Summit County Gear Review: Fall cycling comfort for the non-pro
With the temperatures starting to fall, we’re taking a look at a couple of items from Pearl Izumi to keep you warm and extend your riding season just a little longer. All of the gear we’re looking at this week comes in men’s and women’s cuts.
Thermal Print Jersey
The design of the Women’s Superstar Thermal Print Jersey is longer in the back, so you don’t get a drafty gap when you’re leaning over the handlebars, and the semi-form-fit silhouette hugs your body enough to hold in heat but not so much that it clings and rides up as you’re moving around. I dumped a cellphone, house keys and a handful of cash in the lumbar zipper pocket and was still able to ride comfortably.
The interior Transfer Fleece material is cozy and promotes moisture transfer, and the outer layer provides some level of wind protection, though a shell would be recommended for windy or rainy days. The sleeves are plenty long so they don’t hike up when you stretch your arms out, and the half-zip in the front is nice for ventilation when you start to get sweaty.
The reflective elements on this one are a bit of a joke, as they are limited to a small logo on the back left hip, another on the left shoulder and a design on the left sleeve. The jersey comes in black or dark purple, so I wouldn’t recommend it for night riding.
Overall, at $75 the Superstar jersey isn’t anything all that special aside from the cycling-friendly cut, but it’s a decent midlayer for cool fall days and nights.
Men’s Transfer LS Base top
While Pearl Izumi is generally associated with biking and running, the company’s Transfer LS Base top for men provides a versatility that also makes it a solid option to transition to winter sports after fall riding is done.
What’s unique about the Transfer top is the windproof fabric in the chest area. This feature really adds to its warmth when you’re out charging a trail in cooler temperatures. It does an excellent job of keeping wind from penetrating where you want it least.
But even with the windproof chest fabric, it still maintains a high level of breathability and performed well with moisture transfer. It’s lightweight and nonrestrictive and easy to stash in a small pack if the temperature starts to rise. The tuckable-length drop-tail back is a nice touch to keep the top from riding up. Either on its own or as a base layer, the Transfer top is a solid choice to keep you warm when temperatures start to fall.
The top retails around $60.
Thermal Cycling Tight
Wearing padded cycling shorts or pants is pretty much necessary for me if I want to bike comfortably for two reasons: 1) a long, rocky swim kayaking a few years ago left me with a tailbone that never fully healed, and 2) I don’t bike often enough for my butt to become accustomed to long hours in the saddle like more serious cyclists.
In order to totally embrace the padded wonder that is these cycling tights, you must first get past the fact that walking around in them feels like wearing a giant maxi pad. The Pearl Izumi women’s Sugar Thermal Cycling Tight is equipped with the Tour 3D Chamois, which is rated for enthusiast to intermediate cyclists who bike one to five times a week. In other words, me. The shape of the padding combats the pressure points created by the average saddle, meaning I had a much more pleasant ride, one that didn’t leave me unable to sit down the next day.
I put the Pearl Izumi women’s Sugar Thermal Cycling Tight to the test on a fall evening jaunt around Breckenridge when the temperature fell within the suggested comfort zone rating for this product, between about 55 and 65 degrees. The anatomical design and slight stretch of the fabric gave me plenty of flex, and the moisture-wicking properties of both the tight and the chamois were helpful when I worked up a sweat tackling a few hills.
The $100 price tag might seem a little steep if you bike only occasionally, but Pearl Izumi’s reputation for quality makes it worthwhile — and your rear end will thank you.
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