The jersey game is pretty simple. It fits or it doesn't. The weight is right or it's not. Rarely does a jersey warrant much thought other than, "Oh! It's clean-ish! That'll do!" The Pearl Izumi Launch Thermal jersey is traditional in the sense that it wears easily, but modern in its little nuances that add up to something kinda badass.

We've plunged headfirst into this dark, dank time called winter. Days are short, wet, and cold, and that often means our rides are the same. The Launch jersey attempts to thwart the doldrums of a dreary day in a number of ways. The most noticeable is a soft fleece lining along the inside of the arms and back that keeps imminent sweat from chilling you down when you stop for a quick safety meeting.

Pearl Izumi Launch Thermal Jersey

The Launch Thermal was perfectly suited to the cool autumn temperatures we were treated to during this year’s Bible of Bike Tests in East Burke, VT. Photo: Reuben Krabbe

When I first wore the jersey in the chilly Vermont autumn, I thought it would have made more sense to line the front instead of the back. However, I'm someone who runs a bit warm and when I'm suffering up a seriously long climb, I actually really enjoy the flow of air through the unlined jersey front. The warm sleeves and back are a perfect balance to the cool air that does sneak through the front. I was initially concerned that the jersey would just stay wet throughout the ride, but its fabric and airflow allow for sweat to evaporate quickly and help temperature regulation.

Pearl Izumi Launch Thermal Jersey

Details: Pearl Izumi Launch Thermal Jersey

Fleece-lined inner arms and back
Hidden optical cloth
100% Polyester
MSRP: $75

With a V-neck collar and catchy graphics, the jersey also nabs frequent compliments from my riding friends. It's bright enough to be noticeable, but it doesn't scream for attention. The cuffs fit snugly and are plenty long, not allowing air to come through the arms, but are also stretchy enough that you can pull them up on your forearms if you do start to overheat. As with many jerseys, the back is slightly longer than the front keeping mud from finding its way into your pants. The designers also stitched a handy lens wipe on the internal seam to help keep your sight lines clean.

At $75 the jersey is a bit pricier than some other long-sleeved pieces, but I've found that it's the piece I've worn the most since the mercury took a dive a few months ago. Fear not the cold! The Launch jersey has your back all through the winter.


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