Pearl Izumi Summit AmFib Lite Pant

Pearl Izumi Summit AmFib Lite Pant

Words by Drew Rohde

Several months ago we received a pair of Pearl Izumi Summit AmFib Lite Pants just as the winter months started to approach. Winter is one of our favorite times of year to ride. The fog in the forests, the wet dirt and rainy days can be equally epic as they are miserable if you don’t have the right gear. Let’s get into the details on these cold weather pants.

The Lab

When I first opened up the package from Pearl Izumi I was excited to see the pants, although I wasn’t really expecting them to hold up to aggressive mountain biking in the woods. I’ve typically viewed Pearl as more of a lycra brand making roadie stuff and XC tights so I was surprised at how much I liked the looks of the pants, but thought they felt a bit too thin to hold up. I was happy to be proved wrong.

The AmFib Lite pants are a technically impressive piece of kit and blend a lighter weight material with the warmth and weather protection of Pearl’s heavier duty AmFib pants. A softshell fabric is used to protect the rider from wind and water penetration while the thermal fleece interior offers extreme comfort and warmth.

Pearl Izumi Summit AmFib Lite Pant

Pearl treated the 100% polyester front panels with a DWR finish to help keep water off the rider’s skin. The back of the pants are made of a 56% nylon / 30% polyester / 14% lycra PI Dry combo. Initial impressions were that the pants felt thin and that the material would be succeptible to rips/tears from sharp branches or pedals. I’m happy to report that even after numerous off line excursions through dense Juniper and plenty of flat pedal contact, the pants are still 100% in tact.

In terms of fit and adjustment, Pearl Izumi designed the paints with a snap front waist closure system with a zip fly and external wait adjusters. The fit is a very tailored and slim fit however the pants have a nice stretch to them allowing them to be comfortable over kneepads and even during long days digging in the woods.

Pearl Izumi Summit AmFib Lite Pant

The Dirt

Pearl claims these pants are ideal for 30-50 degree temperatures, and we spent plenty of time riding them in just that range. Immediately noticeable are the comfort and fit. The pants feel great against the skin thanks to the fleece material. They don’t have a rigid or hard feel like some DH-style pants, which also makes them quiet as well as comfortable.

During our test period I was able to ride the pants in rainstorms, snow and through wet, thick brush that felt like a botanical barrage. I stayed dry in each condition and still can’t believe the pants don’t have any snags, tears or holes. There were plenty of times I’d be hiking back up the hill and smack my kneepads into the pedals or the dreaded calf shot from blood thirsty pedals. Each time I was convinced that was the one to pierce the pants I’d look down, almost waiting for that “Aha!” moment, only to be disappointed.

So, are the pants perfect? No. One major oversight is the lack of vents. It wasn’t something that we totally noticed as such a big problem until we got the Alpinestars All Mountan 2 pants we reviewed a few weeks back. The Pearl Izumi Summit pants are undoubtedly warm and comfortable, but that warmth becomes uncomfortable, especially in the groin/inner thigh region on long climbs where internal temps rise. Even when the temps are in the upper 30’s, big climbs had us wishing for some air flow.

Pearl Izumi Summit AmFib Lite Pant

The Wolf’s Last Word

We love these pants, but they have become second in line due to the lack of vents, unless we’re just heading out for winter shuttles laps. In our opinion the lack of zippered ventilation is an oversight and after riding in other brand’s equally warm pants that have vents, it sets the Summit AmFibs back. That being said, if you don’t run hot, don’t expect to do lots of climbing in the colder months and want understated, blacked out riding pants that are insanely comfortable and durable, we highly recommend these pants. Pearl Izumi has definitely changed my opinion in terms of what the brand is capable of with their Summit AmFib Light pants.

Price: $150;

We Dig

They’re Black
Super Warm
Fleece Interior

We Don’t

Lack of Vents


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