If you’ve been keeping up with our reviews over the past month, you’ve likely noticed a pretty obvious pattern—South Florida’s lack of participation in the Winter season is wreaking havoc on our cold-weather gear reviews. While we will typically have at least several mornings of temperatures that dip into the low 50’s and even upper 40’s, this year we haven’t seen many mornings go lower than 60 degrees. So you can bet that every time we see the weather report predicting cooler temps, that we’re up extra early so we can break out all the cold weather gear we’ve got.
This past month we focused on Pearl Izumi’s Fall 2015 line. PI recently sent us several pieces from their women’s line, including the ELITE Barrier Vest, Symphony Thermal Cycling Tights, a pair of AmFib Cycling Tights, and an ELITE long-sleeve Thermal LTD jersey. Because of our milder winter, we haven’t yet had a chance to break out the tights, but we’ve gotten several rides in with the Barrier Vest and Thermal LTD jersey.
So let’s start with the Barrier Vest. The first thing we loved about the vest was the color—screaming pink. Not only did it match our black and pink Shiv test bike, but the vest’s bright color was also highly visible during our early-morning rides. The vest is made from 100% polyester and is semi-form fitting. It can be easily zipped up over a jersey without feeling constricting. The Barrier Vest also features Direct-Vent panels for a little extra ventilation out the back, as well as a zippered back pocket for storage.
Another one of our favorite features of the Barrier Vest was the fact that it was super lightweight. While it helped us stay warm and protected our core from the wind, we found that we almost forgot that it was there entirely. We were honestly pretty impressed that something so lightweight was able to keep us toasty and comfortable even against 15-20 mph winds in temperatures in the upper 50’s. The vest’s lightweight nature also means that it’s easily packable into a jersey pocket once the sun comes up and temperatures start to rise.
PI recommends the Barrier Vest for temperatures ranging from 50 – 70 degrees. We found that it kept us perfectly comfortable in temps ranging from as low as 58 up to 70 degrees, including some pretty strong wind gusts at times.
In addition to pink, the Barrier Vest also comes in black, yellow, and crimson, and it can be purchased on Pearl Izumi’s site for $80.
We also had the chance to try PI’s women’s ELITE long-sleeve Thermal LTD Jersey. While we loved the Barrier Vest, this jersey was hands down our favorite. The fabric felt incredibly comfortable against the skin—almost like your favorite fleece blanket. And the fit was absolutely perfect. In fact, the fabric felt so soft that we were a bit concerned it would start to feel more like a soggy blanket once we started to work up a sweat, but boy were we wrong. PI’s ELITE Thermal Fleece fabric was designed to wick moisture and sweat away, and it functioned exactly as advertised. Never once did we feel waterlogged or uncomfortable, even during our hardest efforts.
PI recommends the Thermal LTD Jersey for temperatures as low as 45 degrees. While we haven’t had a chance to test it in those conditions, we have worn it during several rides ranging from as low as 58 degrees up to the high 60’s. We’ve been warm and comfortable every time. Our one ride in high-50-degree temps was also a particularly windy morning, so we paired the jersey with the Barrier Vest for extra protection—it was a perfect combination.
Like the Barrier Vest, the Thermal Jersey is also made of 100% polyester and features three back pockets for storage as well. The pockets were plenty large, too. We carried an iPhone in a weatherproof case, our nutrition, and a pair of sunglasses, all with more room to spare.
Our Jersey was in the “Team PI” Meadow Mauve color scheme. It’s also available in other patterns and colors, including green, pink, and blue. You can pick one up for $130 on PI’s website.
Overall, we couldn’t be happier with the two pieces of gear we’ve tried so far from PI’s Fall line. Both the vest and jersey have kept us warm and protected us from the cold and the wind, which is exactly what you need when Mother Nature tries to get in the way of your ride.
As for the cycling tights, we’re still holding out hope that South Florida will throw at least one or two good chills our way so we can pair those up with the rest of our PI gear. Check back for more details about the AmFib and Symphony Thermal Cycling Tights soon!