With summer just around the corner, the weather is beginning to slowly change it’s mind. That being said the sun is still hiding away and the April showers haven’t quite left yet. Grabbing yourself a solid windproof jacket is a fantastic idea to carry you through until the sun really comes out to play. On the surface, the Pearl Izumi Select Thermal Barrier Jacket appeals to commuters and roadies. We can’t see it spreading far into the mountain bike world with its sleek, race design.
Despite the morning and evening commutes being on the light side at the moment, autumn comes around fast so a jacket that can be used right through to the end of the year would be a benefit to most of us!
The aesthetics of the Pearl Izumi Select Thermal Barrier are better than many of its counter parts. The black design is slick, simple and works very well. A comfortable race fit ensures it can be worn over the base layers without being too baggy. It certainly looks more like a race outfit than many of the other jackets.
Although with black covering 50% of even the other garments, it doesn’t leave much room for variability in the colour scheme. We think that Pearl Izumi could have done more in the form of colour variations at the top of the jacket. Although the use of two colours is more exciting than the often monotone option.
It has to be said though, there is a lack of reflective material on the jacket. It’s not high up the safety list and this could be stemmed from the natural running brand of Pearl Izumi. If you ride in an aggressive position the visibilty is exceptionally low. There is nothing in the form of reflection along the bottom of the jacket.
The barrier layer on the arms and front provide resistance to both wind and water in the key areas. We found that this kept us generally warm as long as it was dry. The water resistance didn’t hold strong for too long, although for brief rides it does the job perfectly.
The back is non-barrier for added breathability. This is great for ventilation and letting the moisture out. Avoiding a clammy build up of sweat in the back of the garment. Although we found it slightly less well ventilated when compared with its Endura counter part. It can get a bit tight if you wear too many layers underneath, and the lack of ventilation doesn’t help this.
A full-length internal draft flap with zipper garage seals in warmth although when it’s slightly on the warmer side it performs almost too well, no letting the heat out. Although the zip pocket isn’t great for getting out mid ride nutrition, unless you’re only using it for valuables. Puncture repairs can also go in here, although it seems a waste for such a deep pocket to be unable to be used.
The high neck line comes in very helpful if you forget your neck warmer, and can keep the neck warm right up to the chin. The long arms also cover the wrists and hands right past the gloves. This leaves no gaps for the wind to penetrate which is a great for the overall warmth.
The Pearl Izumi Select Thermal Barrier is great for the autumn months although doesn’t make for a great top layer as the winter sets in. It’s race fit wraps great as an overlay on a fast pace road ride, although the other disciplines seem to have been rejected here. We think Pearl Izumi have focused in on speed and forgotten about the other elements of performance.