Colorado-based Pactimo's already established a pedigree over the years, supporting big names in the sport like Katie Compton and more recently, Danny Summerhill.
Pactimo sent a pair of Pactimo Summit Raptor Pro RFLX bib shorts for us to try. While the company has an extended line of skinsuit models for cyclocross, including a customizable program for local teams and clubs, some riders prefer the benefits offered by a multi-piece kit to skinsuits. After all, bibs are usually not as expensive to replace if they are too worn, and longer rides such as road or gravel races make pocket-less skinsuits a prohibitive piece of attire.
After wearing the bibs in all different kinds of conditions, I sat down with Josh Cook, Pactimo's Retail Brand Manager, and got into some of the finer details of the Summit Raptor Pro bibs.
Pactimo's Summit Raptor Pro RFLX Bib Short. © Pactimo
Even looking at the pictures, the reader might notice that there is a lot of material present in the Pactimo Summit Raptor Pro RFLX bib shorts compared to the traditional mesh-straps and low-cut bibs. Even upon closer examination of the bibs, nothing about the material looks traditional, with scales lining the entire external fabric instead of a uniform cloth.
Cook calls the material "flash coldblack" technology, which is designed to deflect heat in the form of UV rays, while the inner liner is able to remove perspiration. Don't confuse this terminology with a bib that's only designed for hot weather conditions. I've already tried the bib shorts in the early mornings where leg warmers are required. Not only are the Summit Raptor Pro bibs able to provide adequate warmth, but there was noticeably less sweat build-up, and the lack of cooling perspiration was even better for staying comfortably warm.
As for the scaly look of the bibs, that isn't the material itself, according to Cook, but the weave of the fabric, which makes it strong and resilient.
Pactimo's Summit Raptor Pro RFLX Bib Short. © A.Reimann / Cyclocross Magazine
I can attest to the resiliency of the bibs. During my stay in Utah's Park City, there were a few moments where I was a little overzealous in my cornering, including once where I was thrown off my mountain bike. Despite my hips and rear end getting the brunt of the fall, the only damage that was done was to a cheaper jersey I was wearing at the time.
I've taken a few slower-speed falls practicing cyclocross in the same bibs. While I was impressed that the Summit Raptor Pro RFLX bib shorts didn't tear after my falls, I am ecstatic that the bibs still look brand new after over two months of heavy-duty testing.
When I first put the bibs on, I had a slight beef with how tight they felt compared to many other bib shorts I have tested, and the sheer length of the legs. However, not only did I adjust to some of these quirks, but I discovered their advantage. Josh Cook was quick to point out that the compression feel of the bibs is not designed to mimic the benefits of compression equipment. "The goals is rather to have the bibs be nice and secure in place," he told me. "This limits the movement of the material and the bib, reducing side-to-side motions and bunching which can be one of the big culprits of saddle sores."
As for the length of the bib shorts' legs, which measure in at a 10.5'' inseam, I've come to appreciate the length. While a standard size of Pactimo Summit Raptor bib shorts are available, for lanky figures such as myself, the bibs look proportionately correct.
There are also a few additional updates Pactimo made for the 2015 model. The first is modifications to the Cytech Endurance Anatomic 2 Carbon Flash they use in their bibs. This year, the chamois has an additional crease down the middle of the chamois, which Cook told me is actually designed for additional comfort for those out of the saddle surges. The edges were also softened in 2015 for further reduction of potential chaffing.
Travis Rabbit, an ECCC coordinator who has no association with Pactimo, got to test a pair of the women's Summit Raptor bibs at the same time as myself, and had this to report on the Cytech-equipped bibs: "The chamois is firm but doesn’t interfere with saddle contact, and does not bunch, crumple or lose effectiveness when soaked in sweat. It virtually disappears into the ride. Shifting back to descend technical dirt, I never once hooked the butt of the bibs: They fit and move that well. In a thunderstorm, my shoes went 'squish, slosh,' but it wasn’t until miles later that I realized I hadn’t yet thought once about a soggy chammy, because it was effectively wicking and hadn't squished once (the only remaining pleasant thing about my half-drowned self)."
Lastly, the 2015 Pactimo Summit Raptor Pro RFLX, just as it newest name alludes to, comes with a RFLX leg bands designed to reflect car light in darker settings for safety on the late-evening training rides. While we've tested the reflectivity in indoor settings to good results, we expect to see these areas really brighten up once the cars are out and the sun sets earlier in the day.
Although $175 could be on the high-end of many clothing budgets out there, the Pactimo Summit Raptor Pro RFLX are already proving to be a bib short with durable staying power, and offer a solution to riding long hours on a gravel road, storming down a mountain bike trail or on the cyclocross course.
Use the scroller below for more details and pictures of the bib shorts. More info: www.pactimo.com