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review

Pearl Izumi Zephrr Barrier Jacket

7
£99.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Relaxed-fitting jacket that does a good job of keeping the wind and light rain out
PI Dry technology keeps light rain and showers at bay
Recycled fabric feels soft
The rear is quite short for performance road riding
Weight: 
166g

The Pearl Izumi Men's Zephrr Barrier Jacket is made from 100 per cent recycled material and offers a more relaxed fit than many lightweight windshells at this price. It works well in terms of keeping you dry in light rain and showers, and it feels comfortable – just bear in mind that its shape will suit those who ride a little more upright rather than those who like to make the most of the drops.

The Zephrr is a lightweight windshell jacket that comes with the added bonus of a bit of water repellence thanks to Pearl Izumi's PI Dry technology. It's a hydrophobic treatment that unlike many water-repellent treatments, coats each individual fibre rather than being added as a coating to the fabric. According to Pearl Izumi, this means that it'll never wash off or lose its effectiveness, maintaining at least 90 per cent of its original performance after 100 washes. There's a bit more detail about it here, if you'd like to know more.

> Find your nearest dealer here

In use, the treatment keeps light rain and showers at bay for around an hour or so, about 25-30 minutes in heavier stuff before it starts to seep in around the seams. It's ideal for those days when it's breezy and there is the risk of showers, its small size meaning it can easily tuck into a rear jersey pocket when not needed.

Breathability isn't bad either: the test period has been quite warm, so I've been wearing it for late evening rides when the temperature has started to drop off. Things were comfortable unless I was really hammering it, although that isn't really what this jacket is all about.

2020 Pearl Izumi Zephrr Barrier Jacket - chest.jpg

The cut is quite relaxed, with room to wear a couple of layers underneath, and if you aren't at your leanest the fit is flattering. Most noticeable is the length of the sleeves – there is a lot of material going on here, probably a bit too much unless you have a very stretched out riding position or use the drops a lot. If you do, you might notice that the rear section isn't much lower than the front, so when you do get in the drops you don't have much coverage at the rear to protect you from road spray.

2020 Pearl Izumi Zephrr Barrier Jacket - back.jpg

To further customise the fit, the Zephrr comes with hem cords either side that you can adjust.

2020 Pearl Izumi Zephrr Barrier Jacket - toggle 2.jpg

Overall, the quality is really good, with neat stitching throughout and tidy detailing around the cuffs and neck. There is also a two-way zip and a small zip garage at the top to protect the front of your neck.

2020 Pearl Izumi Zephrr Barrier Jacket - zip.jpg

Many packable windshell jackets don't come with pockets, but on the Zephrr you do get a single mesh one that can be closed with a horizontal zip. There is plenty of room to carry your essentials, like a phone and simple tools, tube and so on.

2020 Pearl Izumi Zephrr Barrier Jacket - back pocket.jpg

At £99.99 the Zephrr is just a penny less than the Specialized Deflect Jacket with SWAT, which follows a similar theme when it comes to its design and intended use.

It's cheaper than the ashmei Emergency jacket at £128, and Mike wasn't massively impressed with the fit.

> Buyer’s Guide: 13 of the best packable windproof cycling jackets

On the whole, the Zephrr does a decent job of keeping you warm and dry but works best for those rides when you aren't really pushing it. It'd be ideal for use while commuting or for stuffing into a pack when out on long distance rides.

Verdict

Relaxed-fitting jacket that does a good job of keeping the wind and light rain out

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Pearl Izumi Zephrr Barrier Jacket

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the jacket 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, "Made from recycled material and featuring our PI Dry® water-shedding technology, this lightweight cycling wind shell will get heavy use year-around. The way you make a wind shell more versatile is by adding a measure of rain protection. We treated this lightweight ripstop nylon jacket with PI Dry® to make it handy not just in the wind, but in light showers as well. The fit is generous for easy layering and we include drawstrings for easy adjustability."

It is a versatile jacket that offers long term protection from the elements.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

Pearl Izumi lists:

Ripstop polyester fabric made from 100% recycled material

PI Dry® technology for permanent water-shedding performance

Two-way zipper allows ventilation from top or bottom

Silicone rear gripper to hold jacket in-place while in riding position

Dual side hem cord locks to adjust fit at waist

BioViz® reflective elements for low-light visibility

Standard fit

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for fit:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
8/10

True to Pearl Izumi's size guide.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the jacket for value:
 
5/10

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Pearl Izumi recommends a 30 degree wash and I had no issues following that.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The windproofing works well, as does the water-repellent treatment.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

The 100% recycled material feels soft against the skin.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

The arms are quite lengthy when you are riding on the hoods.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It is similarly priced to the Specialized mentioned in the review, and cheaper than the ashmei. Many jackets that are designed for more casual riding are often cheaper, but less breathable and heavier.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Overall it's a good option; the cut limits it to quite upright and relaxed riding, but even the performance rider will find benefit in its small, packable size as an emergency jacket.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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