Designed to be a high-end pair of bibs, the Pearl Izumi In-R-Cool Bibs are not as comfortable or as breathable as we would have hoped, and we prefer other bib designs for a similar price.
arying views of the P.R.O. In-R-Cool Bib.
The In-R-Cool Bib features Pearl Izumi's P.R.O. Seamless 4D Chamois. This is their top of the line chamois, recommended for racing and training for 3-7 rides per week. The 4-way stretch is supposed to mold to your body for comfort and avoid chafing. The chamois is 13 mm at its thickest, with variable density throughout. It also incorporates Pearl Izumi's Pressure Relief Technology to increase blood flow and increase performance.
The 4D chamois is seamless, ensuring maximum comfort.
In our testing, we found issues with some of these claims. The In-R-Cool Bib's chamois is thick and dense, especially along the ischium supports, and it rode well on the short course. However, we experienced numbness on some of our longer rides — what the In-R-Cool is advertised for — and had to adjust every 10-15 minutes in order to keep blood flowing to our nether regions. We found the In-R-Cool Bib to be on par with the Louis Garneau Equipe Bib in the Padding/Protection category, and this pair was definitely behind the Giordana Laser Bib, our Editors' Choice Award winner, and the Craft Performance Short.
The P.R.O. In-R-Cool Bib has an ergonomic fit with 4-way stretch Minerale fabric to aid in efficiency and pedal friendliness. The 10-panel construction also allows the material to move independently with your body, which limits restriction of movement. We found it a little difficult to get to an efficient pedaling position out of the saddle without making several adjustments. Although the In-R-Cool Bib fell behind both of the other bibs tested, it still performed solidly and matched the Craft Performance Short and the Castelli Velocissimo Due Short.
When we first tried the In-R-Cool Bib on, we were impressed with the comfort – the uppers felt good on the skin, the straps were comfortable, the legs were supportive and the cuffs didn't pull at all. Even in the saddle, the bib did a good job keeping the chamois in place, and the fabric is quite comfortable against the skin. However, the bib became too hot after only a short time, which is why we recommend it for cooler days in the spring or fall. Also, our seat became fatigued earlier into the ride than with some of the other shorts we tested, which made the later miles fairly miserable.
The In-R-Cool Bib implies breathability in its name, and we were excited to test this bib during hot days on the bike. In-R-Cool refers to the heat-reflective fabric, which reduces absorption of UV rays from the sun. This is combined with Pearl Izumi's Minerale fabric, which is infused with volcanic rock to wick moisture away from the skin for a faster evaporation time. This combination is supposed to give you a bib that is perfect for hot summer days, however the In-R-Cool Bib did not meet our expectations. It was the warmest in our field, and better used on cooler spring or fall days where a little extra coverage would keep you warm.
The mesh on the upper of the In-R-Cool Bib was not as breathable as we had hoped and kept us quite warm.
This lack of breathability is mostly due to the uppers of the bib. The cut comes up above the belly button and continues around the torso to your back at that height. The bib straps are very wide, which adds to comfort, but detracts from breathability. In addition, the Direct-Vent mesh bib straps aren't very meshy. They were the least porous of the bibs we tested and ended up trapping a large amount of heat. Even with a sleeveless jersey, it ended up being too much on most warm days.
The Pearl Izumi P.R.O. In-R-Cool Bib ranked in the middle of our testing field in terms of style. The bottoms are mostly black, though Pearl Izumi did consider things like contrast stitching and the shape of reflective details on the back of the legs. They also splashed some tasteful grey and orange colors on the side panels, just enough to be visually interesting. The bibs fell short in terms of style when considering the upper. The cut comes well above the belly button when standing, which places it 3" higher when in the saddle. The back of the upper has an oval cutout that looks a little strange as well. We would have preferred less overall coverage with the straps and back panel.
We realize that bibs are generally worn with jerseys, so that the uppers are less of a priority than the bottoms when considering style. We took this into account in our observations.
These bibs work best for spring or fall rides when the temperatures require a little extra insulation. They also perform better on short to mid-range rides.
The In-R-Cool Bib was the second most expensive bib/short in our review, retailing at $175, but it was our lowest ranking of the group. When you get to prices at this range, we expect a bib that can deliver where it counts. We recommend paying $20 more and purchasing our Editors' Choice Award-winning Giordana Laser Bib. If that isn't within your budget, opt for the Louis Garneau Equipe Bib instead.
These expensive bibs don't quite live up to their top-of-the-line billing. With average performance and less than average comfort and breathability, we would suggest choosing a different pair of bibs with more refined details.