If you are looking for a versatile, lightweight, entry-level shell to suit the changeable British weather, then the Pearl Izumi Select Barrier Convertible jacket could be just the ticket.
Two garments for the price of one, the sleeves zip off to turn the jacket into a windproof and water-resistant gilet. Rebecca Miles put the convertible little number through its paces.
This jacket is a great option to have tucked in your bag to whip out in case of a shower. Despite getting caught in heavy rain for 30 minutes on an overcast day in mid-June, I remained cosy and dry.
The water beaded on its surface in a satisfying, confidence-giving way and the wind was kept at bay.
The Select Barrier Convertible jacket is a shell jacket, not a full waterproof, and is designed to protect you from light showers rather than prolonged downpours. That said, it performed admirably in the shower I put it through. A nice high collar stopped any water running down my neck, and a panel behind the full length zip prevents drafts getting through. The strategically placed small cover at the top of the zip prevented it chaffing my neck or chin when fully done up.
The fit is really nice. Pearl Izumi describe it as ‘semi-form’ which means a looser fit than their more race-specific kit, but still cut for the female form. I found the sleeves were long enough to pull down over gloves when reaching over my handlebars, which gave welcome protection against the elements. It’s a good shape, with a longer cut at the back that ensured my lower back was covered.
I was a little surprised it didn’t have something like a drawstring option to gather the bottom in, but it looks more stylish without one and this didn’t affect its performance. I also liked the colour; a strong yet ladylike purple. The jacket is also available in black, turquoise and a high-vis yellow.
The Select Barrier Convertible jacket folds up small enough to tuck into your jersey pocket. It has one large zipped pocket on the back which is big enough to store a phone, cards, and some bars or gels. A couple of reflective strips provide increased visibility, which is handy for being seen on the road.
The Convertible in the name refers to the fact the sleeves can be easily zipped off and on again. This essentially means you get two garments for your money, making it a nice versatile addition to your wardrobe.
The downside to this jacket is the lack of breathability. Cycling in the jacket at any temperature much above 17ºC saw me becoming clammy very quickly. In its defence, the Select is the entry level range for Pearl Izumi kit and makes no claims to have any breathability, though a vent on the upper back helps by providing some air flow.
It’s designed to be used in temperatures of between about 3º-14ºC. I’ve only had it since the beginning of June so haven’t been able to test it in cooler conditions. If breathability is important to you, go for the Elite or P.R.O. series instead.
A near-perfect solution for unpredictable weather on spring and autumn days.
- Great water and wind resistance for the price
- Flattering fit
- High neck
- Long sleeves
- Converts into a sleeveless gilet
- Packs down small
- Not breathable
- No front pockets
Sizes: XS to XXL
More information: Pearl Izumi Select Barrier Convertible jacket
UK supplier: Madison
What Pearl Izumi says about the Select Barrier jacket
The Select Barrier jacket provides wind and water resistance for unpredicted rainfalls. The Select Barrier fabric sets the benchmark in wind protection and water resistance
- Full-length internal draft flap with zipper garage seals in warmth
- One zippered back pocket
- Reflective elements for low-light visibility
- Zip-off sleeves
- Women's specific Semi-Form Fit
- Weather forecast: Cool with showers
- Temperature rating: +/- 10 degrees
- Fabrics: 100% polyester, Weight:88 g/m