Having cold hands can start with cold wrists; cold wrists can start with a cold core. The Pearl Izumi Transfer Wool LS Cyc Baselayer features a lovely merino wool blend with plenty of length in the arms and torso. I was pleasantly surprised to be warm but not clammy, even after some hard efforts.
The Transfer is made with two different blends for front and rear. The front is made from 86% merino wool and 14% nylon; the rear is 62% polyester and 38% merino wool. The make-up of each section is designed to meet their different requirements.
The front features a heavier concentration of merino wool as this is the area that faces most windchill when riding. As a result, it feels very soft and wonderfully warm on a chilly morning; my core, especially, felt well protected, which does a lot to keep everything else warm.
The rear of the baselayer is designed to stretch with your position. My size medium came with plenty of length, meaning my lower back was kept warm. This can help remedy a range of problems from back pain to digestive issues, so it's something to consider if you suffer.
The sleeves have definitely been designed for cycling, with extra length to help cover the wrists. There are also hand 'stirrups', so the sleeves don't get pushed halfway up your arm when you put on your jersey/jacket. I left these looped over my thumb when I wore gloves and it kept the baselayer in place over my wrists with no discomfort. The material on the sleeves is a soft mesh, and it worked really well to regulate my temperature.
In terms of fit the baselayer is quite snug, but with the stretch in the material it should suit a wide range of body shapes.
The stitching is robust yet comfortable, with a nice flat profile. It is very well constructed, which is what you'd expect for £60. The price does put this in direct competition with premium brands such as Rapha and Castelli. The styling is a little less attractive in my opinion, but that's in the eye of the beholder, and it is a garment that'll stay hidden from view, mostly.
For my early morning commute, I simply paired this with a long-sleeve jersey on dry days or a rain jacket for the miserable weather. I also took it out for a cyclo-cross training session. With hard efforts and lots of muddy running, I thought I might get quite hot and clammy, but the long sleeves and wool blend kept me perfectly dry and comfortable, a fact I only noticed at the cafe stop.
Overall, this technical baselayer does a very good job of insulating you and also keeping you dry. The long sleeves with hand-loops will be a particularly welcome feature for those with long arms.
Versatile baselayer with very long sleeves and good performance
road.cc test report
Make and model: Pearl Izumi Men's Transfer Wool LS Cyc Baselayer
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
From Pearl Izumi: "The best piece to have next to your skin as part of a layering system for riding in damp or wet conditions. This baselayer combines high quality Merino wool and moisture-wicking polyester in a strategic blend for exceptional performance. Its cycling specific shape, thumb loops if you need to seal in the warmth, and soft merrow seams create a comfortable foundation for cold weather and changing conditions."
I found it comfortable with good temperature regulation.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
P.R.O. Transfer Dry Merino provides optimal moisture transfer, dry time and odor absorption
Cycling specific fit with rotated sleeve construction
Anatomic 'close–to–body' fit
Front: 86% Merino wool 14% nylon, Back: 62% polyester 38% Merino wool, Imported
The stitching is flat and comfortable.
The baselayer kept me warm and dealt with temperature changes perfectly.
I had no issues with loose threads and it managed a lot of shouldering of a bike during my cyclo-cross sessions.
The fit is close but has a good amount of stretch. People with short arms might find this has too much length in the sleeves.
It's what you'd expect of this type of baselayer. Not super lightweight but not bulky either.
The form fit and wool blend mean this is very comfy. The long sleeves mean those with shorter arms might find bunching at the elbows uncomfortable.
It's about what I'd expect to pay for a good quality merino blend baselayer.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy to wash. No tumble drying wasn't an issue as it dries quickly when hung.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. It kept me warm without making me overly sweaty.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Technically it did exactly what it claimed.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not keen on the styling.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, I'm not keen on the styling.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
This baselayer did what it claimed to do and kept me warm without being uncomfortably sweaty.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rose Xeon RS My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.