfortable and just the right length. The reflective elements are just transfers though, so you can expect to lose them after a few washes. Mine now say ELI instead of ELITE...
All in all these are likeable bib shorts: comfy, with a good pad. For £100 there's plenty of competition but they feel like they're pulling their weight. The In-R-Cool technology has some merit although in these temperate climes it's probably limited to the few weeks of the year when it's really hot; if you're the type to head down to the alps or the Canaries for a bit of extra sun then the heat-reducing tech might be the thing to sway you. It's either that or wear white lycra...
Difficult to say exactly how much difference the heat-reducing fabric makes, but these are good quality, comfortable bib shorts for summer nonetheless
road.cc test report
Make and model: Pearl Izumi In-R-Cool bib short
Size tested: XL
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Our top selling ELITE Bib Short has been further enhanced with InRCool technology taking this classic style to a new level in technology performance and value
Body 80% nylon 12% elastane 8% polyester UPF 50
Mesh 80% polyester 20% elastane
Black Lower Panels 80% nylon 12% elastane 8% polyester UPF 50
White Lower Panels 80% polyester 20% elastane UPF 50
ELITE Transfer fabric with InRCool technology provides optimal cooling and reflective sun protection
Anatomic multi panel design
Flatlock and double needle seams
Silicone leg gripper with welded construction
ELITE 3D Chamois
Reflective elements for low light visibility
9inch inseam [size medium]
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe depending on their sun-seeking ways
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track