Review: Pearl Izumi Rove Flannel

Striking a balance between function and fashion.  

Functional and fashionable: that's the balance all apparel companies are trying to strike these days. And why not? These are leisure-time activities, right? Why should we be less comfortable in our riding kit than we are in a suit and tie? (As you might of guessed, we aren't suit-and-tie types.) And why shouldn't something we ride in be something we can work in, or socialize in?

The short answer: the two are no longer mutually exclusive. While some companies go to great lengths overdesigning or under-functioning a piece, Pearl Izumi has struck the proper balance with their long-sleeve Rove flannel. It's got just enough function and it's trying too hard in the fashion department.

Pearl Izumi Rove
Nothing says fall like campfires and flannels

The Rove is part of Pearl Izumi's recently launched BikeStyle collection, an assortment of products designed to fit in on the trail and at the bar. While I'm of the mind that bike shorts have no place on your body after a long, sweaty ride, the Rove is worn a safe distance from the nether regions, and therefore warrants consideration for happy hour attire.

On the trail, it fits snug but not tight, which I like because there isn't a lot of extra material to get snagged or bunch up. It's lightweight, but still provides insulation when the fall sun dips below a western ridgeline or a wind blows in from the north. A single chest pocket snaps shut, giving you easy access to a snack or your phone, and the polyester fabric feels as soft as cashmere for next-to-skin comfort.

The Rove pulls moisture away from your skin quickly and dries fast, too. Because the material is polyester, you won't want to wear this in the heat of a summer day, then amble into your favorite watering hole—but it's nice to keep in the pack for chilly, sweak-soaked descents. On a recent climb up Sypes, it breathed well enough on the uphill and was the perfect amount of protection coming down.

While our trails around town might be done for the season, this will be a staple out at Copper City until the snow flies for real.