Already an excellent shoe, Pearl Izumi’s X-Project is getting an update that should make it even better. At the top of the range, the X-Project 1.0 receives a complete face lift for the uppers that includes the introduction of Boa reels in the place of the previous velcro straps and P.R.O. buckle. The improvements to the X-Project line are indicative of Pearl’s complete reset of the mountain bike apparel line for 2015 with improved function, better fit, and revised colors.
Combined with improvements and a fresh color palette on the road and tri side of the business, 2015 is looking like a great year for Pearl Izumi. Details on some of the highlights next…
In addition to the seamless upper now found on the 1.0, one of the biggest changes would have to be the new dual Boa Ip-1 dials. First seen on the Pearl Izumi Tejay van Garderen Limited Edition road shoes, the Ip-1 reels allow you to tighten or loosen the shoe by twisting the reel in either direction. This is a pretty major improvement over the original Boa system where you had to release the Boa completely to loosen, then snap and tighten to the desired tension. Along with the increased functionality of the Ip-1 dial, the location of the two reels on the tongue of the shoe should also improve durability since you won’t be catching them on rocks as you ride by. The tongue mounted reel on the Tejay shoe have proven to be comfortable so we don’t expect any issues from the 1.0.
The sole of the X-projects stays the same – a super walkable shoe that still is very pedal efficient and offers great traction off the bike.
The X-Project 2.0 also gets an update with an improved upper and a single Boa IP-1 reel at the top of the shoe in addition to a lower velcro strap.
Female mountain bikers will have their own version of the X-Project 2.0 which only differs in fit and color.
Continuing with trickle down improvements in the shoe department, the new Elite Road should be a hit for PI. Created with a Seamless Upper, carbon sole, Boa IP-1 dial and velcro strap, the Elites should offer much of the performance found in the P.R.O. Leader IIs, but at the $200 price point.
Kicking off a major reset for their mountain apparel line, PI starts 2015 with a completely new range of men’s cothing along with updates and new pieces for women. Divided mostly into two categories, PI will offer more XC oriented pieces along with a line designed to “pedal over pads” meaning they are designed to fit over body armor for the more gravity inclined among us.
Among the highlights are the new MTB Rain Jacket and MTB Bib Liner. The Rain Jacket is cut from waterproof fabric but the jacket itself is rated as water resistant since it does not include taped seams. This was done to keep the cost down at $175 and offer better packability, but we’re told the jacket will still keep you fairly dry in a downpour. The hood-over-helmet design includes a rear vent to allow air to pass through which will both keep the hood in place and allow venting under your lid.
The new Bib Liner is designed to integrate with any of the new mountain bike shorts and is constructed from mesh with their Elite level Chamois. The Liner should compete with other MTB bibs with a built in fly, and 3 rear pockets for storage and a retail of $100.
In other news Pearl Izumi is now offering a full line of gear through their Speed Shop custom program that allows you to personalize the same gear the pros wear. That means that instead of cheap, ill fitting kits, your team will not only look good but feel good in gear that offers a true performance race fit and true aero advantages. The full custom program carries a 6 piece minimum for individual styles (like a pair of shorts or jersey) so you can mix and match to get to the 50 piece order minimum.
If you like the new colors you can thank PI’s new color specialist who was brought on to improve the color story across the board. Products like the Road Leader Jersey ($160) and Pro Leader Short ($195, above right) are offered in both fun colors like the blue, red, and orange above, or more traditional black, red, and white. Riders more concerned with visibility will be happy to see a new range of Green Flash gear which attempts at blending eye catching colors with some style.