Review: 2019 Pearl iZUMi MTB Apparel is Stylish yet Subtle

We check out Pearl iZUMi's 2019 mountain bike line up, including rain jackets, bib liners, shorts, and jerseys.

Pearl iZUMi has been making big moves lately. Earlier this year they announced that they weren’t using hang tags anymore and reduced overall packaging waste. They’re also making an effort to incorporate more eco-friendly materials in the apparel, promote repair of products instead of disposal, and reduce dependance on fossil fuels.

We took a look at the brand’s headquarters in Louisville, Colorado and the development process for apparel shortly after the announcement. Pearl iZUMi’s building is filled with eco-friendly functions and was built with the environment in mind.

With a new Social Purpose statement in place, Pearl iZUMi is putting their values in plain sight. Environmentalism, inclusivity, and riding experience are important to them and it reflects in the clothing. None of the spring pieces below are flashy or attention-grabbing, and most of them use some sort of environmentally-friendly material, whether it’s the fabric or the finish.

Summit shell jacket

Photo: Hannah Morvay.
  • Barrier lite fabric
  • Eco-friendly water resistant treatment
  • Hood designed for under helmet wear
  • Interior pocket
  • Packs small
  • Recommended temp range: 45-60F
  • $100 (available from multiple retailers)

The Summit shell jacket has quickly become a favorite out of this Pearl iZUMi gear, especially this time of year, when it’s in the 40s and 50s, and I’m unsure whether to just wear a jersey or take something that will keep me a little warmer.

Given the amount that the jacket packs down, it’s the perfect item to carry when it might be chilly one moment, or sunny the next. It’s very lightweight, so the jacket never gets that sweat box feeling that some jackets do. It’s water resistant, but it’s best to grab something a little thicker if the weather looks like it will really pour.

When the jacket is packed down, it’s about the size of my fist. It’s easy to fit in something as small as a fanny pack on rides.

The hood fits nicely under a helmet. Photo: Hannah Morvay.

BLVD Merino T

Photo: Hannah Morvay.
  • 42% Merino wool, 58% recycled polyester
  • Anti-microbial
  • Slight drop tail
  • Reflective sleeve
  • $80 (available from Moosejaw)

The BLVD Merino T is made from a mix of Merino wool and polyester. It fits like a T-shirt, and has a strong, solid color look. It’s got a bit of a drop tail for more rear coverage and a few reflector strips on the sleeves for safety.

A drop tail with a reflector. Photo: Hannah Morvay.

Due to its wool blend, it’s not as comfortable as the Performance T and has that slightly itchy wool feel. It’s still very wearable and doesn’t stink up, even after back-to-back rides.

Photo: Hannah Morvay.
  • Transfer dry fabric
  • Subtle reflectors
  • 100% polyester
  • $50 (shop online)

The Performance T is a subtle and stylish trail riding jersey. It receives great marks from me in aesthetics, color, fit, and comfort. Like the BLVD Merino T, the styling is subtle, and a nice change of pace from the norm in bike jerseys with big logos and graphics.

The back of the jersey is a darker blue. Shown on top of the Cargo Bib Liner. Photo: Hannah Morvay.

The Performance T includes small reflectors, looks great, and is an affordable option for a great bike jersey. It’s both soft and comfortable. –>

Short sleeve button-up

The button-up looks great on or off the bike. Photo: Hannah Morvay.
  • Woven transfer fabric
  • 68% cotton, 32% polyester
  • Button up ventilation
  • Subtle reflective accents
  • $85 (available online)

Trail button-up jerseys are a new venture for me. So far, I’m a fan, and like the Boardwalk short, the button-up is great on and off the bike. The material drys really quickly and is comfortable to wear on rides. I’ve been wearing it off the bike just as much as on the trail.

Reflective stripes on the sleeves. Photo: Hannah Morvay.

Boardwalk short

Photo: Hannah Morvay.
  • Button front closure
  • Belt loops
  • Subtle reflective accents
  • $80 (shop online)

The Boardwalk short from Pearl iZUMi fits in with a trend I can get behind. They’re mountain bike shorts, but also casual, hangout shorts and don’t look out of place in either scenario.

Photo: Hannah Morvay.

Rather than velcro cinch straps on the waist, the shorts have belt loops, so it’s a little more important here to get the size right. At a size 32, they are a little loose on me, but not enough to warrant a belt on a ride. I doubt I would fit in the next size down, but with a little extra room, they’re still comfortable to ride in. I wore them on Porcupine Rim in Moab recently and then to the brewery afterward and was satisfied on both accounts.

Summit shell short

Photo: Hannah Morvay.
  • Four-way stretch fabric
  • Eco-friendly, water-resistant treatment
  • Seamless crotch panel
  • Angled to play better with knee pads
  • Zippered, angled pockets
  • 14″ inseam
  • $90

The Summit shell shorts have a light, slim feel which is great for trail riding. The zippered pockets open downward and the pockets themselves face rearward in the shorts, so that cargo is on the side of your legs, rather than up on your hip flexors. This puts your keys or phone out of the way for easier pedaling.

I enjoy this rearward pocket style more than I thought I would. The traditional pocket placement on shorts gets awkward for riding. Shorts can tighten and scrunch more than they should with stuff in them, and pushes objects into riders’ legs. So far, these shorts have been great for trail rides, fit well, and seem like they’ll hold up for a while.

Zippered, rearward pockets push gear out of the way. Photo: Hannah Morvay.

Cargo bib liner short

The bib liner easily fits a large bottle and has room in the other two pockets. Photo: Hannah Morvay.

Pearl iZUMi’s new cargo bib liner short has a 2-3mm margin of error for chamois placement. That’s how critical it is to have a chamois in the right place. It’s there to relieve pressure on contact points and increase comfort. So far, it’s held up great on long rides. The chamois is nice and thick and holds up to several hours in the saddle.

There are little stash pockets on both legs also. Photo: Hannah Morvay.

I’ve found that I prefer bib liner shorts over liner shorts with a chamois, especially for long rides. Shorts and chamois’ just seem to stay in place better with a bib. With the cargo pockets in back it opens up more space for snacks or a multitool or a bottle.

Check out our mountain bike shorts buyers guide and our picks for the best mountain bike shorts.