To continue riding through the shoulder season and into winter, you need clothing that can keep you comfortable in the increasingly cold temperatures and shrug off an inevitable rain shower. The lightweight Pearl Izumi Pro Aero LS jersey has been a trusty companion so far this fall and I’m sure it will still see use on winter mid-day rides.
Pearl Izumi PRO Aero LS Jersey Features:
- Softshell Lite fabric for wind/water protection on key areas
- P.R.O. Transfer In-R-Cool® fabric optimizes moisture transfer
- Full-length zipper with top storm flap
- Three back pockets
- Reflective elements for low-light visibility
- Price: $150
Ultralight wind and water protection
Arriving just in time for cool morning rides, the Pearl Izumi PRO Aero LS jersey aims to deliver lightweight protection from the elements. Featuring a stretchy and thin softshell fabric throughout, this jersey is really part jersey and part jacket. As a hybrid piece, it does quite well under a variety of conditions and has spanned a wide swing in temperatures.
Being a PRO-level piece in the Pearl Izumi lineup, the Aero LS features a race cut for maximum efficiency. I’m 5’11” / 170 lbs. and the size large was excellent with enough room for a long-sleeve jersey or base layer underneath. Throughout my testing, I used the new Pearl Izumi Transfer Wool LS baselayer and a variety of other long-sleeve and short-sleeve jerseys. My preference, by far, was to wear it with the Transfer Wool LS baselayer as it provides just the right combination of moisture management and warmth without being overly bulky underneath.
Earlier in the fall, I did use the Aero LS with a short-sleeve jersey underneath and while it cut the wind, the sleeves never felt comfortable on my bare arms. On long climbs, the softshell fabric would annoyingly stick to my forearms. So, yes, it can double as a jacket, but the softshell exterior is better when mated to a wicking base layer. I’ll add that the fabric slips over a base layer without bunching.
Sleeve length is excellent and the collar diameter and height is downright perfect. It’s tall enough to provide coverage without becoming cumbersome (which is something that’s not always mastered) and the PRO Transfer fabric remains ultra-comfortable next-to-skin. Everywhere else, the cuts are spot-on with the exception of the front hem length. I get that this is a cycling jersey and on-bike fit is tops, but the front hem is simply too short. Extra rear length is spot-on, but I feel like the front should be about an inch longer as my jerseys were constantly creeping below the Aero LS in the front.
Weather protection has been superb as the Softshell Lite fabric really does block the wind extremely well. The DWR treatment also serves as an excellent rain shield. When ridden in light to moderate rain, the fabric remained impervious to the elements. Everything just beads up and flies right off. This protection is on par with the equally-impressive, though more expensive Louis Garneau Course Wind Pro Jersey, I tested earlier this year.
Pearl Izumi smartly used PRO Transfer fabric on the back panel and on the underside of the sleeves. This enables rapid moisture management and allows this jersey to remain wearable in a wider variety of temperatures. I’ll add that on occasions when the jersey got too warm (long climbs, for example), unzipping it really did the trick and the fabric always dried out much faster than I anticipated. Many times, the fear of a cold descent disappeared after spending a short 5-10 minutes basking in the crisp, dry mountain air.
I appreciate that the Aero LS features three back pockets, but I will say that they are modest in size. And, they are rather difficult to access on-the-fly. I had a hard time consistently reaching into them while in the saddle and that got increasingly worse when I had to switch to thicker riding gloves.
- Excellent wind protection for such a light fabric
- Lightweight and easily stowed in a jersey pocket
- The perfect collar adds to warmth and protection
- Easily zipped up/down with one hand
- Remains stink-free after multiple uses
- Breathes well and dries in a jiffy
- Not really soft next-to-skin (when worn with short-sleeve base layer)
- Really short in front (really short)
- Pockets are a little small and hard to access
The Bottom Line: PRO Aero LS Jersey
The Aero LS jersey excels as a cool-weather jacket/jersey hybrid. I absolutely love how lightweight it feels while providing superb wind and water protection. If you want protection without bulk, this is the one.
Buy Now: Get it at PerformanceBike.com