2011 Pearl Izumi Apparel

Apparel Pro Reviews


Launch Kicker Short
The two-piece Launch Kicker Shorts are comprised of an outer short made from a Nylon and Spandex blend that has a 4-way stretch, with a ultra long cut, and a removable inner chamois liner. The extra length works well and extends to just below the top of my knees, and they have two-hand pockets and two Velcro closed back pockets, and additional Velcro one on the lower left thigh, all of which have a small leather accent. The front closure uses Velcro, and a robust snap, and a nice long zipper for natures calls.

These are some incredibly comfortable shorts, and they stretch and undulate now matter how you are maneuvering around, and they allow unbelievable body contortions and movements without any binding. Due to the stretchiness, they can snag on the nose or rear of the saddle if you aren’t careful, and then you have to extract yourself, which can cause issues. I do wish it had a zippered pocket, since I think it’s a necessity to secure a valuable item that you don’t want to lose? The length is about perfect, it covers right over the top of a set of knee guards, but not any further so that they would bind on them.

For the waistbands size adjustment, it use a elastic interior strap system located on the back half of the waist. To tighten, you pull the elastic strap forward, and then insert a small button into the straps pre-cut slots, and the rear section scrunches. It isn’t the easiest system to use, and takes a few tries to figure out, but it works fine, and is solid once its set. The liner hangs from the shorts using a bombproof strap with a snap closure, and it’s an excellent system that is robust and easy to use. The superb inner chamois is incredibly comfortable and well padded, and mesh material is stretchy, breathable and wickable. The superb inner chamois is incredibly comfortable and well padded, and mesh material is stretchy, breathable and wickable. Their MTB 3D Chamois is very innovative and functional, and the three-layer, variable density padding is pre-shaped (curved and sculptured) for the nether regions, so nothing bunches up, maximizing comfort and shape.

Final Thoughts
The Launch Kicker Shorts are incredibly comfortable, and the 4-way stretch material is excellent for body maneuvering, and combined with the superb 3D Chamois liner, is Uber Comfy. On occasion, the stretchy material snags on the nose of the saddle, but the compromise for the additional comfort is well worth it.

Pros

  • Comfortable, comfortable, comfortable
  • Superb 3D Chamois liner
  • 4-way stretch material
  • Ultra long cut

Cons

  • Occasionally snags on the saddle nose
  • Lack of zippered pocket

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Specs:

  • MSRP: $120.00
  • Visit the Pearl Izumi Launch Kicker Short website
  • Pro Style no. 0278
  • Transfer stretch fabric
  • Snap and hook and loop front closure with zip fly
  • Adjustable interior waistband
  • Two hand pockets and two back pockets
  • Detachable liner with MTB 3D Chamois
  • 13″ inseam [size medium]
  • Body: 85% Nylon / 15% Spandex
  • Liner: 80% Polyester / 20% Lycra
  • Colors: Black, Coffee, Foothills Green


About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • bicol_express says:

    any reviews/thoughts on the x-alp elite shoes you’re wearing

  • Brian Mullin says:

    They are a pretty sweet shoes, comfortable, excellent for hike-a-bike, bombproof, durable and they really protect the feet, although they lose a bit of pedaling power due to flexible sole, but they make up for it in walking and maneuverability (on and off the bike) and protection. There is a reason that Brian Lopes is using it. A review will be forthcoming.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    I should have a review out today!

  • Veda says:

    The last time I used a black Veer jersey was in a hot broiling sun with no cloud on a hellish insanely climbing track. It was so hot I wanted to rip open my gloves. In conclusion, I sold my jersey right away after returning home. Regardless of fabric technology wearing black is still hotter than lighter colors when you’re going slow with no winds around.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Material colors have a couple of properties, darker colors usually absorb more heat, but they’re more effective than lighter colors at blocking out the sun, which is damaging to the body. The In-R-Cool uses Schoeller’s Cold Black technology, which is a fabric coating that is a Sun reflector and UV protector, so it offers better heat management and reduces heat absorption. The mumbo jumbo actually works in the real world. They had a demo at Interbike in which a heat lamp was right next to a set of shorts that had this technology, and you could check the temperature (by touch and a digital gauge) at the fabric surface, and it was not hot.

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