The snow may be disappearing but don't be fooled, spring has not yet sprung. This is about the time each season that I am beckoned by the closed canyon roads. Free from snow and traffic, it's the perfect time if you have the right gear, to take advantage of your freedom to hop the gate. Pearl Izumi is happy to oblige your winter whims with a nice selection of stellar winter cycling gear. Check out a few of my favorite pieces anxiously waiting to join your bulging gear closet:
Elite Barrier WxB Jacket
- Waterproof, taped internal seams, waterproof front zipper with garage, internal flap to keep water out.
- Hook and loop adjustment at wrist
- Two chest pockets, one back pocket
- Reflective strips for low-light/ night visibility
- Retractable drop tail
- 2-layer stretch fabric with Titanium thermo-regulating technology
- Comes in 3 colors, Men's (SM-XXL) and Women's (SM-XL)
- Semi-form fit
Pearl Izumi never ceases to impress me with the amount of thought that goes into each piece of clothing they produce. Having spent time chatting with Brand Managers and Designers over the last few years, I can tell you that the functional design of the WxB Jacket was not by accident. The zipper and internal flap are designed to keep water out and I found them highly effective. Too many of my jackets skipped the zipper garage (the little piece of cloth at the top of the zipper) and I always end up unzipping a bit to prevent rubbing on my neck. The sleeve cuffs are adjustable and they even thought to make them asymmetrical to accommodate gloves. Pearl made sure to add these little details that keep you snug. Speaking of snug, the stretch fabric is incredibly comfortable. It moved with me as I rode and I was amazed to find, upon returning home, that I wasn't sweaty at all. I don't know how the technology works exactly, but I can tell you it does; the breathability is fantastic. I've been wearing the jacket for a few weeks now and ride after ride, it continues to perform as promised. Let me be clear; this jacket is a shell for layering. Pearl does have heavier, soft shell jackets (P.R.O. Softshell 3x1 Jacket; drool, drool) but I found this version incredibly versatile. Triathlon is not a cheap sport and I find myself looking for pieces that can work with cycling or running; this one fits the bill.
My favorite feature has to be the drop tail. While the body of the jacket still has the standard extra length in the back, the drop tail gives you the option of adding more length for bad weather. This feature came in especially handy when I took off for a ride and quickly realized how badly I underestimated the temperature. Unwilling to turn around and admit defeat, the extra heat just from the drop tail was just enough to convince me to complete my workout. Apparently, I put more emphasis on a warm tushy than I thought.
My final conclusion? This jacket is well worth the money; Pearl knows what it's doing. It's packable, breathable, comfortable in motion and warm.
Elite Softshell Glove
- Superior wind and water protection
- Gel padding
- Extended gauntlet to seal over or under jacket
- Anatomic fit maximizes finger dexterity for shifting and braking
- Synthetic leather palm is soft and durable
- Soft fleece wiping surface on thumb, reflective strips
- Primaloft insulation for optimal warmth without bulk
- Velcro closure, pull-tab on gauntlet for ease in pulling on glove
- Silicone screened finger tips
- Men's and women's sizing
Winter cycling gloves can be tricky, they are my nemesis. Either I get get them warm enough and they're so bulky I can't use my brakes or shift, or I get a nice thin glove and pause every 30 minutes or so to regain feeling. Pearl has done a good job with these gloves at keeping the bulk down while allowing enough insulation to keep your digits happy. These gloves are meant for some serious cold weather riding (assuming, you're not planning a ride up Mt. Rainier). I even tried them out snowshoeing because I liked the grippy finger tips so much. Finding a good mix of windbreaker, waterproof, warmth and dexterity is essential in choosing a winter cycling glove. This glove has all of these elements, thank heaven.
For more information about Pearl Izumi products go to: www.pearlizumi.com