This Spring Pearl Izumi launched a new Dirt collection for both men and women. The new Versa casual gear is just as trendy on a MTB trail as it is on a bike path or on your commuter bike running errands. To get a feel for the line, Pearl Izumi sent me some key pieces from the collection to test.
They performed very well, incorporated thoughtful touches, had an earthy vibe, as well as reflective elements to keep you safe. All the pieces in the line are affordably prices and because they can be used off the bike, makes it that much more attractive. My favorite pieces by far were the X-Alp Launch flat pedal shoes and Performance T.
X-Alp Launch Flat Pedal shoes
The X-Alp Launch are PI’s first venture into flat pedal shoes and they nailed it!!! I put them on, hopped on my fat tire bike and headed for the trails. The soles of these shoes are very grippy (Vibram® Megagrip rubber outsoles) so my foot stayed in place with every pedal stroke. Translation….more power to the pedal. They are also light weight at 340g men’s/295g women’s for the flat pedal version.
The toe box is rounded and roomy with a reinforced toe cap for added protection on the trail. The toe and heal area have open, chevron shaped lugs with Vibram® Megagrip compound for traction and durability.
The style of these shoes makes them perfect for on or off the bike. I ran some errands on my bike and didn’t feel awkward walking around in “cycling” shoes. They look very urban chic with traditional lace closures and a neutral tone. The stiff soles did feel a little clunky at first but I got used to walking around in them. I wouldn’t walk long distances in them but great for running errands.
Sizing runs a tad small so consult the PI sizing chart when ordering. I fit in my standard size, but could have used a ¼” more in length. A half size would have been too big. When I checked out customer reviews, there were a number of folks mentioning they had to purchase a larger size.
The X-Alp Launch is available in both men’s (sizes 39-49) and women’s (sizes 36-43) as well as flat pedal or SPD versions. The price point for these shoes are very competitive.
Performance T – Men’s and Women’s
They named this t-shirt perfectly – Performance. I tested this basic tee on the bike and hiking in Tucson. The Transfer Dry fabric wicked moisture away to keep me dry and cool. Both women’s and men’s versions are semi-form fitted giving room to move but not flapping in the wind. The tee is designed with a slight drop tail to provide better coverage. With a 60-100 degrees F rating, I worn this tee up into the 90s with positive results. It kept me dry and comfortable.
These tees are available in men’s and XS-XL in women’s, and S-XXL for men.
Versa Short – Men’s and Women’s
These relax-fit shorts are available in both men’s and women’s versions. The men’s have a longer inseam, but both are water-resistant and can take you from a trail ride to a casual lunch in style. There is no chamois in either model, but the gusseted crotch is designed to keep seams away from sensitive areas. For a bike short, I’d have preferred the women’s version have a longer inseam than 6.75”. Both versions come with belt loops and you can keep items secure in either of the two rear or single side pockets with zipper closures.
Shorts are available in men’s sizes (28-38) and women’s sizes (4-14)
Pearl Izumi’s Dirt line lets you extend your cycling budget with gear that can be worn on and off the bike. The earthy tones and a vibe that doesn’t scream cycling makes it easy to transition from trail ride to lunch date. The clothing has good wicking qualities to keep you dry and all items have subtle reflective details to keep you safe in low light.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.