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Pearl Izumi’s trail category Launch kit reviewed

We rode the new Pearl Izumi Launch trail kit. Find out how it performed.

Pearl Izumi Launch kit
For a long period of time there was very little selection when it came to baggy shorts and jerseys for cycling. You were either an cross-country rider who wore nothing but spandex. Or you were a freerider/dirt jumper who wore motocross style shorts and a t-shirt.  For someone looking to maintain a modest image, while still keeping cool on the trail, there were very few options.    

Enter the “trail” category.  Finally a category to service the mountain biker who doesn’t want to race in spandex but also doesn’t want to look like they just stepped of the MX track.  Now there are a plethora of options from different manufactures catering to the baggy short and jersey enthusiast.

When I first received the Pearl Izumi Launch shorts and jersey I did what most people do with a new kit and immediately tried it on. I tested the size medium shorts and jersey. I’m a 32 waist and the shorts fit snug with no need to use the hook and loop waist adjusters on the side, which will come in handy once I  get down to race weight and need to adjust to a smaller size. When on, the shorts fall right below the knee and have a slightly slimmer profile which keeps the material from rubbing together with every pedal stroke. The jersey also fit well. Not too baggy, but not too tight. It was long enough that when on the bike it didn’t ride up my back or bunch up under my arms. There are a lot of jerseys out there that fit like t-shirts and thankfully this is not one of them.

While riding in the kit I didn’t notice anything which is great. I often find the best cycling kit are the pieces that you forget about because you’re having such a good time on the trail. The shorts didn’t ride up or down even after multiple dropper post maneuvers, nor did they catch on my saddle. The removable liner (which is quite supportive for a liner) stayed in place the whole ride. The jersey has a v-neck and is slightly longer in the back for added coverage while bent over riding. Even when you start moving around and getting sweaty there was no discomfort or chafing from the jersey material.

Pearl has also included a few key features that really make a difference on the trail. The most notable being the front facing zipper vents on the shorts.  When you open up the vents they let in a lot of air compared to other shorts with vents built into the inseam. Pearl has also given the shorts fully zipped side and thigh pockets, so you won’t have to worry about losing anything on the trail.  The upper portion of the jersey is made from Pearl’s transfer fabric that is both very breathable and comfortable while riding. The bottom portion of the jersey is made from a lightweight mesh material that allows for great airflow and will keep your back cool even if you wear a hydration pack. Pearl has also included a built in sunglass wipe which comes in handy for both sunglasses and your gps display on those muddy days.

Overall the Launch kit has been one of my favorite baggy kits to date.  It really has a good balance of lightweight material, comfortable fit and trail ready features. I look forward to riding in this kit more and seeing how it holds up over time.