23 September 2011

Why Give Diamonds When You Can Give PEARL?

Pearl Izumi Spring 2012 Designs Sneak Peak!

Jill Kislia, Pearl Izumi, congratulates the mannequins on looking so good
in the new P.I. Elite LTD "Honor and Valor" line, offering a patriotic twist.
Pearl Izumi Account Executive Jill Kislia took BicyclingHub.com staff on a whirlwind tour last week during Interbike, showcasing some of the best and brightest the brand has to offer for 2012. Our predictions, based on what we've seen thus far? Their future's so bright they have to wear shades.

First off, what impressed us most was Pearl's embrace of technology to construct, test, refine and then re-test new technical fabrics such WXB,  In-R-Cool and Minerale Fabrics. Both In-R-Cool and Minerale were introduced to receptive audiences in 2011 and continued over into 2012 lines of production.

A side-by-side comparison of regular polyester and Transfer Minerale fabrics
Transfer Minerale (™) Fabric:  Fully integrated Minerale Fabric features 15 times greater surface area that dries 50% faster compared to performance polyester and provides odor absorption.
You know Pearl's serious about technology when they utilize heat guns and thermal sensors to
more accurately gauge In-R-Cool's ability to keep riders cool and comfortable.
In-R-Cool Technology: Transfer fabrics with In-R-Cool feature built-in technology that reflects the sun's rays to reduce fabric surface temperature by up to 35 degrees F/14 degrees C under direct sunlight. In-R-Cool technology makes a dark fabric the same temperature as a white fabric and reduces perspiration by up to 58% while providing 50+ UPF protection.

Pearl Izumi's (Waterproof X Breathable) WxB Fabric offers superior wind and water protection for cold and wet weather rides.  Here, Pearl Izumi demonstrates the effectiveness of the material with an underwater pump blowing air through the yellow fabric.  Note the bubbles rising, visibly showing its breathability as well as waterproofing properties.

2012 Improvements and Upgrades

"Our PRO line is simply amazing," enthuses Jill. "The elastane material, silky stretch fabric, non-binding sleeves [on the jerseys]....amazing quality." Another key favorite across the PRO and Elite product lines for both genders?  "Check out the flow of kit designs: long continuous line of pattern/color from shoulder, down through jersey and into the shorts pattern."

2012 Pearl Izumi PRO and Elite jerseys for men and women will sport new EZ Vent Zippers for on-the-fly temperature regulation control. Flip-up: one-handed pull easily opens the jersey to where you want it. Flip-down: stays in place.  Easy, right?  Another new feature: the location of elastic gripper exclusive in rear of jersey to hold the back in place. Extraneous grippers in front have been removed to ensure a better, more comfortable fit without "creep up" over torso; this is especially important in women's jerseys for a proper fit that won't ride up over the hips.

Leg bands on Pearl Izumi's line of cycling shorts and bibs have been re-tooled to offer a wider, rather than narrow, gripper on the leg cuff, combating the "sausage effect" too much compression can have on the thigh. Still constructed to provide a truly anatomic feel, Pearl's line of bottoms for both men and women offer more comfort and less constriction for those long days in the saddle.

Speaking of long days in the saddle, Pearl Izumi's "insanely anatomical" Seamless 4D chamois is worth noting.  Rather than constructing a flat chamois, the 3D and 4D chamois (found in both the PRO and Elite versions of men's and women's cycling shorts and bib shorts) are pre-formed and curved for precise anatomic shaping to the rider, then sewn directly into the short. And new foam technology allows for 35% lighter foam chamois, while retaining maximum comfort.

Let's Give Them a HAND

Gloves also received an upgrade for 2012, with small but important changes to the location of the gel padding on the palm. As a means of combating cyclist neuropathy, numbness and tingling in the hands and forearms of riders, Pearl Izumi got together with an orthopedic surgeon and changed the design of their gloves to line the padding directly up with the bony pillars of the hand . This creates a channel for nerves to run through; pressure is now diverted away from the ulnar nerve, decreasing intensity on key pressure points and resulting in a more comfortable, higher-performing cycling glove.

And finally, one last comment about Pearl Izumi's 2012 Women's Elite LTD line: "Our women's kits look and feel amazing," notes Jill as she pulls some of her favorites, such as the Cyclists Femme jersey, off the rack. "[They represent] Fit, Function, and looking' FINE."

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