Pearl Izumi Thermal Zip Neck Long Sleeve Baselayer

by Henry Peacock

Price £54.99
Size Medium
Colour Black
A nice baselayer, warm, fleecy and close fitting, really let down by the materials.

This is the Pearl Izumi offering for their PRO Series of clothing. It is rated as their warmest baselayer and upon first inspection you can see exactly why this is so.

The material is 100% polyester in construction, it is really thick to the touch, and very different to most baselayers I've tried before. The thermal fleece fabric is coupled with something Pearl Izumi call their Minerale fabric technology. They claim it is derived from minerals to create a natural technology; it is still polyester though, just 55% Minerale polyester to 45% normal. The claims are improved performance of fabrics by providing exceptional evaporative cooling, odour resistance and added UV protection; which is obviously not necessary for a winter baselayer but welcomed anyway. It can be refreshed easily by washing and the wicking properties are greatly increased due to Minerale's presence.

pearl izumi baselayer
Nice Close Fit

The baselayer certainly is very warm to wear and its fleece lining really does give superior comfort. It is fairly tight on the fit, I always take a default medium size and this fits perfectly, a good close skin contact is optimum for warmth and the wicking away of sweat. The length is good, giving full front and back coverage, the collar is a good length to give adequate neck coverage an area that is fairly exposed otherwise.

With temperatures lingering just above zero over the past few weeks and look set to drop further over the next couple of months I need all the protection I can get out of clothing. On my first ride out I was impressed by how warm this will keep you with a windstopper fabric over the top I feel happy in temperatures down to 2-3 degrees. The 11-inch zipper on the neck is useful if you start to overheat slightly.

One of the huge stumbling blocks of this baselayer is moisture wicking and odour control, Pearl Izumi claim the Minerale benefits these areas but without judging it against a similar baselayer without Minerale it's hard to judge the real benefits. I found that once you start to sweat that sweat doesn't wick away as it should which if you're riding in changeable conditions is tough to deal with. The baselayer once wet, feels wet, unlike a truly natural material such as merino which will also keep you warm. Feeling wet next to the skin makes you feel cold which, in near freezing temperatures is far from ideal. The odour control is also a sore point, the sniff test is usually carried out by my long suffering other half and this failed after a 30min ride, a similar merino object passed the test after four separate rides. You'll notice this at your coffee stop on the club run.

The cost of £54.99 is about bang on for a performance baselayer and quite good value for a thermal model. However it is in line with merino prices from elsewhere and as such puts itself in danger of being outclassed by the competition, a shame when Pearl Izumi have some great products in their range.

I feel that a merino baselayer of half the thickness would keep you just as warm and you wouldn't feel cold when you sweat. I wanted to like this so much but is ultimately let down by the materials. It is very good at keeping you warm as long as you don't sweat with it on. A nice baselayer, warm, fleecy and close fitting, really let down by the materials.

Where to buy: Madison

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