Road Cycling Clothing

Pearl Izumi Elite Cycling Bib Shorts review

An easy access flap at the rear of these Pearl Izumi shorts, makes toilet breaks a breeze.

The Pearl Izumi Elite Shorts are yet another pair of bibs designed to try and solve the longstanding de-robing issue women have at pitstops.

Was the aptly named drop tail successful or just another gimmicky design, destined for the charity shop?

With several interesting features designed to increase comfort on summertime rides, these shorts are well made, a good fit but lacking in coverage.

Pearl Izumi has developed an interesting take on the universal issue of convenience breaks while wearing bib shorts. The bib is attached only at the front; a longer panel at the rear tucks into the waistband at the back of the short section. The idea being, that you don’t need to completely remove these shorts if you need to answer the call of nature. This ‘drop tail’ is useful as it’s nice not to have to strip off every time you need the loo, but I found that the panel at the back didn’t always stay tucked in while riding.

Not the most flattering shot admittedly, but it highlights the fabric panel that tucks into the shorts beautifully.

The In-R-Cool refers to technology in the shorts fabric, designed to keep you cool in hot conditions and protected from the suns rays as it has a UPF of 50+.  With the UK weather barely hitting double digits (will it ever?) I can’t comment with certainty on the breathability of the material, however I didn’t feel like I was going to overheat while wearing them, and with fair skin the UV protection is welcome.

A plastic clip enables you to fasten your bib straps together. It may keep the straps out of the way but as they are pulled inward by the clasp, they can cause a smidge of rubbing on the neck.

They have also gone for the ‘between boob’ option for the shoulder straps, held together by a small plastic clasp. I had reservations about this when I saw it, but in practice had no problems. The clasp sat at bra level, so didn’t touch my skin, and didn’t get in the way.

The shorts are mid-thigh length with a wide band which was secure without cutting off the circulation or giving me sausage bulges, and silicone grips which kept them securely in place.

I found the chamois to be comfy and not too bulky after using it regularly for commuting and on a few longer rides. No pinching, rubbing or issues with the length; in fact I didn’t really notice it when riding, surely a good sign.


If you run warm when out and about, are heading to warmer climes for a bike holiday, or are supremely optimistic about the oncoming British Summer, then these shorts will see you through.


– Handy drop tail feature makes convenience breaks easy
– UPF factor 50+ to protect you from the sun
– Breathable material keeps you cool in the heat


– Rear panel of drop tail design can ride up exposing back
– Higher end of the price range

Price: £89.99
More information: Pearl Izumi Women’s Elite Cycling Short
UK supplier: Madison

What Pearl Izumi says about their Elite Cycling Bib Shorts

For added comfort and tranquility during your ride, Pearl Izumi have designed a bib-short specifically for women using a drop tail system and combining the convenience of a short with the support of a bib

The Women’s Drop Tail Cycling Bib combines the reflective ELITE Transfer In-R-Cool® coldblack® fabric technology providing optimal cooling and UPF 50+ sun protection.

The Drop Tail Cycling Bib combines an anatomic multi-panel design with flatlock and double needle seams for durability and comfort.

Silicone leg gripper with welded construction.

The dense and women’s specific Elite 3D Chamois® offers maximum support and comfort for extended hours in the saddle thanks to a 13mm 3-layers padding and active carbon yarns to improve thermoregulation.


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