My butt is warm. It’s 46 degrees outside in Boulder, Colorado; the streets are lined with leftover snow from a recent storm, and after spending an hour rolling around the city on two wheels — my butt is warm. Keeping your butt dry and warm while adventuring outside in cold, wet weather is a crucial component to having a good time. I spent hours on top of hours this summer chasing rolling hills and barreling over gravel trails on my new cross bike, so when the seasons started to change and the cold fronts starting edging in, I started searching for a solid pair of cycling tights that would comfortably keep me in the saddle throughout the winter as well. Enter PEARL iZUMi’s ELITE Escape AmFIB Cycling Tights. The cycling company’s hardiest cycling tights come in both women’s-specific and men’s sizing and will absolutely keep your butt warm and dry during your cycling adventures this winter.
MSRP: $145 Women’s / $160 Men’s
Pros: The ELITE Escape AmFIB Cycling Tights are loaded with features that promise to keep cyclists comfortably riding during cold weather months. For starters, the Chamois is free floating and adjusts as you shift in the saddle. It isn’t bulky, and provides an excellent level of comfort, no matter how many miles you put in. The waistband is also a nice feature. It’s designed on the wide side to provide all around support, and made with an incredibly soft fleece material — which serves as a nice little touch of comfort, regardless of the length and level of toughness of your rides. Each pant leg features a seven inch zipper with a zipper garage at the bottom, which allows the rider to easily create ventilation when needed, and also fits the tights comfortably and securely over whatever sock/cycling shoe combo is preferred. It’s also extremely helpful for short people like myself, who always struggle with pants and tights being too long. The inclusion of the zipper eliminates the nuisance of extra material potentially falling over my shoe or getting snagged up. But while the pants offer many well thought-out details to add overall comfort, it’s the combination of water shedding PI Dry™ thermal fleece and soft shell fabrics that make the ELITE Escape AmFIBs a great go-to tight for cold weather cycling. The ELITE soft shell fabric that makes up the exterior of the cycling tights does an great job of keeping water and mud exactly where it should be: on the outside of your pants. When you blast through that puddle of water, you don’t have to worry about the backsplash seeping through the tights. For the most part, the pants also do a pretty decent job of keeping wind at bay. It’s a durable fabric and will hold up to rugged elements you’ll encounter while riding in the wintertime. The fabric is bulked up in key exposure areas for an extra layer of protection, and scaled back in strategic areas to allow for more breathability. The interior of the cycling tights are made up of thermal fleece, and feel like slipping into a comfortable pair of sweat pants every time you put them on. The fabric features a water-shedding PI Dry™ technology, designed to stay breathable and comfortable in temperatures ranging from 30 degrees to 45 degrees. My first day out on the bike this season was on a cold 32-degree day. The combination of fabrics in the ELITE Escape AmFIB Cycling Tights kept me warm, save for a few fast downhills where the wind started to creep in. Although the tights are obviously thicker than your average pair of cycling tights, the extra material served it’s purpose effectively without constricting movement. My second ride in these tights was on a 50 degree sunny day following a snowstorm. Although PEARL iZUMi suggests maximum comfort in that 30 to 45 degree temperature range, the pants still kept the chilly air out and the warmth in without providing too much warmth for the sunny day. In the end, these cycling tights have certainly been a motivational boost for days when I’d rather stay cozied up in slippers and sweatshirts than brave the elements on a bike. They’re warm, will keep you dry, and offer the kind of seamless comfort that is necessary to fully enjoy long rides in the winter.
Cons: Regardless of the temperature outside, every time I’ve donned these pants I’ve had an issue of sweat building up in the thigh area and lower legs about 30ish minutes in — which stays trapped inside of the fleece fabric throughout the duration of the ride. Since the soft shell exterior does a pretty good job of keep wind at bay, that thin layer of sweat isn’t that big of a deal, except in the areas on the tights designed to offer more breathability, like the sides of the upper thighs. On fast descents, the wind can certainly creep in those areas, and coupled with a little moisture trapped in by the fleece, can add a little chill to any ride. It’s a con that definitely isn’t a deal breaker on my opinion of the cycling tights, but has been noticeable each time I’ve pedaled out in the ELITE Escape AmFIB Cycling Tights.
Where We Took It: On road rides in and around Boulder, Colorado in temperatures ranging from 32 degrees to 50 degrees.