Every serious rider needs a perfunctory work bib, and every new rider needs their first real pair of bib shorts. These are what you need to get you out on the road whether it's because your favorite shorts are still drying because you didn't wash them in your hotel until 10pm and your ride starts at 7:30am or you're new to the drops and carbon fiber. They aren't going to last forever or make you ride faster, but they fit great, they feel good, the padding is fine, and they're easy on the expenditures side, which is why they earned the Best Buy award and why they should earn your attention. Read on to see how they do next to other top products on the market right now.
Pearl Izumi Quest Splice Bib ReviewPrice: $70 List | $68.63 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Cost-effective, durable, breathable, flexible, form-fitting
Cons: Limited padding, less supportive
Bottom line: Affordable, dependable intro bibs that will last.
Inseam Measurement (inches): 9.5"
Number of panels: 6
Manufacturer: Pearl Izumi
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Our Analysis and Test Results
We spent weeks putting these bibs and many others through a crucible of rides, measurements, and tests to see how they stack up against each other. Read on to see how these did.
The Quest Splice aren't the most compelling threads on the market, but they do try to add a little flourish. The main body is black, but there's a small stripe on each thigh to coordinate with shoes, jersey, helmet, or whatever else, provided those things are blue, gray, or yellow. While the colors might not be much, their sleek, form-fitting design and reflective material give them the appearance of polished porcelain and can be quite fetching.
These are fine for functional shorts that will get you on the road and looking spiffy enough without emptying your bank account. They come in somewhere around the middle of our group. If you are really in the market for attractive shorts and can't live without turning heads (we suggest training more), take a look at the SUGOi Evolution Pro, which took last year's Editors' Choice, or the Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2, the Top Pick for Short Courses.
Most shorts incorporate polyester to improve breathability and moisture release, but these are able to achieve excellent breathability by simply using a thinner blend of nylon and Lycra on the body and less dense layers in the chamois. Their proprietary material is called SELECT Transfer, and it allows substantially more aeration than tradition blends of nylon and Lycra. In their padding, they use the SELECT Escape 1:1, a blended thickness chamois that also does an incredible job of releasing moisture and keeping your bits dryish and discouraging bacterial growth after washing.
For what they are, breathability exceeds expectations, landing them near the top of the category. They uniquely omit hydrophobic polyester from their material while still delivering great breathability. The other toppers here used a higher mix of polyester, notably the SUGOi Evolution Pro, bringing a blend of 18% polyester as well as a thin design. If you need just a bit more breathability, we suggest looking to them. If breathability is a top desire, take a look at the Pearl Izumi Elite In-R-Cool bib shorts, which deliver outstanding breathability by using an extremely effective mix of 8% polyester and 12% Lycra in their ELITE Transfer In-R-Cool fabric and a unique variable density chamois.
Padding and Protection
As expected in the Best Bang for the Buck winner, they come with a serviceable chamois that will do just fine on most rides, but you're not paying for premium. The blended thickness SELECT Escape 1:1 chamois comes with a moderately dense layer of pre-shaped padding that adjusts to your body for a better fit. It harkens back to something closer to a traditional chamois leather- just a functional piece of smooth suede-like material to dampen some of the road static.
In its traditional chamois leather feel, it has the same appeal as the ZOOT Active short and is well suited to shorter rides, but it can also get you through longer rides. Its weakness is that it bunches a bit more and the doubled-up padding can chafe, which means you do a lot more standing and adjusting. We suggest looking at the Top Pick for Short Course winning Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Escape, which uses the premium P.R.O. Escape chamois to deliver hard to beat pampering. If you want to go one further, look at the top of our list to find the SUGOi Evolution, with its unmatched firm foam padding, ventilation, and form-fitting comfort.
Comfort and Fit
Few seams, six panels, and a thin nylon-Lycra body help make these some of the more comfortable shorts in the lineup. They're fairly streamlined and adjust to the body really well. Practical silicone leg grippers keep the cuffs from riding up without squeezing too much or having that annoying pulling feel of silicone dragging across your skin.
They ranked up near the top alongside many of the other current and past award winners, including last year's Top Pick for Short Course Garneau CB Carbon 2 and this year's Short Course Pick, the Garneau Fit Sensor 2. All three use a combination of thin material, flexible Lycra, and forgiving, ergonomic designs to bring excellent quality to their products. The best performer in this category, however, was the SUGOi Evolution, using not just thin material, but a high mix of Lycra and polyester to give even more flex and fit.
Efficiency and Pedal Friendliness
When it comes to banging out the miles, few shorts facilitate that as well as the Quest Splice bibs. Whereas the Garneau Sensor 2s were burdensome to the point of feeling like a wetsuit, these felt like a barely noticeable skinsuit. They gently clung to the thighs, and the shoulder straps had enough flex and give to hold the shorts in place without yanking them north every time we got out of the saddle, as sometimes happened in the Garneau bibs.
Combining a strong, soft nylon base with a malleable, flexible Lycra has given them the ability to maintain their shape while offering enough flex to accommodate your shape - we can't all have the well-proportioned shape of whatever Adonis mannequin Pearl Izumi used to design these. That put them right at the top of this measure next to the Top Pick for Short Course winning P.R.O. Escapes and Editors' Choice SUGOi Evolution. If you're on a budget, we suggest sticking with the Quest Splice, but if you have the pockets, take a look at the P.R.O. Escapes.
88% nylon produces a strong product that will last quite a while if you take care of it - you know, hand-washing and hanging to dry right after your ride, not trail running in briar patches, avoiding bleach, that sort of thing. Its limited padding and streamlined design also means that there's less to break down and degrade over time, again affirming their status as the Best Bang for the Buck winner - you're getting a bit of apparel that's going to do the job of getting your tail on the road, and it's going to last for a while.
Their simple design and good material put them up near the top here. They scored alongside the Gore 3.0, which won last year's Best Bang for the Buck award, primarily based on their durability and a few other technical qualities. The top scoring shorts here were the SUGOi Evolution, whose tough material and simple, sleek design earned them the spot.
These are your run-of-the-mill shorts that don't have any specialization but will be a reliable mainstay that will keep you out on the road. They do just as well in spin classes as they do on training rides and early season base miles (long slow rides).
$70 makes these an extremely affordable option, given their outsize performance. That's why we gave them the Best Buy award. They use durable, breathable materials and a simple design to deliver a product that will suit most riders most of the time and last for quite a bit.
We loved that the Pearl Izumi Quest Splice felt little more than nakedness. Being nude on the bike wouldn't be especially interesting, but the shorts give a similar degree of free movement while also taking care to cushion and protect the sitting and shifting bits. If that weren't enough, they also use a high mix of nylon and a simple design to deliver a product with great longevity, and they do it at an accessible price. That's why they earned our Best Buy award. That isn't to say that they're the top product, but you get a lot of performance for the price you pay. They will keep you hammering as comfortably as hammering can allow for many miles.
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Most recent review: May 29, 2018
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