Comfort, support, and premium feel... without the premium price tag.
IMAGES - JARROD MACSHANE
Started out in Japan in the 1960s by Kinji Shimizu, he was making cotton kits for his son who raced for the Japanese national team at the Asian Cycling Championships.
Using a previously unseen italian design and nylon fabric as a base template, he pushed the boundaries of his designs and constantly innovated which lead to a number of key breakthroughs for the company. These included advancements in technical fabric for better moisture displacement, mountain specific apparel and the first company to create women’s specific panels in their ranges.
Now, onto the bib-shorts.
The very first thing you’ll notice about these shorts when you first pick them up, is the outrageously plush, thick and cushy chamois. The comfort and support it provided was great, it did feel a bit weird when I first popped it on, as I normally have a thinner chamois, but after a wash and some bike time I had no idea how I ever lived without it!
One thing that sets Pearl Izumi apart from other manufacturers in this price point (A$129), is their ability to use a variety of fabrics in a thoughtful way without comprising on the fit around your legs and butt. Too often I’ve seen a variety of different denier fabrics used on a garment and the different fabrics don’t hold up to the rigours of regular use.
The added details of silicone grippers around the base of the legs and laser cut finishing on the bottoms edges, make these shorts feel Rapha premium without the pricetag.
ON THE BIKE
On the bike these performed well, the positing of the wide silicone grippers on the made sure the short legs stayed in place even when you got a bit sweaty and unfortable. As an added bonus, these are a highly breathable short and great for staying cool during high tempo session. But I wouldn’t recommend these shorts on those cooler Southern state mornings (<8°), their lightweight denier fabrics was a bit of an issue when whipping through the cold burbs of Melbourne.
The additional of a Scotchlite 3M reflective detail on the logo, while nice, doesn’t really add much in terms of safety or appeal.
Something which is underrated in my opinion, is Pearl Izumi’s minimal branding and neutral black colour, it gave me the ability to mix and match my jerseys depending on my jersey wash cycle and my mood.
I’d recommend these for anyone after a quality set of bib-shorts who wants to look the part, without being flashy.
Overall, I really enjoyed these shorts. They’re comfy, look slick and the fit and fabric was great for my body. (179cm, 75kgs, male). The quality of the chamois combined with the thoughtful design, meant little to no readjustment was required throughout a long day on the bike.
You can find Pearl Izumi's Elite Escape Knicks at Cycle Closet.
This is not a paid review - Thanks to Shimano Australia for sending us out a set of knicks for review.