After a hot summer, the sun is taking a break, dropping in the horizon. Roasting temps make way for the crisp bite of autumn air and suddenly, thin bike shorts and porous jerseys just don’t cut it anymore. It’s too chilly to let our body warmth get too far away from us. It’s the perfect time to make a switch to long-sleeve garments, to keep that warmth close to our skin and buffer ourselves from the cool air. Pearl Izumi has a few new options this fall, all made to help riders keep the wheels spinning when the leaves start falling.
Rove insulated shirt
The Rove insulated shirt is a thick, sturdy feeling long sleeve “shirt.” The design of the Rove insulated shirt models a flannel, but it feels reinforced. The flannel fabric is made from recycled polyester and the shoulders are pleated for improved mobility.
Pearl Izumi says that the buttons are made from recycled plastic bottles, which is pretty cool. There are also a few hi-vis details around the shirt. The shoulders do feel pretty mobile, but the shirt is stiffer in the elbows. It is very warm, but feels most suited to commuting. It wouldn’t be my first choice for mountain biking, but I would leave it in the car to throw on right after a ride.
MSRP: $140, available at Amazon.
Summit insulated shirt
The Summit insulated shirt is another warm option from Pearl Izumi that fits and feels more like a hoodie — and it is a hoodie. The Summit has snaps up and down the front for buttoning it closed. Pearl Izumi added 60g of Polartec Alpha Direct on the chest to keep warm air near the body, and to allow moisture transfer. The elbows are made to stretch and flex with Cordura patches.
The Summit in a medium fits me well and doesn’t feel too baggy. I wore it for a day of park riding and with temperatures in the mid-40s at roughly 20mph of descending speed, the Summit was a perfect match. It didn’t feel cumbersome or interfere with my movement and wasn’t steamy inside. The zippered chest pocket was perfect for throwing my credit card and ID in, and it looks perfectly normal at the pub afterward.
MSRP: $165, available at Moosejaw.
The Pearl Izumi Trail Hoody is an even lighter option than both of the above. The Trail Hoody has an anti-stink treatment, reducing the “need to launder,” and it has a fleece interior. Overall, it’s a pretty dead simple hoody, very comfortable, and it’s light and flexible enough to ride with, but still a good enough layer to keep warm.
MSRP: $100, available at Amazon.
Launch Trail pants
The Launch Trail pants are new this year and are quite useful for cooler riding. They are made with a 4-way stretch Cordura, blending durability with flexibility. The pants also have a tapered leg and a water-shedding treatment. Pearl Izumi notes that these pants are comfortable “into the 70s.”
I would agree, up until about 75° at most. The pants can get a little balmy inside at these temperatures, and I wish they incorporated a zippered vent to cool off. I would wear them well past the 70s if I could get some air circulating inside.
The Launch pants are still a great option for fall riding though. The tapered leg works fine for clearing drivetrains, the zippered pockets along the side are roomy, and the adjustable waist on the exterior is stellar for dialing in the fit. There is also plenty of room around the knee to clear a set of pads.
AmFIB Lite glove
The AmFIB Lite gloves are made to add warmth to your digits while not reducing any handlebar feel. Pearl Izumi uses 60g Primaloft Gold insulation on the back of the hand for warmth and an Ax Suede Laredo synthetic leather palm, which Pearl Izumi claims is durable and grippy. The index finger and thumbs are made to use with a touch screen phone.
As marketed, the AmFIB Lites are a great choice for the trails when it gets cool and you don’t want to don a bulky pair of gloves. These work well for me up until it warms to about 50°F when they start to get a little too warm. The leather also doesn’t handle a lot of moisture well, so look for something heavier for a wet winter glove.
They are a pretty light and flexible option, but I felt like I was losing some friction on the palm and in the liner inside. On really bumpy trails, I needed to squeeze the grips a little harder, but these gloves will still be welcomed on more moderate trail and gravel rides on warm days this winter.
Thanks to Pearl Izumi for sending this gear over for testing.