Pearl Izumi's Transfer Lite SL base layer is a very lightweight way of staying dry and comfortable in warm weather.
It's made from polyester although 50% of that is Minerale polyester that's designed to improve moisture transfer, dry fast and absorb odour. The fabric isn't a mesh but it's as light as one.
The fibres next to your body suck up sweat really well and transport it outwards fast, and the fabric dries in no time, so even if you do get it sticky, it doesn't tend to stay that way for long once you have some air blowing over you.
In terms of odour, it puts in a decent performance, I'd say, in that you don't find yourself stinking offensively mid-ride. As a synthetic, it's never going to take on merino wool in this respect, but then, it's a whole lot lighter. I couldn't say for sure what part the Minerale is playing in this but it doesn't matter really because that technology is within the fibres – it's not something that's going to get washed out so the performance will remain constant over time.
The Transfer Lite SL is cut fairly slim but there's plenty of spring in the weave so it'll stretch easily around all kinds of body shapes. It's cut generously long at the rear so there's no chance of it coming untucked back there and all the seams are flatlock stitched – as they should be on a base layer, if you ask us. Pearl Izumi have even put the manufacturing/care labels on the outside (unobtrusively down at the bottom) where they can't bother you.
This is very much a summer base layer. I reckon it's suitable for rides when the temperature is from the mid-teens centigrade upwards, a bit higher if you're only going to ride at a low intensity, with the usual caveat that you might run hotter than me.
Speaking of running (nice link, huh?), I've used this off the bike too. Many technical T-shirts can get drenched with sweat when running on a hot day and end up just sticking to you. This top dries fast enough to stop that happening in most UK conditions.
The same shirt comes in a short sleeved version for £24.99; a pound per sleeve seems pretty reasonable.
Speaking of running (nice link, huh?), I've used this off the bike too. Many technical T-shirts can get drenched with sweat when you run on a hot day and they end up just sticking to your skin. This top dries fast enough to stop that happening in most UK conditions.
The same shirt comes in a short sleeved version for £24.99; a pound per sleeve seems pretty reasonable to me.
Lightweight summer base layer with impressive moisture-transferring skills.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Pearl izumi Transfer Lite Sleeveless Baselayer
Size tested: M
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?
It's a technical base layer for keeping you dry and comfortable on sweaty summer rides.
Pearl Izumi say, "The Transfer Lite SL is the best selling baselayer in the Pearl Izumi range thanks to its high wicking properties and extremely lightweight
The PRO Transfer Lite fabric with Minerale provides optimal moisture transfer, dry time and odor absorbance
*Tuckable length drop tail
*Crew neck on men's, scoop neck on women's
*Anatomic close-to-body fit
*Weather forecast: Hot and sunny
*Temperature rating: +/- 25 degrees
*Fabrics: 50% Minerale polyester 50% polyester
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Here's the spiel on Minerale: "Minerale fabric uses natural technology derived from minerals. This improves the performance of fabrics by providing exceptional evaporative cooling, odour resistance and added UV protection to keep you more comfortable in any environment... Minerale fabrics can also wick and evaporate moisture quickly and are refreshed with normal washing and drying. the natural technology in Minerale fabrics is inside the fibres so it will not wash off or wear out."
Well made with flatlock stitched seams.
It's superlight stuff.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It moves sweat fast and dries quickly, which is exactly what it's supposed to do.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The technical performance of the fabric and the flatlock seams, plus the fact that they put the labels on the outside.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.