We tested the Pearl Izumi Launch on forest trails in the Netherlands, temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees with high humidity, and on mountain trails in Spain, temperatures beween 30 -35 degrees, sometimes on dry days, others quite humid.
After deciding I wasn’t really happy with the MTB shorts by Alpine Stars I had bought (and reviewed) before, I went online looking for a new set. I came across the Pearl Izumi that I chose primariy because I thought it just looked good. I could always send it back if I wasn’t satisfied with the fit. I read a lot of positive reviews on the shorts so I decided I was on the safe side.
When I received the shorts I was a bit surprised by the colour; the one I ordered online wasn’t quite as extremely blue as I thought it would be. (Never trust colours online). The material the Launch is made of was completely different then the Alpine Stars. Whereas the former had a very sturdy black, even heavy materiaal, a mix of polyester, mesh and spandex, the fabric of Izumi pants is of a very light stretch blended nylon ripstop. Because of the stretch the shorts are very comfortable to wear.
Generally the fabric wicks well and stay sufficiently dry. There was one particular ride I did, f about 2,5 3 hours at temperatures topping 35 degrees celsius, in which I sweated to profusely sweat soaked just about everything I was wearing, including every square centimeter of the shorts. So there are limits to what the fabric could handle.
They are long enough and wide enough at the bottom to easily cover the top of my kneepads. There is a easy waist adjustment system that actually works quite well. In my case if I didn’t have them tight enough, the shorts would sag just bit and then your crotch can get caught on the saddle. So really important to keep the shorts riding high enough around the waist.
The launch comes with a detachable liner with “3d Tour Chamois” which is a tight fit, and at first felt rather thin, but on longer rides they worked surprisingly well. Being able to take out the liner also means you can wear the shorts as just casual shorts if you would want to. It sports two zippered hand pockets and one zippered thigh pocket. The hand pockets were actually large enough to fit in a small handpump when I went out without backpack. So that’s good.
Along the thighs Pearl Izumi has placed to vertical zippers which you can open for extra ventilation. At the temperatures I rode in this was really great. In the video reviews we did of POC protective gear, you can see me riding with the Launch. They were and are my goto shorts for al MTB outings.