Pearl Izumi Women’s Elevate Short, Liner Short, & Launch Jersey
Women’s Elevate Short
Color: Monument Grey
- Water Resistant DWR Treatment
- Four-way stretch rip-stop main body fabric
- Snap closure with zip fly
- Snag-free internal waist adjustment
- Two zippered front pockets
- Zippered security pocket on center back
- Knee Pad Compatible
- 95% nylon 5% spandex
Women’s Liner Short
- 8” inseam (size medium)
- W’s MTB 3D Chamois® powered by 37.5 Minerale to provide optimal moisture transfer
- Gripper free
- 92% polyester 8% elastane
Women’s Launch Jersey
Color: Aqua Mint
- Transfer fabric for moisture management
- V neck collar
- Sublimated graphics on select panels
- Sunglasses wipe sewn inside of jersey
- 100% polyester
Sizes Tested: Small
Reviewer: 5’4” 120 lbs.
Days Tested: 15
Pearl Izumi isn’t just about lycra and road riding anymore. They’ve been beefing up their mountain bike apparel to appeal to more than just the XC crowd, and including more enduro and all-mountain options. The new Elevate Short and Launch Jersey are the latest in Pearl Izumi’s gravity-oriented line. Biking in British Columbia and Montana, I put the shorts and jersey to the test in rain, cold, heat, and mud to see how they compare to other MTB-specific kits.
Liner and Elevate Shorts
Pearl Izumi is known for making a comfortable chamois, and the Liner Short (purchased separate from the Elevate Short) is no exception. Their women’s MTB 3D Chamois is comfortable and lightweight, and is my new favorite option for long rides.
The Elevate Shorts are well designed, too, with a few noteworthy features.
As a frequent crasher, I appreciate the durability of the Elevate Short’s rip-stop fabric. Although this isn’t technically a downhill short, I feel comfortable using this short in the bike park because of the fabric’s sturdiness.
The only downside to the fabric is that it isn’t super breathable. There also aren’t any vents in the shorts, though admittedly, I’ve never noticed a huge temperature difference from shorts with vents.
The zippered side pockets keep your stuff secure, which is nice, but the side pockets aren’t super big. They fit a phone, maybe some tire irons or an energy bar, and the pocket in the back could fit a tightly folded trail map or chapstick. But you may want to consider a different pair of shorts if you ride with a lot of stuff in your pockets.
The shorts have a DWR water-resistant treatment that is sufficient for a day of light rain, but is not water resistant enough to withstand a downpour. After about 5 washings, the DWR still works well, which is remarkable when compared to other garments I’ve used.
The “snag-free” waist adjustment on the inside of the shorts is true to its name, though I can’t say yet whether the velcro will survive frequent waist adjustments without losing its effectiveness. After adjusting the waist on these shorts, the velcro stays put and doesn’t pop open, which is a problem that really kills one’s confidence on climbs and that I’ve encountered with other shorts.
The Liner Short is basically true to a size Small in other shorts. It runs just a bit tight, but stretches appropriately after a few rides.
Interestingly, the Elevate Short itself is the opposite, and I found the short to be bigger in the waist than average. But with some tightening of the waist adjustment, the shorts fit well.
The Elevate Short also works well with knee pads, and I think it’s worth noting that the short seems to navigate well the too tight vs. too baggy problem — these are neither bulky nor restrictive.
After 15 rides, the Elevate Short and Liner Short still don’t show any wear and tear. The zippers and snap fly still function well. Both garments work as well as they did when I got them, and still look good.
Pearl Izumi has done an excellent job with both the Liner Short and Elevate Short. As separate pieces, both are worth considering, but the combination make a good pair. If you like having a lot of room in your pockets, you might try a different outer short, and since it is not vented, this may not be the best outer short for extremely warm riding. However, overall, this is a good short combination, one that can be used anywhere from the bike park to an XC ride.
Like the Elevate Short, the Launch Jersey is well designed. The mesh fabric on the back of the jersey isn’t too revealing and keeps the jersey breathable and light. The wicking transfer fabric used for the rest of the jersey seems similar to typical jersey material, but it’s lighter and more comfortable than most other jerseys I’ve used on hot days.
The sunglasses wipe sewn into the inside of the jersey is a new feature for me, and it’s a great addition. The wipe works well and you don’t notice it while riding.
The jersey is made from 100% polyester, which helps it breathe. Like many synthetic fabrics, it starts to stink after a ride, but is back to normal after a quick wash.
The only potential downside I can find with the Launch Jersey is pretty common with looser-fitting jerseys: it doesn’t have any pockets.
The Launch Jersey is similar in fit to other size Small jerseys. The jersey has a relaxed cut but it isn’t too loose.
I have to add that the V-neck on this jersey looks nice and isn’t too low cut. It frustrates me when women’s jerseys are cut impractically low, since most serious female riders want to be respected for their bike skills, not for revealing some skin. That being said, everyone likes to look good in their new kit, and this jersey certainly achieves that.
This is an all-around great jersey, and it really shines in warmer weather. It fits well, is cut well, the color is nice and bright, and there are a variety of color options on Pearl’s website.