Having a good winter jersey is an essential if you want to ride through all four seasons, and the Pearl Izumi Elite Escape Thermal Jersey is a warm, low bulk piece with simple but classic styling.
The jersey is intended for cold and dry weather, and the thermal properties are good - though I did find myself using a gilet over the top in truly cold conditions due to the lack of windproofing. Where it can’t be faulted, however, is comfort - as well as providing insulation, the brushed interior fleece feels luxurious against the skin.
- Price: £99.99
- Sizes: S-XXL
- Size tested: M
- Colours: Blue; orange; black/yellow
- Website: Pearl Izumi
- UK distributor: Madison
With block colours and classic styling, it may look a simple piece of kit but it has all the essential features - five good-sized pockets (though none are zippered, which is a shame); small reflective touches on the sides and arms; and a dropped rear hem with a silicone gripper to keep things in place.
Having additional pockets came in handy on longer rides, and helps to compartmentalise your kit a little easier, as well as spreading weight better. I particularly liked the elasticated edges on the secondary layer of pockets, as they were a little easier to access than the main pockets. The hem could perhaps have been a little more elasticated, however, or not as wide, so as to avoid the slightly ‘square’ fit.
The jersey has a full-length zipper, in a neon green to add a dash of colour and perhaps visibility. It’s a good solid zip, with a handy toggle to undo with cold hands or when riding.
As mentioned, the jersey is intended for cold and dry whether so when out riding in wet conditions it will quickly struggle. That's to be expected, given the lack of water resistance, but it does limit this to dry days or for layering. On the flip side, breathability is good, as there's no waterproof or windproof membrane to stop moisture transfer.
For the purpose it’s designed for - keeping you warm in cold and dry weather - it's hard to find any real fault in the Pearl Izumi Elite Escape Thermal Jersey, other than the slightly square fit. Sometimes windproofing just isn't necessary, whether the temperature is mild enough to go without or you want a breathable mid-layer, and if that's the case, the Pearl Izumi Elite Escape Thermal Jersey ticks most boxes.
- Warm and breathable
- Comfortable feel, with brushed fleece interior
- Fit is a little ’square’
- No zipped pocket