PEARL iZUMi Men’s Expedition PRO Bib Short Review

Stopping for a #2 during a 8+ hour gravel race is often inevitable, it’s also a nightmare. You have to practically strip naked to pull it off. In Colorado, that’s sometimes above treeline with absolutely no where to hide. Sometimes it even happens on live TV.

Drop tails on bib shorts have become popular on women’s bib shorts for awhile now, but the trend hasn’t really come across to men’s shorts. Peart Izumi’s new Expedition Pro bibs close that gap.

PEARL iZUMi Spring/Summer 2022 Road/Gravel apparel

The rear straps of the Expedition Pro bib attach to the short much lower in the back below an outer layer of fabric, this allows you to drop trow without having to remove any upper layers. The drop tail design is also present on the new Expedition Pro Grodeo Suit – Pearl Izumi’s new skinsuit for the rough stuff. Both also feature extra pockets, most notably a nice deep pocket on each leg.

Possibly the biggest feature of these new short offerings from Pearl Izumi is the new Levitate chamois design. It’s thick, it’s smooth and it’s pretty darn comfy.

The top-of-market Levitate Pro pad found in the Expedition Pro short is made of high density foam to distribute pressure over a larger area. The inner layer of lower-density foam is claimed to work a bit like built-in suspension. It is also only attached at the front and rear of the short so the inner and outer layers move somewhat independently of each other to reduce friction. The chamois as a whole has a large footprint with noticeably more padding in the nose.

Pearl Izumi is quick to note that the Levitate chamois isn’t just about adding more padding, but is about using more effective padding. Higher-density foam compresses more slowly and stays plush longer into a ride. It also allows for a lot of cushion without the diaper feeling of some endurance bibs.

Pearl Izumi Expedition Pro Bib

Peark Izumi sent me a sample of it Expedition Pro Bib and I’ve been putting them through the paces for the past few weeks.

First impression, that Levitate chamois is triple-c thiccc. That said, it manages to not feel like a diaper like some endurance bibs I’ve worn. It feels cushy but not overly bulky. The chamois and short design also cut down on any of that diaper-butt looks and conforms well to the rear anatomy. Even standing off the bike, the short doesn’t present with any weird folds or that hanging off the tush look.

Expedition Pro Bib Short Description

These bib shorts are designed for rugged gravel or tarmac that stretches to the horizon. We took the popular Expedition Bib to the next level with our all-new Levitate PRO Chamois and luxurious Italian PRO Transfer fabric. Low profile cargo pockets on the thighs and two small rear pockets provide easy access to smartphones and snacks, and the flexibility to wear any top you prefer without worrying about carrying capacity. Last but certainly not least, this is our first men’s bib short with a drop-tail to make nature breaks quick and easy. Plus, we added our water shedding PI Dry® technology to the shorts to shrug off tire spray and light rain. There is no finer choice for long haul adventure.

Expedition Pro Bib Short Features
  • Luxurious Italian PRO Transfer fabric balances compression for ultimate comfort
  • New Levitate PRO Chamois with triple-density design delivers unmatched comfort
  • Drop-tail design for nature breaks
  • Laser-cut bib straps for superior next-to-skin comfort
  • Thigh cargo pockets provide additional storage options
  • Dual rear pocket at the base of the straps fit lip balm or a credit card
  • Laser-cut raw edge leg hem construction for seamless transition to skin
  • PI Dry® technology for permanent water-shedding performance
  • 10.5” inseam

Speaking of fit, the Expedition Pro Bib finds a happy medium. They’re not too tight, not too “I’m out here for the beer” and are a good leg length. The overall look is nice and clean with smooth-cut edges, hidden leg grippers which are effective at keeping the short in place and comfy stitch free straps.

The Expedition Pro Bib is very comfy in the saddle. I wore the bib for Old Man Winter and the short held up to below freezing temps and tons of muck and grit. I was covered with mud from head to toe and soaked but suffered no soreness or chaffing. I’ve also subjected the bibs to several long Zwift sessions and chaffing hasn’t been an issue with the sweaty, low saddle movement efforts either.

As for the claimed suspension effect, with the short on it definitely feels like I’ve got better isolation between sit bones and saddle. It’s got some cush factor in there for sure.

As for the drop-tail thing? Haven’t had the “opportunity” in the field yet. But I’m sure summer events will offer something up – Lake City Alpine 50 is pretty good at putting me in some remote spots without access to a porta-potty. I have given it a go at home and in testing it’s worked just fine.

I’m someone that rides bibs into oblivion, so it’s hard for me to make a resounding conclusion on Pearl Izumi’s Expedition Pro Bib yet, but so far I’m impressed. Initial quality for the price point ($265 for the Expedition Pro Bib) is fantastic. I’m excited to see how the Levitate Pro chamois holds up to some real gravel and mountain endurance racing in the spring and summer when sweat, grit, rough terrain and long hours in the saddle converge to put them through their paces.

More information and purchase at Pearl Izumi

PEARL iZUMi Spring/Summer 2022 Road/Gravel apparel

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