Pearl Izumi ELITE Barrier Convertible
- Sleeves zip off to wear as vest or shrug/sleeves
- Excellent fit
- Good ventilation
- Rear zippered pockets holds detached shrug/sleeves
- Bright color for excellent visibility
- Snug through the arms and shoulders
- Minimal warmth in cooler weather
- Minimal weather-resistance
The Pearl Izumi ELITE Barrier Convertible is one of the lightest jackets in the test with a minimal degree of water- and weather-resistance and high degree of visibility. It has a sleek, trim fit and removing the sleeves is fast and simple. However, the jacket must be removed to reattach the sleeves.
The fabric is wind- and water-resistant but does not protect the cyclist against a soaking rain. The tester felt wind on windy days but dry and comfortable on rides in very light rain and drizzle.
The mesh vent panel on the back allows air to circulate when wearing as a vest. When wearing as a full jacket, direct vent panels extend from the back to upper arms to help transfer moisture.
The Pearl Izumi ELITE Barrier Convertible serves the cyclist as three key pieces of apparel in one: a jacket, a vest and a shrug/arm sleeves. Removing the sleeves from the Pearl Izumi ELITE Barrier Convertible is easily done while wearing the jacket. However the zippers and the three Velcro patches on the back below the collar have to be lined up perfectly to re-attach. The tester found that it was difficult to re-attach the sleeves while wearing the jacket. The main zipper is easily grasped with full fingered gloves, but the pocket and shrug/arm sleeve zippers are too small to grab while wearing gloves.
The Pearl Izumi ELITE Barrier Convertible is a very well-fitting and comfortable cycling jacket for early spring and early fall riding. The arms were long enough to fully cover the tester’s wrists while stretched over the handlebars. The longer cut in the back provided good lower back coverage.
The tester found the best fit and comfort level when wearing with a fine-gauge Merino wool baselayer. Heavier baselayers made the jacket feel tight in the shoulders, upper arms and across the back. Because jacket is so lightweight, cyclists who live in colder climates should purchase next size up to better accommodate heavier baselayers for warmth.
The full jacket, as well as the shrug/arm sleeves, packs softball-size into the rear zip pocket.
The lightweight fabric of the Pearl Izumi ELITE Barrier Convertible had a tendency to get caught in the zipper. The tester accidentally ripped the fabric when it got caught in the zipper. The Velcro tabs could potentially wear out with extended use but would be simple for a tailor to replace.
How We Tested It
The Pearl Izumi ELITE Barrier Convertible was used on two mountain bike rides in Duluth and for three weeks of fall bike commuting in the Twin Cities in a wide range of temperatures and wind to allow the use of all three components of the jacket.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
About the Author
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