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Pearl Izumi Quest Short Review

Pearl Izumi Quest Short
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Price:  $50 List | $37.49 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Padding, comfort, simplicity, value, UV 50+ protection
Cons:  Lack of style and breathability
Manufacturer:   Pearl Izumi
By David Mackey ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 11, 2015
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  • Style - 10% 5
  • Breathability - 15% 7
  • Padding/Protection - 25% 8
  • Fit/Comfort - 25% 8
  • Efficiency/Pedal Friendliness - 25% 7

Our Verdict

The Quest Short is part of Pearl Izumi's 'Select Series', the beginner line of shorts and bibs that cater to the enthusiast to intermediate rider. Although lacking the specialization of some of the other shorts we tested, the Quest brings a solid chamois and comfort level for a retail price of $50, earning our Best Buy Award. Although it lacks in style, the Quest is an excellent option for anyone who owns a road bike. It boasts UV 50+ protection for the long days in the sun, and tied with the Craft Performance Short for the lightest gear we tested at 150g.

Our Analysis and Test Results

A beginner pair of cycling shorts without a bib upper, the Pearl Izumi Quest performs well at a budget price.

Performance Comparison

The Pearl Izumi Quest Short is your basic black short.
The Pearl Izumi Quest Short is your basic black short.


The Quest Short steps up its game in Padding/Protection, delivering a chamois that stays comfortable in the saddle on pretty much every ride. The Tour 3D Chamois consists of 3 layers and is 13 mm thick with variable density. The chamois is quite large, which gives room to move around in the saddle without much consequence. Unlike more precise fits, the Quest chamois allows for quite a bit of position adjustments while staying comfortable. The chamois is also seamless, and we never had any issues with hot spots or chafing.

The Quest short uses Pearl Izumi's Tour 3D chamois  which gives maximum protection in the saddle.
The Quest short uses Pearl Izumi's Tour 3D chamois, which gives maximum protection in the saddle.

Efficiency/Pedal Friendliness

The Pearl Izumi suffers a bit from the size of its chamois and the relaxed cut when it comes to pedal friendliness. The Tour 3D chamois never really got in the way, but it was noticeable while riding. This didn't distract us, but for someone who is used to a higher-end short with a more precise fit, it could be an issue. The other issue is how the fabric lays, especially when the cyclist is in the drops. The cut isn't super aggressive, so there is a small amount of pulling that we sometimes felt when pedaling. The good news is that a quick adjustment of position alleviated any issues.


The Pearl Izumi Quest Short has a very comfortable fit. You can tell right away that it plays a more generalized role in Pearl Izumi's gear lineup, lacking the precise chamois, aggressive cut, and integrated fabrics of more specialized pieces. The result is general comfort for general riding. This is in contrast to the Craft Performance Short, which is more specialized for racing or hard riding. The Quest Short fits well and stays comfortable.


The Quest Short isn't winning any awards for technological advancement, but it is benefitting from being produced by a reputable brand that pushes the proverbial envelope with its higher end gear. Trickle down economics really does work on this scale, and the Quest Short is living proof. Although it is lacking special breathable panels like the Castelli Velocissimo Due Short or the Giordana Laser Bibshorts, the Quest short is constructed of Pearl Izumi's Select Transfer fabric, which is the foundation of moisture management for their much higher end bibs and shorts. This fabric is designed to wick moisture and increase breathability. The chamois in this short is the Tour 3D, which is also made from a breathable, 4-way stretch material. Although breathability wasn't its strongest feature, the Pearl Izumi Quest Short was able to hold its own in the saddle and did a relatively good job regulating temperature and breathability.

Pearl Izumi was the one pair we tested that did not utilize a material change in the outside leg panels to aid in breathability.
Pearl Izumi was the one pair we tested that did not utilize a material change in the outside leg panels to aid in breathability.


What's style? Okay, so the Quest Short isn't that bad, but Pearl Izumi didn't do a whole lot in terms of style with this short. Where shorts like the Craft Performance Short or the Castelli Velocissimo Short show a good amount of attention to detail as far as style goes, Pearl Izumi was happy creating an all black cycling short, slapping a couple of PI reflective logos on and calling it a day. One issue we have with the short is the 'diaper' effect that the larger sized chamois sometimes gives when not in the riding position. Pearl Izumi was more interested in creating a functional cycling short than making any kind of fashion statement.

A reflective logo detail and silicone gripping beads on the interior of the Quest leg cuff.
A reflective logo detail and silicone gripping beads on the interior of the Quest leg cuff.

Best Application

The Pearl Izumi Quest Short works well in all conditions, but is most at home on leisure rides. We wouldn't recommend this pair for heavy training, but the short can really handle whatever you throw at it, including going hard on the bike. Pearl Izumi suggests this short is for the enthusiast to the intermediate cyclist for 1-5 rides per week.


The Quest Short won our Best Buy Award for being a tremendous value for what you get in return. Retailing at $50, it is $60 less expensive than the next cheapest short and $145 less expensive than our highest priced item, the Giordana Laser Bib. The Quest offers a comfortable ride at a bargain price.


For the price, the Pearl Izumi Quest is an excellent pair of cycling shorts that will add comfort and protection to any ride. They are ideal for a beginner or a rider trying to outfit themselves without spending too much.

David Mackey