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Pearl Izumi Women’s Sugar Thermal Cycling Tight Review

So, there is cycling in the cold, and there is cycling in the COLD.

When it’s a bit chilly, say 40+ degrees Fahrenheit, you are likely going to find yourself reaching for some kind of tight, but you won’t really care which ones because it will likely keep you warm enough. 

Sugar Tight Front Side

As you start to dip below 40 degrees, though, you are going to want something a little bit warmer!This is where the Pearl Izumi Women’s Sugar Thermal Cycling Tight really shines.

These tights will keep you WARM. They are fleece-lined, soft, and absolutely perfect for days when it is truly cold outside.

I generally only ride in warmer temperatures because I absolutely HATE being cold.Still, sometimes indoor rides just aren’t doing it for me in the winter, and I have to get out there on the road!

I can confidently say that each and every time that it’s truly cold out I will absolutely be reaching for the Pearl Izumi Women’s Sugar Thermal Cycling Tight. 

If you are interested in learning more about why these are my favorite tights for cold weather, read on for an in-depth review of the Pearl Izumi Women’s Sugar Tight! 

Please note: This is a review for the Women’s Sugar Thermal Cycling Tight. They also have a Women’s Sugar Thermal Tight that is slightly less expensive but does NOT have a chamois. That can still work if you have a padded pair of cycling underwear that you want to wear underneath.


Review in a Nutshell

Pros:

  • Fleece lined, so these thermal tights are WARM and comfortable. 
  • A substantial chamois that will keep your butt happy for those longer rides. 
  • Incredibly flattering lines with a wide waistband so there is no roll. I love the way I look in these tights. 
  • Not one, but two side pockets for your phone and other flatter items.
  • Price is VERY reasonable for a long tight. At press time this tight is even on sale! 
  • Reflective accents are great for visibility AND attractive. 
  • Comes in black AND a couple of vibrant colors if you like to spice up your cycling wardrobe. 

Cons:

  • These run SMALL. It even says so right in the description! You will definitely want to size up. I did not do this, and I really wish I did. I not only felt a little too squeezed in, but they were challenging to pull up. As a result, even though these tights are technically offered in XXL they end up being less size inclusive than they seem. 
  • I found that I actually sweat a bit more in the chamois area than with bike shorts. This is likely due to a combination of the fleece lining and the chamois being of different material than higher end Pearl Izumi options. 
  • They are not rated to a particular temp that I can see which is disappointing. It would be helpful to know if there is a temp that would be too cold for these tights to keep you warm. 

Price & Where to Buy:


Very Warm Cold Weather Tight That Does the Job at a Reasonable Price 

Sometimes you just want to ride in the cold, and want a warm tight. The Pearl Izumi Women’s Sugar Tight is absolutely PERFECT for this.

Sugar Tight Selfie 2

These tights are no fuss, fleece lined, and WARM.  Though other parts of my body were feeling the cold weather, my legs were incredibly warm.

In fact, I would almost say that the chamois area was a bit too warm. I found that I was sweating a bit more in the crotch than I normally do in tights. This may also have a bit to do with the tight fit which I will address later. 

I will say that the Pearl Izumi Sugar Thermal Cycling Tight has a really great waistband that stays up and doesn’t roll, which is always a must…but especially important in winter!

Literally no one wants their tights rolling down under their belly and making their belly cold. Granted I was wearing a base layer and a cold weather jacket, but, still. I want as many layers on as much of my person as possible! 

Great Style and Reflector Detail 

There’s nothing worse than pulling on a pair of cycling tights and having them be unflattering. That tends to be a deal breaker for me. I will likely only end up wearing shorts or tights once or twice if they don’t look good and feel good. 

These tights are styled VERY well. They have awesome lines and look great. They have a bit of compression which borders on being too tight for me personally, but I really appreciate the streamlined appearance.

There is a smattering of really nice reflective cloth on these tights as well. I really appreciate that they are not only reflective, but there was thought put into the style of the reflective material.

Also, though I am a bit of a traditionalist and opted for the plain black, I absolutely LOVE that these tights come in fun colors!

There is nothing like a little splash of color in the winter to brighten things up a bit. If I did more cold weather riding I would definitely consider picking up another pair! 

Sugar Tight Reflector Detail

And, There’s POCKETS!  

Additionally, the Pearl izumi Women’s Sugar Thermal Cycling Tight has not one, but two side pockets. I have found that I no longer can tolerate leggings in my daily life that don’t have pockets, but they are even more necessary for me in a winter tight.

Sugar Tight Full Leg Outdoor

I don’t always wear a jacket in the winter when cycling that has pockets, so I very much need these side pockets for my phone and a snack. With just one pocket it gets pretty tight (my other pair of cycling leggings only has one pocket), but with two I have space for everything I need when I am on the bike in the winter.

Things do feel more awkward in leg pockets than they do in jacket pockets, but this is a small price to pay if it’s the only option to carry your phone and snacks!

They Run Small and Don’t Have a Lot of Give  

First of all the description of the Pearl Izumi Women’s Sugar Thermal Cycling Tight acknowledges that the tight runs small. You will need to size up.

Now this is normally no big deal for me because I don’t mind sizing up when necessary. However, I either missed this in the description while ordering, or it was added later.

As a result, I could squeeze myself in these tights, but it was definitely a squeeze. My other pairs of bike shorts and tights by and large are just a lot less restrictive in comparison.

I find that fleece is usually less stretchy than just spandex types of material, so it’s possible that the fact that these are fleece-lined is the culprit. 

The real problem with this is that not only did the tights feel, well, tight, and involve quite a bit of shimmying to get into them, but I additionally found that I couldn’t quite pull them up high enough around my hips.

Additionally, by having people size down in these tights, it means that they only really run through XL, not XXL, which makes them even less size inclusive. Many brands are offering sizing more regularly in at least XXXL. Pearl Izumi seems to have some of their offerings available in XXXL on the website.

Not all offerings are available in XXXL, though, and not the Women’s Sugar Thermal Cycling Tight.

Also, I should mention that these were the perfect length for me, but I normally need a petite size in tights. As a result, if you are on the taller side, you may find that these tights don’t go down quite far enough. This problem can be solved with a warm, high sock, but it’s just something to be aware of. 

Chamois is Substantial, but a Little Too Warm  

As a result of not being able to get my tights high enough, the chamois wasn’t as snug around my bum and my lady parts as I would like.

Between this and the fact that the chamois isn’t as breathable as it is in other tights, I was sweating in that area more than usual. For a shorter ride this isn’t a big deal, but if I were doing a 20+ mile ride I might end up with a rash or chafing. 

One thing that I absolutely love about all Pearl Izumi Chamois is that they are always on the thicker side. And not so thick that it becomes a diaper normally.

This is a huge plus, because there is nothing worse than being on a long bike right and having a sore bum because your chamois isn’t giving you enough padding.

The problem with the chamois that they put in their lower end tights and shorts, though, is that it seems to be a little less breathable, at least for me. I think that this, combined with not quite getting the right fit, is what led to the chamois hanging down instead of fitting snugly against my bum and lady parts.  

Bottom-Line: Affordable and Warm

This tight is a very affordable, warm tight to wear in cold weather. Even when it is full price it is significantly less than many other tights of similar quality. 

The materials used are definitely not the same materials that are used in the higher end Pearl Izumi shorts and tights, and the chamois is not as nice either, but that is to be expected at this price point. 

Overall I would definitely pick up a pair of the Pearl Izumi Women’s Sugar Thermal Cycling Tights. When you need a warm thermal tight for a winter ride, these will certainly do exactly what you are looking for. 

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About The Reviewer

stacy smith

Stacy Ann Smith is a New England-based cyclist who strives to stay upright on her bike.  She is the founder of Sascy Cycling, and her mission is to encourage women to love their body and focus on what it can do, not what it looks like.  When Stacy’s not cycling she is teaching high school history and eating pizza with her husband and son.

IG: @sascycycling

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