Review: Pearl Izumi MTB WRX Jacket, Elevate Shorts, WxB MTB Shoe Cover

Colorado-based apparel maker upping its game in the fat tire arena

Apparel
Good looks and a host of functional features make this a great jacket.

Good looks and a host of functional features make this a great rain jacket (click to enlarge).

The Lowdown: 2015 Pearl Izumi Mountain Bike Apparel

Pearl Izumi doesn’t necessarily evoke images of MTB cool. The Colorado-based apparel and shoe company long ago made its bones in road cycling, and continues to be a leader in the skinny tire game, providing top-flight kit to the BMC pro team currently duking it out at the Tour de France.

But Pearl Izumi is also doing its best to branch out, and this year launched what amounted to a fully revamped line of mountain bike apparel and shoes. Colorways were “revved” up, the women’s line was expanded, and new technology was infused into many of the pieces.

The hood easily fits over a helmet.

The hood easily fits over a helmet (click to enlarge).

We’ve spent the spring and early summer testing a number of these pieces. Here’s a look at a few of our favorites. First up the Pearl Izumi MTB WRX Jacket. Click to page 2 to read about the new Elevate Shorts, and head over to page 3 for our review of the P.R.O. Softshell WxB MTB Shoe Covers and to see an expansive photo gallery of some other Pearl Izumi MTB gear.

Stat Box: MTB WRX Jacket
Material: 100% polyester woven twill Colors: Black, Citronelle
Protection: Wind and water resistant Sizes: S-XXL
Features: Large hood, abrasion resistance MSRP: $175
Fit: Semi-form fit Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4 Chilies-out-of-5

Pluses
Minuses
  • Wind and water resistant
  • No pockets
  • Lightweight and packable
  • Hood not stowable
  • Abrasion resistant sleeves
  • Hood flaps when moving fast
  • Full-length internal draft flap
  • Price
  • Zipper garage
  • Hood fits over helmet
  • Armpit and hood vents
  • Good looks


Full Review: Pearl Izumi MTB WRX Jacket

According to Pearl Izumi global cycling brand manager Andrew Hammond, roughly 60 percent of a consumer’s cycling apparel purchasing decision is based on color. Maybe that’s why we’re such big fans of the MTB WRX Jacket. The yellow (or citronelle if you prefer catalog speak) just looks good. But the proverbial square jaw and high cheek bones only get you so far, especially when we’re talking about a garment whose job is to keep you warm and dry when Mother Nature is attempting the opposite.

Reinforced sleeves stand up to abrasion.

Reinforced sleeves stand up to abrasion (click to enlarge).

The MTB WRX Jacket is more than a pretty face, though. Its barrier and WxB fabrics do a top-shelf job of keeping wind and water at bay, and the material (especially the reinforced sleeves) is strong enough to stand up to the occasional brush with a tree. Thumbs up to the hood as well, which is large enough to actually fit over a helmet, so you don’t have to take your lid off when the rain stops or you start to overheat.

The jacket also has strategically placed vents at the back of the hood and under the armpits to help keep air flowing. Up front is a robust full-length sealed zipper that’s waterproof. There’s also a snap at the neckline for added seal and protection. When the rain stops, this jacket packs up to about the size of a soda can and weighs just 280 grams.

Vents under the arms help alleviate overheating.

Vents under the arms help alleviate overheating (click to enlarge).

Our only real issues (and they’re minor) is that the hood doesn’t stow, so it’s prone to flapping when not in use. We’d also love to see at least one pocket somewhere for the occasion when you’re wearing the jacket for an extended period and want to stow a gel or your cell phone. The price will also deter some: $175 is a lot to pay for something that could get shredded if you crashed hard in the wrong place.

We wish the hood would stow when not in use.

We wish the hood would stow when not in use (click to enlarge).

Sizes run S-XXL and the Pearl Izumi MTB WRX Jacket is also available in black if citronelle just isn’t your thing. For more info visit pearlizumi.com

Continue to page 2 for our review of the Pearl Izumi Elevate Shorts »
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About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the Mtbr staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.


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  • chris says:

    Was excited by the resurgence of PI so I bought a bunch of their stuff. On a whim I wore the Elevate shorts on a road ride and found them to be insanely hot and long. They’ve been sitting in my clothes bin ever since. Definitely more of a shuttle short.

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