Mountain Gear

60-Second Tech: Pearl Izumi Knee Warmers

Depending on where you ride, mornings and evenings may still call for warmth

As a cyclist living at 6,000 feet above sea level, I find myself donning extra layers of clothing at the beginning or end of a ride on an almost daily basis; sometimes even in the middle of summer.

MSRP: $35
Pros: Nylon face sheds elements; Good range of motion; Reflective logos
Cons: Tended to creep down thighs on bumpy singletrack.
Material: 58% nylon, 27% polyester, 15% spandex

These layers need to be light, packable and easy to put on/take off as needed. For me, a piece of clothing that gets used on more rides than not is a pair of knee warmers.

Lately I’ve been employing the use of Pearl Izumi Thermal knee warmers and my knees have yet to grumble. To start, the warmers have nice articulation to them, which means that after thousands upon thousands of pedal strokes they don’t get all bunched up in my knee pits.

Next is the fact that Pearl’s thermal fleece is oh-so warm, which keeps my precious knee joints nice and toasty as I climb out of the river canyon on a chilly morning while probably pushing too big a gear.

If the weather turns out to be more “epic” than the ride itself you’ll be glad these puppies also have a nylon layer built in the front to shed the elements. Add to this some small reflective bits on the warmers for those days when your ride time slightly exceeded that of the sun and you’ve got yourself one great piece of riding gear that no cyclist should be without.

I used these knee warmers for everything from a quick commute into town to a seven-hour singletrack epic. My only complaint is that occasionally I found them creeping down my thighs, especially on bumpy singletrack. That’s probably due to the absence of any “leg gripper” type material (a stock feature found on other models) on the upper part of the warmers. This didn’t happen all the time, but was a nuisance on a few occasions. My advice would be that when in doubt size down for a more snug fit.