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I have typically been a big fan of PI products but I have noticed over time the colors fade. I have around 4 Pearl Izumi Men's Elite Inrcool Bib Shorts. I bought because of fit, comfort, and great price. Almost all of them are no longer the dark black they once were. They have turned into a medium brown almost brown black faded combo. Some of these bibs are older then others but none are really that old. I even have a PI jersey that is no longer black.

My question, what is a reasonable expectation for life span of bibs and jerseys? How often are people replacing apparel? I wash as per the instructions in case someone is wondering.

Thanks
 

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All depends on the brand and materials, it varies widely as you're finding out the hard way. I have bib shorts that have well over 10,000 miles in them and from the outside they look practically brand new. No way really to tell they're even a couple months old. Inside the chamois material is faded heavily and surface material is worn. The markings of size and everything are all worn off but structurally they're still spot on. Straps are still tight and not stretched at all, same with the grippers on the legs. Fabric isn't stretched, abraded or faded either. But then again I'm talking about bibs that retail for like $300 and hold a host of patents.

I have a pair of De Marchi shorts that are just the typical lycra. I can see easily how people that wear that stuff have their butt crack showing after a season or two. Traditional lycra/spandex isn't really a good material for us, it doesn't wear well.

Whatever your shorts are made out of clearly don't agree with whatever detergent you use or the sun maybe but probably the detergent. Does your detergent have dies and perfumes? Do you use something like Tide or Gain? Those are horrible for athletic apparel. If you do, I'd strongly suggest switching to one that's more gentle like the ECOS stuff from Sams Club. Or maybe you machine dry them and the heat is destroying the fabric? That happens with lycra too.
 

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If you're like me, you're typically riding for a few hours in mid-day sun, and direct sunlight will fade any fabric. My PI jerseys all seem to fade in about a season, though not badly so. Assuming you're not doing something crazy like washing with added bleach, I don't think switching detergent will help. I wash with regular Tide in cool/cold cycle.

The black bibs fading to brown is bit odd -- haven't had that happen to me, though I don't wear PI bibs/shorts. If you bought all the PI bibs at around the same time, perhaps you just got a batch with a poor dye job. You could try contacting PI and see what they say.
 

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Only pair of PI bib shorts I have turned brown after a wreck and then a wash. But they don't owe me anything, they're 5 years old as it is.
 

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I steal the Woolite for Dark Colors that my wife has on the shelf and only wash my bike gear in the load. I use it sparingly, too. I have a lot of technical biking gear for mtb and now road kit and it's holding up quite well. Quite a bit of it is PI stuff because I have such good luck and it fits and holds up well for me. We buy the Woolite at Costco in a large, maybe 1 gallon size, container.

Woolite® Darks | Dark Care Laundry Detergent
 

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I have 4 pairs of the PI In-R-Cool shorts. They are about 3 to 5 years old. They have not turned black on me. I suspect it could be the type of detergent which you are using.
 
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