BikeRadar Battle: Thermal bib shorts

Bontrager Race vs Pearl Izumi P.R.O.

Welcome to the first edition of BikeRadar Battle, where two similar products face off in a fight to the death! Or, at least, we offer up our opinions on each and declare a winner.

When paired with leg warmers, thermal bib shorts are a great alternative to tights. Here, we line up Bontrager's Race Thermal bib against Pearl Izumi's P.R.O. Thermal bib.

An increasing number of companies are offering thermal bibs

Bontrager's offering feels very much like a standard race bib, but with a little fleece lining for added warmth. For the money, this is a great value short, with the fit and performance of the short only hampered slightly by a mid-range chamois. Pearl Izumi has been making thermal clothing — most notably arm and leg warmers — for years now and the P.R.O. Thermal Bib Shorts build on that legacy with a new chamois to boot.

BikeRadar thermal bib short battle: bontrager race vs pearl izumi p.r.o.: bikeradar thermal bib short battle: bontrager race vs pearl izumi p.r.o.

Test Dummy #1 squares off against his evil twin, Test Dummy #2, in a test of thermal bibs

Here is how the Bontrager and Pearl Izumi bib shorts stack up against each other.

BontragerPearl IzumiAdvantage
Fit Well cut, snugLess constrictiveBontrager
ChamoisSegmented, not super softSingle layer against skin, multi-density, wickingPearl Izumi
FunctionProfila insulates without hindering movementThermal and chamois are warmDraw

And the winner of the BikeRadar Thermal Bib Battle is... Bontrager!

While the Pearl Izumi chamois is superior, the cut, fit and price of the Bontrager carry the day.

Complete Bontrager Race Thermal Bib review

Complete Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Thermal Bib review

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team, Trek Boone 5, Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4, Marinoni fixed gear, Santa Cruz Roadster TT bike
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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