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Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks For Winter Cycling

Wool socks are available at just about every sporting goods store in America, but the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks are not just any wool socks—they are designed for winter athletes and are probably the most comfortable wool socks you will ever find.

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks For Winter Cyclists

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks are made of 71% merino wool, 28% nylon, and 1% Lycra. Merino wool is extremely warm, naturally anti-bacterial, doesn’t retain odors, and does a fantastic job of wicking away moisture from your feet. You will be amazed at how quickly they dry, even in wet weather.

These socks have a good layer of cushioning under the feet which should make for blister-free riding. They also have a bit of arch compression so they fit well without ever feeling sloppy. They are also they only cycling socks I own that have markings so you can distinguish between the left and right socks. As for height, these socks are 8.5 inches tall (sometimes called cuff height or below the calf length).

While I love the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks, they are not the heaviest wool cycling socks I own. I have found that if you wear a thin polypropylene sock liner under these socks your feet will be warmer than if you just wore one pair of thick socks.

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks are only available in one color combination (Black and Shadow Grey). They come in several sizes, from Small through X-Large and seem to be true to size. However, they are not cheap, they retail for around $18 a pair. However, if you ride in the winter I believe you will think it is money well spent. You should be able to get many years of use out of these thermal socks.

 

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Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WXB Cycling Pants

Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WXB Cycling Pants for rain and bad weather

Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WXB Cycling Pants

You might not love riding in the rain, but if your training schedule forces your out in it very often you need to pick up a pair of Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WXB Cycling Pants. These pants are breathable, windproof, waterproof and they have kept me dry in torrential downpours on days when no one in their right mind would be outside.

Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WXB Cycling Pants are made of a three-layer thermo-regulating laminate fabric. This breathable fabric is 50 percent polyester, 32 percent nylon, and 18 percent nylon. You will find abrasion patches in high wear areas that should keep you from ripping these pants like I’ve done with cheaper rain pants. These pants are sturdy enough for both road and trail use. Since riding in the rain almost always means low-visibility, these pants have 360° reflective elements that really stand out when light hits them. The asymmetrical leg cuffs should keep you from getting your pants caught in the crank. There is also a side adjustable waistband to help you get a good fit. All of the internal seams are taped and totally waterproof.

We need to talk about the fit around the ankles for a moment. These pants have nine-inch waterproof ankle zippers so they will fit over cycling shoes and shoe covers with ease. However, there is not enough room to wear these pants with the cuff on the outside of heavy winter boots. This could cause a problem if plan on wearing these pants as a winter shell—they will do great most of the time, but if you have to walk through deep snow then you could find yourself with wet feet after a while.

If you are looking for the perfect waterproof shoe covers to go with these pants, I would suggest the Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier MTB Shoe Cover. If you need warm winter shoe covers, I would suggest the Planet Bike Blitzen Windproof Shoe Covers.

Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WXB Cycling Pants have a retail price of $225, but they are available on Amazon.com for around $160. These pants will probably be one of the most expensive pieces of cycling wear you will ever buy, but they should give you many years of use. This product comes with a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. In case you were wondering, the P.R.O. in the name stand for Performance Race Optimized.

 

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Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket For Winter Cycling

If you are looking for a softshell cycling jacket for winter rides you really need to check out the Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket. This jacket is warm, windproof, waterproof and the most comfortable cycling jacket I own.

Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket for winter cycling and biking

Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket

The Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket is incredibly soft inside—it has a brushed thermal fleece fabric that does a great job of keeping you warm and transferring moisture to the outside. The jacket zips on the front and has a full-length internal draft flap and zipper garage. The sleeves are contoured for a great fit and extra long (something I like in winter jackets) and there is ample reflective material on all sides of the jacket to increase visibility at night.

The Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket only has two pockets. On the chest there is a pocket that will easily hold an iPhone, and it even has a small opening so you can run a pair of headphones through it. On the lower back  is one large zippered pocket, and inside of it there are three smaller pockets. These small inside pockets are a bit difficult to get into as you are riding, but I like them anyway. However, I have found that moisture from perspiration tends to build up inside of both pockets. These zippered pockets have very nice pull-tabs for easy opening even if you have a pair of gloves on. The body of this jacket is made of 100% polyester, and the panels are 95% polyester and 5% elastane.

How does this jacket compare other cycling jackets? While I love the wind-stopping power of my Gore Bike Wear Phantom Bike Jacket, I think Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket is at least as good in that department, plus this Pearl Izumi jacket is warmer and more comfortable. However, I like the rear pockets on the Gore jacket better (plus it has detachable sleeves). On the other hand, the Pearl Izumi jacket is the warmest cycling jacket I own.

Since I have several lighter cycling jackets I don’t wear this jacket until the temperature drops down to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature I wear an Under Armour compression shirt and a Performance Polar Long Sleeve Cycling Jersey under my jacket. When the temperature is in the low 20’s I switch from the Performance Polar jersey to a thin thermafleece layer.

The Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Jacket has a “semi-form fit” which means it will fit most cyclists, except for those who carry a large spare tire around the waist. This jacket is available is five sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL) and appears to be true to size. You can buy this jacket in five different color combinations. The photo above is of a Black/Black jacket (even though it has a bit of red trim). The other color combinations are: Green Flash/Black, True Red/Black, White/Black, and True Blue/White. The list price for this jacket is $150.

 

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Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves

If you enjoy hardcore winter cycling then you are going to love Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves! These gloves are waterproof, fully insulated, comfortable and insanely well made. When you look at the photograph below you will understand why they are called lobster gloves—your first and second fingers are in one opening and your third and forth fingers are in the other (this arrangement keeps your fingers very warm). Lobster gloves do make shifting gears a little harder to do, but you will get used to it rather quickly and after a ride or two you probably won’t even think about it any more.

Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves

Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves

Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves have a Pittards Carbon Leather palm and a lightweight ripstop fabric shell. As bulky as these gloves look, you can still easily grip things with them. They have a large microfleece wiping surface on the thumb area and close with a sturdy strip of Velcro. These gloves also have reflective piping and logos for low light visibility.

These gloves are so warm that I would never wear them in temperatures above 25 degrees (Fahrenheit). I’ve used these gloves on many two-hour rides (and longer) when the temperature was in the single digits and they kept me toasty warm the whole time.

Like every pair of winter gloves I’ve ever purchased, the inside of these gloves will be damp when you get home after a long ride. Since these gloves are rather thick they will not dry out overnight, so I hang them on a “boot and glove dryer” overnight and they are always ready to go the next morning. If you ride much in the winter you really need to buy a glove dryer—it will make your life a lot easier!

In my opinion these gloves run about a size smaller than advertized, so I would order them in a size larger than you normally wear. Wearing tight gloves in the winter is a terrible mistake that a lot of newbies make. Tight gloves impede blood circulation to your fingers and this will make you hands feel a lot colder.

Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves retail for around $70, but you can find them on Amazon.com and several other online retailers for around $60. I know this is a lot of money for a pair of gloves, but it is certainly a lot cheaper than a trip to the hospital so you can get treatment for frostbite.

 

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Pearl Izumi AmFIB Cycling Tights For Winter Biking

Pearl Izumi AmFIB Cycling Tights For Winter Biking

Pearl Izumi AmFIB Cycling Tights

Out of the many fine clothing products for cyclists that Pearl Izumi makes, my absolute favorite is the Pearl Izumi AmFIB Cycling Tight. These tights allow you to have a comfortable ride on winter days that aren’t fit for either man nor beast. Though not truly waterproof (but highly water-resistant), these tights do offer fantastic wind, water and ice protection.

Pearl Izumi AmFIB Cycling Tights are designed for extreme weather conditions—I am talking about very cold, wet and windy days. The fabric is very breathable and wicks water away your skin incredibly well. Even after several hours in snow and ice storms these tights kept me dry.

The body of these tights is made of 10% polyurethane, 12% elastane, 41% polyester, and 37% nylon. The 3D Elite chamois is made with a variable density microfiber that wicks moisture away and has active carbon yarns to help reduce odors. This is the same chamois that is found in the Pearl Izumi Elite Cycling Shorts and their Elite Thermal Cycling Tights. I have found this chamois to be very comfortable even on rides over 60 miles or more.

What is the best temperature range to wear these tights in? Some cyclists wear these tights in temperatures down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve used them in temperatures down to zero without any problem. At the other end of the scale I find them too warm to wear in temperatures much above freezing, but some people have no problem using them all the way up to 50 degrees. Personally, for temperatures between 28 and 50 degrees I prefer to wear Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Cycling Tights.

The lower leg of these tights has an 8″ zipper with an internal draft flap and zipper garage. Around the inside of the ankles there is a silicone strip to keep the tights in place. Reflective piping, strips and logos make you visible to motorists from just about any angle.

These tights are also available without a chamois and in a bib. Most people will tell you that bibs keep you warmer than tights but I really haven’t had any trouble keeping warm even in temperatures down to zero. Besides, if you are out on a bike trail in ten degree weather and have to answer the call of nature while in bibs you will need to look at your driver’s license just to remember your gender (if you catch my drift).

Theses tights seem to be true to size, providing you use the sizing guide found on the Pearl Izumi Website (the size guide on Amazon.com has no connection with reality). The Pearl Izumi AmFIB Cycling Tight (with 3D chamois) has a suggested list price of $155, but you can buy them from Amazon.com for around $105. Once you’ve had a chance to try these tights out I am certain you will think they were worth every penny you paid for them.

 

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Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Cycling Tights

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Cycling Tights

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Cycling Tights

When the temperature drops down below 50 degrees it’s time to put away the knee warmers and get out the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Cycling Tights. I started wearing these tights last year and they are awesome! For temperatures between 28 and 50 degrees I don’t think you will find a better pair of cycling tights.

These tights are made with a very breathable wind-resistant fabric on the outside combined with a thin layer of thermal fleece on the inside. The fabric is about as close to magic as you will find—it wicks moisture away from the skin to keep you warm, dry and happy! While these pants are not rainproof they are definitely water-resistant. I often ride half-centuries (50 miles) in these tights during light rain without any trouble.

You can buy this tight either with or without a chamois. I would definitely buy one with Pearl Izumi’s Elite 3D Chamois since it is the same chamois that is in the Pearl Izumi Elite Cycling Shorts, which is what I ride in all summer. This chamois has 13mm of variable-density microfiber padding coupled with active carbon yarns to help reduce odors. Within the past 12 months I have cycled over 6,000 miles and 99% of those miles have been while riding with this chamois. This chamois was designed with Pressure Relief Technology (PRT) for riding comfort and improved blood flow and I think they ended up with a perfect design!

At the bottom of these tights you will find an 8-inch ankle zipper so the tights are very easy to put on (or take off). The zipper has a lockable tab to keep it closed. The tights also have silicone ankle grippers to keep the tights in place. You will also find reflective piping and logos on the legs to help motorists see you better at night.

These tights are solid black, but you will notice in the photograph I played around with the lighting a bit so you could see a few of the 16 different panels that this pair of tights is composed of. The panel behind the knees is thinner to allow for needed ventilation and better leg movement.

The quality of these tights is superb! As for fit, I would say they are true to size. However, if you are on the border between two sizes I would definitely go with the larger size. Tight clothing in the winter is never a good idea.

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Cycling Tights retail for $125, but you can save a few dollars by buying them from Amazon.com. If you enjoy riding when the temperature is between zero and 30 degrees (and who doesn’t?), I would suggest you buy a pair of Pearl Izumi AmFIB Cycling Tights.

 

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Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Cycling Jacket

If someone told me that I had to choose one brand of cycling clothing to wear for the rest of my life I would not hesitate for a moment to select Pearl Izumi. While no company can make perfect products every time (except Apple), Pearl Izumi comes very close. However, I don’t believe the Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Cycling Jacket lives up to their usual high standards.

Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Cycling Jacket

Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Cycling Jacket

The Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Jacket has many great features, including a fabric that offers decent wind protection and water resistance. The convertible part of this jacket is the sleeves—they are held in place by two zippers and several pieces of Velcro. There is a great vent panel on the back of this jacket that provides excellent ventilation. The two zippered hand pockets and one Napoleon (chest) pocket are well-made and roomy. I was also happy with the amount of reflective piping found on this jacket. Both the shell and lining of this jacket are made of 100 percent polyester. Finally, there is an elastic draw cord around waist that can be adjusted with just one hand as you ride (to increase or decrease air movement inside the jacket). This jacket is designed early fall or late spring riding (temps in the upper 40’s or above).

This jacket is available is sizes Small through XX-Large and several colors, including Screaming Yellow, White, Black, True Blue, True Red, Black Plaid and Coffee. The Screaming Yellow jacket is a Hi-Viz Yellow and if you buy this jacket I would recommend this color. Unless you are trying to get hit by a car I would avoid the Black jacket at all costs. I found the jacket to be true to size.

Inferior Zippers On The Pocket

Inferior Zippers On The Pocket

My only problem with this jacket are the zippers. The main zipper on the front of the jacket is fine, but the zippers on the pockets and sleeves are horrible. It took me over five minutes to get the sleeves back on because the zipper just didn’t want to close. I found the zippers on the pockets to be very difficult to use while riding. The zippers are so tight I had to stop my bike and hold the fabric around the pocket just to close it. The inferior zippers make this jacket something I could not recommend.

Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Cycling Jacket retails for around $100. I bought mine from Amazon.com for $70, then immediately took advantage of their return policy by sending this jacket back for a full refund. It’s really too bad, the jacket has so many great qualities—but that doesn’t mean much if the zippers don’t work!

 

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