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Women's bibshorts without the toilet break headaches? We review whether the Pearl Izumi Women's Elite Bibshorts can do this and perform in the saddle.

pearl izumi womens bibshorts
Overall Score
The drop-tail does work, making toilet breaks less of a complete strip affair.
They are nearly, but not quite as effective as standard bibshorts

One of the problems with bibshorts, for women far more than men, is the delicate subject of toilet breaks when out and about. Pearl Izumi have obviously put some thought into the this and have come up with a clever design that can help make things, shall we say, flow a little better. With a bib that is only attached at the front, the back is free to move down for such occasions, meaning a full strip isn't necessary. Broad lycra cuffs backed up with silicon print for grip keep the legs in place while a clip across the chest keep the straps together for 'between the boobs' comfort. A UPF factor of 50+ and cooling fabrics mean they are ideal for warmer sunny climes.

Straight out the bag our female testers have been pleased to see the drop-tail theory working in practice - well, at least going through the motions, so to speak. Most did comment however, that it did remove a lot of the function from having bibshorts in the first place, with the fabric at the back not attached to the short section at all. This resulted in the fabric 'back flap' not always dropping into place neatly. It never did cause too much of a headache however, but just don't expect that wrap-around comfort of full bib shorts.

With a 9 inch inseam they are mid-thigh length, and together with the In-R-Cool fabric they both reflect and dissipate heat at a rate suitable for summer riding. If you are planning a ride across a hot country they are excellent, and even for UK summer riding we have found them very comfortable throughout the summer months.

Although it doesn't look as technical as some of the more flamboyant chammies out there, the Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit 1:1 is actually superb. A wicking topsheet hides all the padding cuts and shapes, making it look plain, but it certainly kept us very comfortable over long and hot days in the saddle. Even cooler days under a pair of tights it has worked perfectly.

A great pair of women's shorts not only for their innovative drop-tail design, but also for their high levels of comfort in hot weather. The chammy is superb for long rides, but just don't expect that all-round support and coverage of bibshorts - to get the bathroom convenience you have to compromise a little. It is up to you if that suits your riding.

Finally we had the plain black with white bibs, but if you prefer a little more jazz to your shorts they are also available with red or grey stripes down the leg.







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