PEARL IZUMI FALL COLLECTION REVIEW
SUMMIT HOODED THERMAL JERSEY & LAUNCH PANTS
Words by Alex Sardella | Photos by Colby Mesick
With Fall now in full swing across North America, having dependable riding gear to keep you dry and warm is essential to extending your season. For many, this is the pinnacle of bike season, so worthy apparel to brace for cooler temps is necessary to chasing tacky dirt. Pearl Izumi has recently launched their range of fall/winter riding gear to do just that, which they are calling ‘Ride 365’. Being based in Louisville, CO – Pearl Izumi is accustomed to a short summer window, so making functional year-round kits is important to pedaling throughout all four seasons. We received some items from the new collection and have been testing in chilly and wet weather throughout the west coast.
Upon receiving both of the items, I was impressed with the sleek and minimal packaging. Both items came in recycled ‘poly bags’ with tags promoting the eco fabrics and shipping methods. For 2022, 90% of Pearl Izumi products will be made from sustainable materials.
The Summit Hooded Thermal Jersey is designed to be a 2-in-1 style jacket, offering outer-layer warmth on chilly days, or mid-layer insulation on the wintery afternoons. The recycled fabric is a blend of 89% polyester and 11% elastane (spandex) which has a pleasant four way stretch. The interior is lined with a lightweight fleece and breathes fairly well. The jacket features only one pocket, an exterior chest pocket with a traditional sized zipper about the size of a cell phone. If you find yourself heating up on a sustained climb, the jacket has a unique two-way zipper that helps let out body heat on long uphill climbs. It’s worth noting that the Jersey has no waterproofing technologies and is strictly for warmth and layering. The Summit Thermal Jersey comes in two colors: vintage denim and dark olive, sizes S-XL, and runs $125.00
Cooler temps not only call for functional upper body layering, but also a pant that breathes and climbs well. Durable and functional pants are essential this time of year for riding and digging. The Launch Pants are made with a mix of 68% Cordura, 21% polyester, and 11% elastane – providing a four way stretch material that is both comfortable and cozy. Pearl Izumi uses their patented PI Dry water shedding technology to make these pants a high-performance option for rainy day riding. The PI Dry fabric completely sheds water, is guaranteed to last the life of the garment, and will sustain over 100 washes – bold claims from Pearl Izumi! The pants have two slim, fleece lined, side of leg pockets which are positioned closer to the back of the thighs and put the items inside at a natural position when on the bike. Additionally, the pants have an elastic, narrow cuff around the ankle, assuring the bike chain and paint will never rub against each other.
Pants come in one color, sizes 28”-38” in 2 inch increments and have adjustable Velcro waist adjustments in case you are in between sizes. All said and done, the pants come in at $150.00.
A functional, multipurpose mid-layer is a tough find, a piece that can keep warm enough on Fall days without overheating on a 30 minute+ climb requires a technical material. The Summit Thermal Jersey does a sufficient job at providing a blend of warmth and breathability with its mix of polyester and spandex. The two-way zipper is an interesting way to let out body heat, but personally I would prefer long arm pit zippers – a feature most technical jackets have that are marketed toward physical activities.
Finding gear that fits my slender 6’3 frame is hard to come by, especially when wearing size XL. For those who are built like me, the overall fit of the hoodie was a bit wide, with extra slack around the waist, and the arm sleeves were a tad short. For this fix, a waist adjustment would be nice, and I think the price point should warrant it. I find this piece to be a nice go-to for post ride hangs; those days where you and your buddies are still hanging outside enjoying the last bits of daylight and chatting about the good times just had.
A quality, stylish bike pant that can be worn riding, digging or around town is a rare commodity. The Launch is just that pant. They are comfy, sleek, functional, and offer lowkey branding matched with a subtle grey color. The minimal number of pockets is something I prefer; however, some may find themselves looking for more than only two zippered pocket options, but usually all I need is a pocket for my phone, and one for a snack. Another key piece of a functional MTB Pant is ankle cleavage – the length of these pants is right in line with my ankle bone and don’t budge when pedaling. Although if you are a size 32” and around 5’8”, these pants may run a bit long on you. The snug elastic cuff by the ankle is a nice touch to the all-around slender fit of the Launch Pants. I’ve noticed the pants can put up a bit of a fight when pulling them off – a bit like yanking off a wet suit around your ankles. With that, I have noticed a thread or two pop around the elastic due to fighting these off my ankle.
Truthfully, these pants are ideal for 40-60°F weather. I have worn these a bunch, but a true test was recently in Santa Cruz which offered mild temps and a fair dose of humidity. With a ride that finished with around 4,000ft of vertical, these pants breathed incredibly well and there was no fuss or movement around the waist or the bottom of the pant riding up. While the fabric is by no means Gore-Tex, it definitely does an impressive job of repelling water and keeping you dry. The price point is well justified with the materials, waterproof, and overall finish of the pants.
The Wolf’s Last Word
As of late, Pearl Izumi is making some dialed, stylish apparel for both cyclists and mountain bikers. Both the Summit Jersey and Launch Pant meet the look, style, and color options we like, and finding options that riders like other than Black is harder than it sounds. The prices come in at slightly above average but the quality of both pieces can warrant the dollars, however we would like to see some adjustability in the the top and an additional pant pocket would be nice. At the end of the day, we would recommend the Thermal Hooded Jersey as a prime item getting to and from the trail head, whereas the Launch Pant is my new go-to pant for riding, digging, and anything in between.
Men’s Summit Thermal Hooded Jersey – $125.00
Men’s Launch Trail Pant – $150.00
Disclosure: Our team selects all of the products we review and do so with honesty and objectivity in mind. Some of the products we receive come directly from Competitive Cyclist, who also value our readers and have offered them a 15% discount (exclusions apply) on their first purchase by using LOAMWOLF15. Through this program we may also receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support, TLW.