An entry-level cycling kit that you’ll likely use as a stepping stone to something with more features later on and unconventional cargo bibs that’ll surprise you.
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We looked at the Attack cycling kit in order to compare a budget item with the higher end bibs we love. The difference is clear. If you’re looking for an extra cycling kit for days on the trainer or shorter rides, these will be sufficient, but airflow and moisture wicking are lacking, the legs provide no compression and the chamois may get sweat logged and cause skin irritation on longer and warmer rides.
On the other hand, the Pearl Izumi Interval Cargo Bib Shorts were an instant favorite because of the mesh pockets, but it was the rest of the details that earned these bibs a spot on my Tahoe Rim Train bikepacking trip.
Pearl Izumi Attack Bib Shorts ($100, rei.com)
These shorts are made of durable recycled nylon and feel great against the skin, but don’t breath as well as some lighter weight fabrics. The felt-like chamois is stitched on and lacks any center channel to relieve pressure on your tender parts. We found that toward teh end of the ride we were shifting around in the saddle more than with other bib shorts and the pad retained moisture in the heat, causing some skin irritation.
Pearl Izumi Attack Jersey ($85, backcountry.com)
The Attack Jersey is a solid choice for a wallet friendly cycling top. It has a recreational fit, but looks good and feels light. The pockets are placed well but are a little small for a rain jersey or a self-supported century. This isn’t going to be the jersey you search for in the closet, but it checks all the boxes for a year-round base layer jersey. Paired with a rain shell and arm warmers, this is a solid choice for shoulder season riding.
Comparing the Attack Cycling kit to higher price point kits is not entirely fair. For less than half the price of the premium and mid-range cycling kits, Pearl Izumi provides a durable kit that is practical for midweek training, commuting, and Zwift rides.
Pearl Izumi Interval Cargo Bib Shorts ($165, rei.com)
The plush Elite Escape Chamois is one such example of how Pearl Izumi did everything right in designing these bib shorts. The contours prevent saddle fatigue, while still allowing air flow to keep you dry. Outside the chamois, the nylon touching the saddle is remarkably tacky, keeping your butt in place over long rides. I found that even on full days of riding over gravel roads I was able to sit comfortably still while my friends were fidgeting and complaining of sore sit bones.
The pockets are incredibly useful, and are large enough to hold a couple of bars or an iPhone XL. Two additional pockets on the back of the suspenders allow you to ditch the jersey all together on days when you’d prefer to wear a tee shirt.
The bibs fit just as expected, with the suspenders feeling loose but secure, and with just the right amount of compression on my legs. These bibs will be in heavy rotation, so I’m also grateful that they have held up to washing, even when I accidentally left the dryer heat on high (I don’t recommend trying this). There are plenty of other cargo bibs coming out, but pockets aside, Pearl Izumi’s Interval Cago Bibs are a compelling choice.