Review of Peré Performance winter clothing
06 December 2013
We published a “first look” article a few weeks ago soon after receiving a set of Peré’s winter clothing. Adults already have a wide choice of effective winter clothing but there’s not much junior quality clothing available for cold, wet conditions. Our first impressions of the Peré kit were very encouraging, and we’ve tested it thoroughly since then.
Long Sleeve Top (£25), Winter Cycle Tight (£49), Winter Cycle Jacket (£65), Rain Jacket (£59)
Age 9-10 years
Peré Performance Wear – www.pereperformance.com
About the clothing
Despite the boom in youth cycling there’s still little choice of quality winter clothing for children. Kids who are members of clubs might well have access to a few items in club colours, but that doesn’t usually include tights or rain jackets. Companies like Endura and Polaris make good waterproof jackets, but there’s plenty of room in the market for competition.
We tested a long sleeved base layer, a pair of winter bib-tights, a winter jacket, and a rain jacket. The clothing is not cheap, but it’s on a par with typical club clothing and with mid-range adult equivalent clothing.
Other items in Peré’s range include shorts & jerseys, as well as triathlon and running clothing for children. The company makes products solely for children aged 5 to 12 years old.
There’s no choice of colour for Peré’s clothing but we don’t think anyone is going to worry much about that – the vibrant colours with contrasting details and reflective logos are very attractive, and the clothes drew plenty of compliments during our testing. They’re very noticeable on public roads too.
About our test
If you want to judge the sizing and fit of the clothes tested, you should know that our ten-year-old tester is 1.40 m tall and weighs 32 kg. The size worn was “Age 9-10 years”.
The clothing was worn at many coaching sessions in temperatures ranging from just above freezing to 10 deg C, in dry weather and wet. Mother Nature helpfully laid on the St Jude storm for us to judge the Peré kit’s windproof qualities…
All the clothing was used during the warm-ups of several cyclocross races and duathlons. The tights and the base layer were also worn during the colder races too.
Quality, fit and performance
Peré’s size of “Age 9-10” matched the size of our tester very well. The two jackets’ arm length, body length and body width all fitted very well. Good cycling clothing is designed to fit best in the riding position and Peré’s designers have clearly worked on this – there are no folds of excess material and the clothes don’t ruck up. The arms of the jackets reach correctly and they don’t ride up when holding the handlebars.
In very poor weather our tester wore the rain jacket on top of the winter jacket, a short-sleeved jersey and the Peré base layer – there was just enough room for it on top of all those layers, but you might want to order the rain jacket in the next size up if your child is at the top end of the age-range. The rain jacket is made from very lightweight material and it fits closely so there’s no flapping material at speed to slow the rider down. Like the best adult rain jackets, it has a short front and a long tail at the rear, extending far enough down to protect the rider well from mud or rain thrown up from the rear tyre.
We were impressed with the performance of the rain jacket – it kept the rider dry and appeared to be highly breathable even during hard training sessions. Because it is ultra-light and allows good freedom of movement our test rider chose it as a top layer for most activities, and he just varied the number of layers worn beneath it according to weather conditions.
The rain jacket has a couple of front zipped vertical hand pockets (which our tester never needed to use) and a rear zipped horizontal pocket which is handy for putting a snack or race licence in. The rear pocket cleverly also doubles up as a carrying pouch for the jacket. The pouch also has an integrated webbing strap and quick-release buckle to attach it to the rider’s waist.
Peré has fitted quite a thin, fine zip, presumably so that the jacket stays flexible and can be packed up small. It looks quite delicate but our tester always did it up carefully and didn’t have any problems with it jamming.
Children’s smaller bodies lose heat more easily and more quickly than adults’ larger bodies, and children can easily be put off cycling if they get cold while riding in winter. The Peré winter jacket is a simple solution to that though – it’s made of very warm fleece-lined material. It isn’t bulky though, and there’s enough stretch in the fabric to move with the rider. In fact, our tester found he overheated if he was wearing it while riding in anything but the coldest of conditions.
There are lots of well thought out details such as the clear silicone gripper band around the elasticated hem of the jacket’s body, and the stretchy double-cuffs to keep wind from blowing up the arms. The winter jacket has a good anatomical fit with a shorter front and slightly longer rear. There are a couple of zipped hand pockets and three rear pockets – the wider, central one of these has a Velcro tab to stop the contents from spilling out but still allows access on the move without undoing a zip.
The front zip is neat and sturdy but our tester found that the collar extended quite high at the front, so that the top of the zip was a little scratchy under the chin.
Cycling tights work best if they have an integral “bib” – i.e. mesh or fabric straps attached to the tights which reach over the shoulders and which hold the tights up well (like braces) in the riding position. This is even more effective for small children, as their body shape means that tights held up just with a waistband tend to ride down a lot, particularly at the back.
The most useful tights are those without a padded insert because these can be worn over padded shorts, and therefore don’t necessarily need to be washed after each use. Cycling tights that do have an insert are intended to be worn next to the skin and should be washed and dried before the next ride – this wouldn’t be practical for children riding several times per week so tights like Peré’s without an insert are a much better option. Besides, wearing tights over shorts always gives the option of warming up in tights then removing them for the race itself.
Good cycling tights have foot loops to keep them in place too.
We’re not aware of any other junior cycling tights on the market that have an integral bib, footloops, and no insert, which makes the Peré tights an attractive proposition.
Like the winter jacket, the tights did their job extremely well and they kept our tester very warm in the coldest conditions.
If the legs of tights are too short then the crotch of the tights can be pulled low and interfere with mounting the bike (especially in cyclocross), and it can catch the saddle when riding out of the saddle. If legs are too long then they ruck up and don’t fit smoothly. The length of the Peré tights’ legs was just right though.
The fleece-lined fabric is very stretchy and the tights will fit the thighs of a mini-Hoy as well as the slim pins of a junior Wiggins. The “body” of the tights is quite broad though, and a narrower body would have fitted our particularly lean tester fine. It wasn’t a problem though, because as soon as a jersey or jacket is worn on top of the longs the body is held close to the rider anyway.
Long sleeve top / base layer
The top’s material is made of 90% Polyamid and 10% Elastane – we’re not exactly sure what that is but it makes a super-stretchy, technical fabric. It made a great base layer but it could also be worn as a top in its own right. The bright orange colour is very strong and attractive.
Like all the Peré kit, the construction and stitching are very high quality. The fit was generally very good – not as tight as compression wear, but still very close with no bunching up. Our tester found the neck rather a tight fit to put his head through, but it fitted fine once the top was being worn. We think the forearms would perhaps benefit from being a tiny bit tighter, but it’s altogether a very well-tailored fit.
As a base layer it did a good job, keeping the wearer comfortable and dry.
The kit was washed multiple times. Like most cycling clothing, the care labels specify a washing temperature of 30 degrees C. The colours haven’t run and have stayed super-vibrant. The garments have kept their shape and all traces of dirt has washed out reliably. We’re not able to say how the clothes will look after a full winter’s wear, but they certainly still look as good as new after a couple of months of hard use.
Value for money
As we said in our earlier “first look” article, the Peré clothing isn’t cheap. However, many parents would put a high value on clothing which absolutely keeps their children warm and dry enough for them to continue riding their bikes during the winter months.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the design, construction and materials of the Peré kit are as good as adult brands costing twice as much. That’s impressive given that production volumes of specialist children’s clothing are a fraction of adult cycle clothing production.
Children have a tendency to scuff or damage their clothing, but the Peré clothing is durable and if it is well looked after we would expect it to have a good second-hand value.
Peré’s cold-weather clothing brings children the same benefits that adult riders have come to expect from their own winter gear: keeping the rider warm & dry, fitting well, and looking stylish. If you’ve got a child who loves cycling but suffers when riding in the wet & cold then you might find that Peré’s products solve that problem.