Great fitting tights with a handy drop tail, Peal Izumi's offering keeps the worst of the wind and wet out without any major sacrifices along the way.
Drop tail design
Winter has well and truly arrived - and word on the street is that more and more riders are taking to indoor training to get their miles in. However, I'd argue that summer's races won't be won through turbo training sessions alone, and for those of us still getting out and about in the cold and the rain, a pair of warm winter tights are a must have.
Pearl Izumi's Pursuit women's bib tights aim to provide what's needed to battle the elements.
Lined with a thermal fleece fabric, these tights feature a water shedding 'PI Dry' technology. Apparently 'hydrophobic' (I'm not a big fan of the wet stuff either though a phobia might be taking it a bit far), this fabric adds resistance against light rain. It won't keep a downpour out, but you'll stay dryer in showers and when riding through standing water.
Water resistant fabrics of days gone by could be quite stiff, and breathability can take a hit of it's not well thought out. Pearl Izumi's offering didn't succumb to either pitfall - the 14% Lycra, 56% Nylon and 30% Polyester mix sat well and felt great on whilst wicking sweat effectively. I opted for a size small, and found the fit as expected.
The upper is constructed from a mesh fabric, and comes with a centre clasp, so you can choose to wear the straps meeting centrally or to the side. Personally I went with the central option; I'm not sure it makes much difference either way though.
One real plus for me was the drop down tail. This design means the back of the upper is split into two parts, with a separation at the waist and a long tail that tucks in to allow for easy toilet breaks. I'd envisaged this impacting fit and the effectiveness of the chamois - but was pleasantly surprised.
The waist stays put and the design means that you don't need to remove jerseys, gilets and jackets every time you need to sneak behind a bush on a long ride. The only downside is that I found wriggling into the tights was made s bit more difficult, but once on the design worked like a dream.
The pad here is the women's Elite Pursuit 1:1 chamois. There's a four-way top sheet and the foam is variable across the construction, so it's thicker where you need it most. The target is all-day comfort, and I tested these tights over a four hour ride with no issues.
There's a reflective 'P' logo at the quad, and a flash on the calf too - both of these positions should be pretty visible as you pedal so are a nice addition.
The package is finished off with a silicone leg gripper and a zip at the bottom. I've never been a big fan of tights with zipper closure - they can be irritating on the ankle, especially if (like me) you're a member of the socks over tights brigade. In fairness I didn't experience any problems in this case, but it's something I'd change if I could.
Retailing at £149.99, these tights sit at a pretty middling rung on the pricing ladder; shop around and you could find a fairly similar offering for a little less, but you could also spend a considerable amount more and get the same performance. I've only had the chance to put them through a few washes, but knowing the Peal Izumi brand well, I'd expect these to be long lasting and worth the outlay.
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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