Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey
Grabbing gear for an early spring ride can be a daunting task. Morning rides still carry a winter chill (especially for those mountain rides) and afternoon rides can heat up quick when the sun gets high. Pearl Izumi made the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey for just these occasions – spring rides of variable conditions when you don’t know what’s just around the corner.
Initial thoughts on the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey
Right out of the packaging, the feel of the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey is soft to the touch with a tighter than average weave. Typical long sleeved jersey construction in the cycling industry has a somewhat satiny feel which is horrible at blocking wind and keeping you warm when temperatures plummet. They also catch a lot of wind when heading downhill. I didn’t have any such worries from the construction here. The folks over at Pearl are great at adding small features which are really helpful to the garment, while eliminating others which aren’t. You won’t find thumb holes at the end of the sleeves, but you will find an elastic hem (with fabric gripping beads to stay put), three full back pockets, and a full length zipper for easy on and off.
The weave of the fabric is where the garment really stands out, though. It’s listed on Pearl’s website as being 100% polyester, and the care instructions on the tag specify this as well. Typically, this would make for a rough feel on bare skin, and would inspire you to wear an undershirt. I actually found the reverse to be true – I preferred wearing the jersey by itself, as this seemed to enhance the moisture wicking capabilities of the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey during warmer rides, and helped to sustain warmth during cooler rides.
Testing the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey
Over the testing phase of three weeks, I had the opportunity to wear the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey (combined with the Elite Bib Short, reviewed by yours truly) on several rides of distances of up to 40 miles. I was in temperatures as low as 40 degrees, and as high as mid 70’s. I was able to ride in all conditions from sunny and clear to snowy/cloudy (thanks for the snow Colorado Spring time weather) during my tests. As mentioned above, I tried the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey as both a layering piece and single layer, and as stated above vastly preferred the fit/feel when worn as a single layer. The moisture wicking properties of the Jersey are excellent, and serve to regulate your core temperature very well even during extended periods of high exertion. I washed the garment after every ride, following the care instructions listed on the tag, and even hanging the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey. After five wash cycles, I found no harmful effects and the jersey performed as well as the first wear. As of the date of this post, I’ve washed the jersey eight times, and have seen no breakdown in the moisture wicking properties.
The full zipper is extremely handy for and easy on/off, as half zip jerseys which are form fitting can get stuck, and then stretched out from several sessions of pulling it on and off. Sometimes the cut of the jersey suffers from adding a zipper, but the folks at Pearl designed the jersey to be form fitting with bulking up around the top of bottom of the zipper. I especially liked the cut of the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey across the shoulders and the chest – it’s form fitting without being restrictive. Another great feature of the heavier fabric is that when heading downhill at high speeds it doesn’t catch much wind – I can’t stand jerseys which catch enough wind to produce significant drag during long downhill rides.
Final thoughts on the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey
In conclusion, the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey is a great choice for spring rides with variable conditions. As Colorado can give you a full four seasons in an hour ride, it’s essential to have a garment which can keep you comfortable throughout. The fabric is heavy enough to block wind to keep your core temperature up, but not so heavy that it doesn’t wick moisture when you work a sweat up. It’s versatile in the fact that it can either be layered or worn directly on skin; I preferred it as a single piece, but it works well in combination with a base layer. There are several colors available on Pearl’s website, but as of the date of this post, the color we tested appeared only to be available to the European market. Head on over to Pearl to check out the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD Jersey for yourself.