Not all pants can excel at bike commuting and be stylish at the same time. Pearl Izumi’s new Versa Pants do aim to be versatile enough for commuting, casual riding and office style alike and they do a darn fine job at it — so long as you don’t have leg stubble (more on that below).

Pearl Izumi Versa Pants Features:

  • Stretch fabric with slim fit
  • Brushed lining
  • DWR treatment
  • Pockets galore with leg phone pocket
  • Reflective accents
  • MSRP: $124.95
Pearl Izumi Versa Pant Review

The Versa Pant in Kelp.

Slim, stretchy and bike-friendly

Pearl Izumi’s new Versa collection consists of a handful of items that aim to deliver style and function on-and-off the bike. We’ll start with the Versa Pant, but others will follow. The Versa Pant is a slim-fit, stretchy affair that won’t get caught up in drivetrains.

Versa Transfer fabric features a brushed backing that delivers next-to-skin comfort in spades. But (as mentioned above), it grabs leg stubble like Velcro. As such, I can only really wear these right after shaving my legs or about a week after due to the grabby nature of the lining. If you don’t shave your legs, you’ll have zero issues, but if you do, be forewarned.

Pearl Izumi Versa Pant Review

Roll up the cuffs for a subtle reflective element. And, rubberized waist elements.

The outer fabric is durable and features a DWR treatment to keep water at bay. There are a variety of pockets here with a phone-friendly leg pocket. The only problem with it is it can’t decide whether to go forward towards the thigh or backward towards the back of the leg. I’d suggest Pearl Izumi stitch it one way or the other so it works more seamlessly.

With ample stretch, pedaling a bike is natural. I’d peg these as urban commuters, but Pearl Izumi is showing people riding around on gravel bikes and such. Yes, they are breathable and yes, they are comfortable, but if I’m going to really ride my bike, it won’t be in these. Commuting, for sure, or riding around with the kids too, but actual, hard-core riding will require something more appropriate.

Pearl Izumi Versa Pant Review

One zippered and one open pocket with another reflective element.

One more thing that I’ve noticed… the zippered fly is really short. I can’t really open the fly far enough for comfortable relief as it takes a zip and a stretch to use the bathroom.

On the positive side, I love these pants for office and around-town duty. And, my wife quite likes the way they fit (don’t we all like the ladies to notice a nice-fitting pair of pants?).

The front hand pockets are comfortable and the reflective elements on the hip and leg cuffs add to the versatility when urban bike commuting.

The Good

  • Excellent, stretchy exterior fabric
  • DWR to keep the elements at bay
  • Brushed lining adds warmth and breathability
  • Good, slim fit for riding
  • You can dress these up with a nice shirt and tie
  • Sizing is spot-on
  • Rubberized waistband keeps shirts in place
  • Stay wrinkle-free — always

The Bad

  • Leg stubble turns lining into Velcro
  • Phone pocket can’t decide which way to go
  • Zipper length is really short

The Bottom Line: Pearl Izumi Versa Pants

My criticism here is pointed, but it’s only because I like these pants so much. The Versa Pants really are great for bike commuting when, upon arrival, you need to look dressed up. The fabric is stretchy and comfortable with the ability to keep the elements at bay should you encounter a rain shower on the bike path. Leg shavers may struggle with stubble catching on the brushed lining, but if you let your hair grow wild, you’ll never know the wiser. In the end, these are quite versatle and I’ve found myself wearing them a lot.

Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 –sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah’s Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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