The Pearl Izumi Pro Mesh Jersey functions superbly, using a combination of PRO Transfer In-R-Cool mesh for the main body that provides excellent ventilation and PRO Aero fabric for wind-cheating benefits. It's a very comfortable summer cycling top that is perfect for both long training rides and aggressive racing.
As the name suggests, the Pro Mesh has been designed to provide high ventilation on hot summer rides. I tested the jersey in spring, but with temperatures reaching 25°C it was a good test of its abilities, and I found the fabric did indeed keep me cool on long rides and hard climbs.
With aerodynamics also playing a part, the jersey is designed to be close fitting and as a result I found the size medium snug around both the chest and the arms – perfect for going flat out on the local rolling roads. While I cannot comment on the specific aerodynamics of the jersey, the close fit along with the high level of ventilation mean you could definitely race effectively in this.
The sleeves are made of PRO Transfer Aero fabric using Pearl Izumi's patented Speed Sleeve construction, a combination that it says smooths airflow around the bicep and over the shoulder to reduce aerodynamic drag. That might be so, but I did find them slightly on the short side, despite PI describing the jersey as having 'longer to-the-elbow' sleeves. I did find their adherence very effective, though – the silicone gripper offers a seamless transition onto the skin and the sleeves held in place throughout rides.
The seams do face forwards on the arm, which – in my opinion – rather takes away from the visuals of the jersey that are otherwise stunning. I really like the look – especially worn with the matching Pro Bib Shorts.
As with the sleeves, the bottom of the jersey is held in place well by the patterned silicone gripper.
The full-length zip comes with a semi auto lock feature which I found particularly effective on hotter days, so partially unzipping your jersey can be effectively modulated.
The three big pockets at the back are easy to access, but even over a short test period they have slowly begun to lose their elasticity and have become slightly baggier. This is a little disappointing on high-end kit, and isn't likely to help the jersey's aerodynamics.
At £124.99, the jersey sits towards the higher end of the market and looks a bit expensive compared with the Castelli Aero Race 6.0 Jersey at £110 and Sportful Bodyfit Pro 2.0 Evo Jersey at £90, both of which offer high levels of ventilation as well as being aerodynamic.
Overall, this is a great jersey for hot, fast rides and looks great paired with the matching bib shorts in the same cosmic black. It isn't as good value as some rivals, and the pocket stretch is a bit disappointing, but on a hot summer's day when you're sprinting for a sign/line it'll won't hold you back.
High-performance jersey with bags of ventilation and aerodynamic features
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pearl Izumi Pro Mesh Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Pearl Izumi says: "Originally created for Pro Tour racers seeking every advantage over a three-week stage race, we combined class leading aerodynamic design with highly breathable mesh to make the ultimate high-performance summer jersey. It uses a longer to-the-elbow sleeve made from our exclusive PRO Transfer Aero fabric and patented Speed Sleeve construction, which together smooth airflow around the bicep and over the shoulder to reduce aerodynamic drag. A classic three back pocket layout is enhanced with our bellow design, so you can comfortably load up for long days."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Pearl Izumi lists:
PRO Transfer In-R-Cool® mesh main body for maximum breathability and quick drying
PRO Aero fabric in key leading-edge areas reduces aerodynamic drag
Patented anatomic Speed Sleeve construction optimizes fit in the cycling position
Longer to-the-elbow sleeves reduce drag around upper arms
Compressive feel for on-the-bike performance
Clean raw-edge mesh arm openings for seamless transition to skin
Low neckline for hot weather comfort
Full-length semi-auto lock zipper can be flipped up and pulled open with one hand for easy venting
Three back pockets
The jersey is well put together with no fraying seams.
The PRO Transfer In-R-Cool mesh main body meant I kept cool at all times, while cutting through the wind effectively.
The jersey has generally held up well during testing, with the exception of the elastic on the back pockets.
Fits true to size but expect a snug fit as this is an aerodynamic jersey.
The jersey sits towards the higher end of the market, but as a critical piece of cycling attire it performs well and can be used for racing and general training as well as indoor riding, which helps justify the cost.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
It's been washed at 30 degrees and has maintained its shape and fit.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's versatile and performs well both for racing and general training in a range of temperatures.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I really like the design, especially when paired with the matching bib shorts.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
My main gripe with this jersey is losing the elastic on the back pockets over consecutive uses.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's £15 more than the Castelli Aero Race 6.0 Jersey and £35 more than the Sportful Bodyfit Pro 2.0 Evo.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
I really like this jersey as it fits well and functions faultlessly both in the heat and smashing it in the chain gang. It's very good, but it is a bit expensive compared with rivals, and a few issues like the sleeves and the pockets stop it achieving a higher score.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCR My best bike is: Giant Trinty
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, club rides, the occasional bit of track