Pearl Izumi have been working hard to keep you warm, dry, and safe. I’ve been testing their Barrier Lite Vest, Elite WxB Jacket, and Elite Thermal LS jersey in some filthy winter conditions. They’re quality garments in their own right. Add in Pearl Izumi’s ‘BioViz’ design philosophy of contrasting fluoro and dark colours with reflective logos and you’ve got a range of solid cold weather performers.
Words & Images - James Raison
The Barrier Lite Vest hits all the right notes for a good gilet: light, warm, and resistant to the crap weather that winter likes to throw at you. Heading out for a ride, I was immediately impressed with how tiny the vest is when stuffed into a jersey pocket. It’s nice to know a gilet is easily packable when you don’t need it. Fans of pocketed gilets should look elsewhere, there are none to be found here. This is a situational garment, designed to be worn and removed as required.
The vest is well worthy of its ‘barrier’ name, effectively warding off some nasty wind chill and beading light showers and road spray away. It performed well on frosty descents, with no trace of cold air seeping through the fine zipper. Breathability is surprisingly good too with little of the steaminess that can come with some gilets.
The Elite WxB Jacket is a fortress of rain resistance. There is nowhere for water to get in. Its fine zipper is completely sealed, and all seams are fused together. The long arms are elasticated to grip just below your hand, and asymmetrical to be longer on the outside of your wrist. The collar is high and slim, preventing water running down the back of your neck and the rear hem sits nice and low for spray off your tyre.
Its contrasting fluoro with black, and reflective trim made this my go-to jacket for foul weather riding. Breathability isn't great but no fully waterproof jacket of this style is breathable. No water in means no water out. Think of this as an extreme wet jacket; something you pull on when the weather is abominable. From that perspective, this jacket delivers exceptionally well. It’s been an excellent jacket for Adelaide’s unusually wet and cold winter.
My size small was on the baggy side and the particularly voluminous arms were too long for my 180cm wingspan. Prospective buyers should consider trying on a size smaller than they normally wear.
Finally, the Elite Thermal LS jersey is an solid chilly Spring-weight garment. Again, this is a parade of fluoro and black material to keep you nice and visible.
It’s on the heavier end of the fleece spectrum, meaning it’ll keep you toasty in some cool conditions. It also gives you plenty of options to layer up for the conditions. Adding the Barrier Lite Vest was a versatile combo for temperatures 5-15 degrees. The jersey alone was good for 10 degrees and up.
Pearly Izumi's winter gear is functionally excellent. Each garment performs very well in their intended conditions. A light, weather-proof gilet, extreme weather waterproof jacket, and thick fleece jersey are all items that belong in every cyclists' closet. If you're looking to make your winter riding warmer and dryer then Pearl Izumi's range is very good. As an added bonus, the fluoro will make you visible from space.