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One of the most important parts connecting rider and machine, a good chamois is integral to comfort on the bike. Despite this, most cyclists don’t give this piece of tech nearly as much thought as they should. Luckily, Pearl Izumi has been thinking about chamois tech for a long time, having introduced the first synthetic one back in the ‘80s and later the first multi-density 3D chamois. To make its top-end bibs even more comfortable, Pearl Izumi went back to the drawing board, coming up with the all-new Levitate chamois that builds on that legacy of innovation with some important new features.
Suspension is at the core of comfort on the bike. Whether it’s a full suspension downhill mountain bike or a road bike set up with tubeless tires, there are numerous ways to introduce suspension to your ride. But you probably never considered bib shorts—or more specifically, the chamois inside your bib shorts. The Levitate Chamois utilizes multi-density materials, something Pearl Izumi calls a Suspension Core, to help spread forces out over a larger area. An ultra-high density layer gets placed over a high density layer, taking pressure off of the sit bones and minimizing low frequency vibrations from the road.
The shape of the chamois has been updated as well, taking a cue from saddle design. A Dynamic Relief Channel, a cutout in the center of the chamois, allows the pressure relieving section of the chamois to maintain its shape as the rider’s body moves causing the chamois to flex. That means constant support throughout every ride.
Beyond suspension, the Levitate chamois introduces more comfort by reducing friction. The Suspension Core attaches to a Boundary Layer, a larger area of the chamois which wicks moisture while also moving with the body for enhanced comfort. To keep friction even lower, the Suspension Core is only attached to the Boundary Layer at the front and rear, allowing both layers to move independently. Pearl Izumi has also paid close attention to the transition between the chamois and bib, cutting away excess material and tapering the two together seamlessly.
The greatest compliment you can pay to a pair of bibs is that you don’t notice them on a ride, that they do such a good job at keeping you comfortable there’s never a reason to think about them. After testing the Levitate Chamois in the Expedition PRO Cargo bibs for the last month, we can say that it’s cleared this high bar. It provides padding in a way that doesn’t feel too cushioned, something that can somewhat counterintuitively make some bibs less comfortable. The fit is also spot on. The chamois locked perfectly into place and we never needed to make any mid-ride adjustments. This is a pair of bibs that will be reserved for long days going forward.
The Levitate chamois is now included in Pearl Izumi’s top-tier PRO level bibs and shorts. There are both men’s and women’s specific cuts available. More info: pearlizumi.com