The Elite Thermal bibs and jersey offer good value for money, although the bibs are better suited to very cold conditions than the jersey is.
Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal LTD jersey
£79.99 / US$130 / €99.95
You might assume from the ‘Thermal’ part of the name that the Pearl Izumi is a full-on winter top. However, while it includes the obligatory fleece on the inside, it's thin and not the warmest winterjersey we’ve tested.
There's no built-in weather resistance at all, so the cruel north wind will pass right through you. That said, as a mid-layer or a jersey for spring and autumn, there's nothing wrong with the Elite, and in fairness to Pearl Izumi, it is pitched for 'cool' rather than cold conditions.
The fit is reasonably racy, with a dropped tail that suits a tucked position, a decent elasticated hem, and the usual three rear pockets.
It wouldn't be our first choice as a winter jersey, but the Elite is a nicely made top that's fair value for money.
Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Barrier bib tights
£99.99 / US$160 / €119.95
Pearl Izumi’s Elite Thermal Barrier bib tights have all the right ingredients for handling harsh winter weather.
Underneath the softshell outer layer there’s a breathable windstopping barrier. It’s very good at keeping the chill away, and definitely makes them a preferred choice on cold mornings. The softshell outer layer also does a good job of dealing with rain and road spray.
The jersey is good value, but not one for colder days. The windstopping properties of the bibs were definitely appreciated
There's a warm, soft lining next to the skin to provide insulation. The ankle cuffs are a nice feature – they are curved down to cover the very top of the foot.
We didn’t get on particularly well with the pad, but that’s likely to be down to the fit of these tights; Italian-sized they are not. The cut and fit are generous. The first thing we noticed once we’d got them on was the excess material. During riding they moved around and the pad was never quite in the right place. Even though these aren’t part of Pearl Izumi’s race-spec P.R.O. series, we’d still expect them to fit better than they do.
- Jersey: three stars
- Bibs: two stars
- Overall score: two-and-a-half stars