The Pearl Izumi Women's Elite WXB jacket is on the expensive side, but it will keep you warm and dry on horrible days. Lack of storage could be a problem, but there is room for that in your jersey. It is worth the sacrifice just to stay this dry.
The first thing you notice about this jacket is the high visibility colour scheme – in the bright yellow and pink you really shouldn't be missed. Love it or hate it, it's perfect for day time riding visibility, and there are enough reflective accents on the rear and the arms to make sure you stand out come evening too.
For me, the fit is spot on (that's not me in the piccies). I'm a 14/medium and in the medium on test I found there was enough room underneath for a baselayer and jersey. Wearing a jersey could be important, as the lack of pockets in the jacket mean you'll be reliant on those in your jersey. There isn't room to overstuff them, either; the jacket fits comfortably enough, but put too much in your jersey pockets and it could become a bit tight.
The arm length is perfect, with the sleeves long enough not to ride up when you stretch out a bit. The tail covers my rear at all angles, which I like, especially when the heavens open.
In the heaviest of rain, this jacket stays dry, keeps you dry, and is very breathable. It's made from Pearl Izumi's water-repellent WxB fabric, and water just rolls off it – it looks like magic! The front zip is completely waterproof, and the seams are fully sealed too, yet despite all the weatherproofing I had no trouble regulating my temperature; the fabric really works well at keeping you dry from the inside out too.
The jacket is incredibly light and you barely notice you have it on. It sits comfortably against your skin, the cuffs are elastic and fit easily under gloves, providing a nice insulating feel in the wind, and the hem is also elasticated, giving real flexibility in movement. It's small enough to fold away into a pocket too, adding to its versatility.
The 150 quid price tag could be considered high, but for the performance and benefits this jacket provides I think it's a great investment. It's very well made, so should last a good few years, and if you shop around you can get it cheaper.
Well made, breathable and very, very water repellent
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pearl Izumi Womens W Elite WxB Jacket
Size tested: Medium, Yellow/Pink
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Pearl Izumi says: "The ultimate high-performance protection for riding in the rain, the Women's ELITE WxB Jacket is made with fully sealed and taped seams, a waterproof front zipper, and a highly breathable fabric to regulate body temperature in cool and wet conditions. The semi form-fit design offers comfort and versatility, ideal for wearing over thick jerseys on colder days. An elastic hem and cuffs keep water out, and reflective logos add visibility in low-light riding situations."
I found the jacket really fulfils all the claims.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
100% polyester (polyester twill)
Full front zip
Elastic sleeve cuffs
As expected from this brand, the jacket is very well made.
It performed so well, it is a favourite now.
Early days, but it's very well made and so no reason to suspect it won't last.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The jacket lived up to all claims, keeping me dry on my bike. Brilliant in wet wintry weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The water-repellent fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of pockets.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
This jacket was almost perfect, the lack of storage the only thing marking it down slightly.
About the tester
Age: 35 Height: 158cm Weight: 61kg
I usually ride: Scott Contessa My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking