Pearl Izumi Launch Short
- Nice stretchy fabric
- Gripper elastic at waistline
- Huge pockets
- No ventilation
- A bit too baggy
The Pearl Izumi Launch is a very solid choice for aggressive riders who don pads from time to time. It’s conservative and well built and should last more than a few seasons. It comes with a pretty good chamois liner, making it a good value.
The Launch shorts run on the roomy side. They easily fit hip padded shorts, but for cross country riding where you are moving around on the seat a bunch, they might snag—less of an issue with more stand-up style lift riding. I love the grippy elastic strip at the back of the higher waistline to prevent plumber’s crack/slippage. It comes with the 3D tour chamois, a solid, well-fitting liner, though with padding on the slimmer side. The short is very long, with a 15-inch inseam on the mediums.
The launch is a nice, conservative short. It’s athletic looking, with understated colors and a bit on the baggy and long side. You won't stand out wearing these, which might just be your aim.
The loose fit and stretchy fabric make for a comfortable ride. The Launch is a nice short to wear if you are on an all-day expedition (though you’d consider swapping out the liner for something beefier in that case). Reasonably breathable, though not the top choice for a hot day due to their heavier fabric.
The Launch has three zippered pockets, and they are all enormous. The rubber-tabbed zipper pulls are easy to operate, even with gloves on. There is no waist tightening system, apart from the belt loops, but the elastic strip on the back waistline makes up for that, even if you weigh down the pockets with snacks and a phone.
These shorts are meant to protect (while not being too heavy and burly). The long inseam should keep the trail rash to a minimum if it comes to crashing, and the looser fit will interface well with all manner of pads. It’s cut from a very stretchy, very durable fabric.
How We Tested It
The shorts in this test were used while riding on trails around Sedona and Tucson, Arizona as well as Moab, Utah in the fall of 2016. Temperatures ranged from the high 40s to high 70s.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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