By Adam Newman
Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Vest – $80
Ah yes, the cycling vest, or gilet if you’re so inclined. It’s an exceedingly useful but often overlooked bit of kit. Rarely does the ambient temperature or your body remain static throughout a ride, so on goes the jacket, off goes the jacket, on goes the jacket, etc. A vest like this is perfect for the cruise down to the start of the group ride, the chilly descent down the backside of the mountain or the ride home after a post-ride beer.
I like this version because it’s a little nicer looking than the all-one-color style you usually see. Since so many of the times I’m wearing a vest are that annoying border temperature between warm and cold I appreciate the vented back panel and big back pocket to stuff my hat or gloves into as things warm up. Unzipped you’d hardly notice it’s there. Plus it packs into itself so it’s always handy when you need it.
There’s nothing really mind blowing about this version of the classic cycling vest, but it certainly checks all my boxes.
Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Aero WXB Jacket – $165
Pearl Izumi was one of the first brands to offer high-vis cycling apparel and considering how sketched out I am riding on the roads these days, I’m glad it’s back in style.
I can’t even tell you how bright this jacket is. There’s no way to capture its retina-searing pinkness in a photograph. Pearl Izumi says its molecules actually vibrate in sunlight. I have no idea if that’s true but staring at it too long might result in your brain jiggling.
Part of Pearl Izumi’s BioViz line—read more about BioViz in our story on page 40—this jacket isn’t just bright, it’s practical too. A thin, waterproof layer, it’s perfect for keeping in your jersey pocket just in case. The long tail and extra long sleeves mean it will keep you covered and won’t slow you down. Because of its slim fit I wasn’t able to layer it over a heavy sweater or anything—this is for go-fast rides only. It also doesn’t offer much in the way of features—there’s no pockets or anything—but sometimes less is more.
Like many true waterproof jackets, the temperature I’d ride this at is lower than you might expect, as it breathes, but not super well. Be careful when temperatures rise as you’ll end up soaked from the inside in your own sweat.
This jacket is also available in Screaming Green, and in a short-sleeve version. Dunno how that works. I’d also love to see this color make its way onto a more relaxed-cut version for layering over street clothes for commuting.