Pearl Izumi has long been a favorite among cyclists who know. With classic designs and proven materials, they continue to deliver elite-level products. For winter, the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Bib Tights are great options to maintain warmth on cold rides.
Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Bib Tights Features:
- ELITE Thermal Fleece fabric delivers superior moisture transfer and warmth
- Leg articulation for a full range of motion
- Mesh bib upper gives stability and support
- ELITE 3D Chamois
- 8” lower leg zipper w/ internal draft flap and zipper garage
- Contoured leg opening provides additional coverage at top of shoe
- Silicone gripper at ankles to keep tights in place
- 360 degree reflectivity
- Price: $155
Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Bib Tights Conquer Winter
It’s funny. I find myself trolling Strava to see who’s brave enough and who’s willing to get kitted up and ride in the winter. I’m seeing guys come out of their cocoons now that the weather has warmed and I think, “where have you guys been?” Well, they obviously didn’t have a pair of Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Bib Tights at their disposal — but they should.
At a $155 price point, these have a huge bang-for-the-buck factor with all kinds of combinations of cozy and protective fabrics. The fit is spot-on (I think) with the medium bib tights providing just the right amount of compression, support and free range of motion on my 5’11” and 170 lb. body.
The finishing touches on these bib tights are evident as flatlock seams are coupled with perfectly-shaped, fleece-lined panels. The combination of materials makes these squarely in the cool/cold weather bib tight category. You won’t want to wear these in cold, wet weather as there’s not enough water protection. There is, however, strategically-placed panels there provide protection around the groin and into the backside for times when it’s not actively raining, but the roads are wet and your tires are flipping up water galore. That extra frontside protection in the groin area is actually quite nice as some bib tights can be downright chilly. The knee panels are also water resistant and warm.
In practice, these bibs really do wear extremely well. In the saddle, there is full freedom of motion and the ELITE 3D chamois does an excellent job on a variety of saddles. There are certainly fancier chamois out there, but this one does a great job overall and is fitting with the price point.
At the leg openings, the single zipper makes access easy, but is almost unnecessary given the bell bottom shape of the cuffs. While the shape does cover the ankle and upper foot gap, I would say ditch the tricks and just keep them ankle height. In practice, it adds a bit of bulk when wearing with form-fitting shoe covers that really is unnecessary. I understand the extra bit of protection, but when was the last time you complained that the gap between the end of the tights and the tops of your shoes ruined your day? Pearl Izumi was keen to place the zipper on the side instead of straight up the back of the achilles, though (kudos).
I’ve worn these in temps ranging from the upper 30’s into the low 50’s without too much fuss. The tops of my thighs did get a little chilly at the lower end and things got a little steamy at the upper end, but overall they kept my legs pumping and happy in those temps.
- Nice compression fit
- Good, simple chamois
- Wind-protective panels come up extra-high on the bib
- Good combination of wind/cold protection and breathability
- Leg zipper placement
- Excellent price point
- Comfy mesh uppers
- Not sure the bell-bottom cuffs are necessary
The Bottom Line: Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Bib Tights
While winter has been fairly tame this year in Utah, having these on hand has been fantastic. With most days in the 40’s, but dry, I’ve depended on these bib tights to keep rolling in comfort.
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