Monday, October 19, 2009

Product Review: Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Softshell Cycling Bib Tight

I ordered some winter riding tights in an effort to spend less time on the rollers this winter. I have a good deal of winter riding clothes but have always struggled with tights and keeping my nether region warm and out of the wind. A combination of wind proof underwear, pants, tights, etc. has been effective but not comfortable on the bike.

Product: Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Softshell Cycling Bib Tight
MSRP: $240

This past weekend I got to test out the new tights, it was 34 degrees with a few flurries, so I felt this was a good chance to see if I could be warm and comfortable without freezing if the gear did not deliver.

The Good: I have always been a fan of Pearl Izumi cold weather gear, they seem to know what works and can be comfortable.
After getting these on and adjusted just right, I headed out the door for a good two hour ride. Right off the bat I got to test the windstopper characteristics, as our home is on the top of a hill. I was really impressed.
As the ride went along I really didn't notice these tights other than the fact that when I was climbing hard, my legs got really warm, but descending and in the wind I was really comfortable.
I liked the chamois and had no discomfort in that area.

The Bad: These tights are not the easiest to fit. Pearl Izumi sizing is a moving target and I have yet to find consistency to the fit between their running, cycling and other gear. The large tights fit ok in the thighs and butt, but were way too big from the knee down. I opted for the medium size and felt that while the thighs and butt were tight, they were still comfortable.
There was still a lot of room from the knees down (and I don't have small calves) where the fabric bunched and pinched a few times.
These are not cheap, so I would think you could get a better fit for the money.

The Consensus: Warm, dry, comfortable and expensive. If you are a die-hard rider and have some money to burn, these are a good purchase, but if you can do without really cold rides, a good set of thermal/windstopper underwear and some good leg warmers will keep you outside until your water bottles freeze and then it's time to invest in a trainer.
Almost too warm for yesterday's ride means I am in business for some good outside cold weather rides this fall, winter and spring, now to keep my nose from freezing...

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