Pearl Izumi winter clothing – review

We thought we may have missed the moment for our review of three items from Pearl Izumi’s autumn-winter range.

With temperatures back into single figures, however,  and gales lashing the windows of RCUK Towers, it’s likely most of us are still dressed for winter.

We took delivery of  the Japanese-American brand’s P.R.O Softshell 180 jacket, Transfer Long-Sleeve Zip Neck Base Layer, and Select Thermal Cyc bib-tight back in March. After two months of testing, we can offer an opinion on each.

For a detailed description of cut and fabrics, check out our ‘first look’ article. Here, we’ll focus on how they performed.

P.R.O Softshell 180 jacket

The zipped rear pocket of the Pearl Izumi P.R.O 180 Softshell jacket failed to win our admiration. The internal mitt did

The jacket offered a roomier fit than the size indicated by the label, so if this jacket floats your boat, we’d recommend a try before you buy policy, and perhaps considering a size smaller than your usual. Our test pilot, a long-time wearer of the brand’s clothing, reports that this discrepancy is not untypical of Pearl Izumi kit, in his experience.

The popper at the neck proved to be a useful asset,  preventing  the jacket from billowing when worn with the zip down for ventilation. Similarly useful were the internal mitts, stitched to the end of each sleeve, which offered a secure fit and slipped easily beneath winter gloves.

We can’t report the same satisfaction with the rear pocket, however, one described by our man in the jacket as “a disaster”. Rather than opt for the traditional three pocket configuration, Pearl have equipped the P.R.O Softshell 180 with a single rear pocket divided internally into two separate compartments, and sealed the whole offering with a zip, a device that rendered it near unusable on the move.

Pearl Izumi are not alone in this tendency – we experienced similar difficulties with Endura’s Equipe Thermo Windshield jacket.

The fabric, some of which is Pearl Izumi’s proprietary Minerale blend, performed well, offering warmth and breathability. We tested it in temperatures of single digits above the Transfer Long-Sleeve Zip Neck base layer (more of which below), and remained warm without overheating.

The Pearl Izumi P.R.O Softshell Jackets comes in five sizes, from S to XXL, and costs £129.99.

Transfer Long-Sleeve Zip Neck base layer

The Pearl Izumi Transfer Long-Sleeve Zip Neck base layer was snug, warm, and equipped with an easy to use zip

The best of the three garments on test here, according to our test pilot, the Transfer Long-Sleeve Zip Neck base layer combined a long tail with a high neck equipped with an easy to use zip. The former would make them an ideal match for waist tights (rather than bibs), we felt, while the latter contributed to the garment’s snug fit. So impressed was our test pilot, that this base layer has entered his off-the-bike wardrobe as an ideal underlayer for colder days.

The Pearl Izumi Transfer Long-Sleeve Zip Neck base layer comes in five sizes from S to XXL, in black or white and costs £44.99.

Select Thermal Cyc bib-tight

The Select Thermal Cyc bib-tight was as good as any of its entry-level rivals

As an entry-level garment, Pearl Izumi’s Select Thermal Cyc bib-tight we felt was a match for anybody’s.

As with the P.R.O softshell jacket, however, sizing was an issue. The medium size tested was larger than those from other brands in our test pilot’s wardrobe, a discrepancy he summarised as being “a size larger than they should have been”. On the bike, this manifested itself in unnecessary flapping of fabric, especially at the unusual ankle cuffs, long a the front, short at the back – a feature rarely seen elsewhere.

He didn’t consider the sizing issue a deal breaker, however, given the performance of the tight and the competitive price, merely something to be aware of when considering your purchase.

If you’re used to more expensive offerings, you might find, as our test pilot did, that the lycra lacks a compressive feel, but this he felt was another issue that might be resolved with a smaller size. The pad he considered a little on the thin side, compared to upscale offerings, but as good as anything offered by its rivals  at this price point.

The Pearl Izumi Select Thermal Cyc Bib Tight is available in black, and in four sizes, from S to XL. It costs £89.99.

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Website: Pearl Izumi

UK distributor: Madison


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