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When the weather rolls in, and a rain jacket is overkill, a weather-resistant vest like the Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Vest is exactly what the doctor ordered. The breathable, weather-resistant fabric takes the sting out of blustery winds, while the ventilation panels on the chest and back keep you from working up too much of a sweat. And since it's extremely packable, you're able to toss it in your pocket for some extra protection. This means that you'll have the protection that you need, only when you need it.

The Elite Barrier vest is built of a breathable, yet weather-resistant polyester blend in order to protect you from the elements without making you suffer from any heat buildup. It transports moisture through the fabric to keep you dry, while simultaneously blocking harsh gusts of wind and rain. Additionally, the vented panels at the chest and back give the temperature regulation an added boost.

When trying on the Elite vest, you'll notice Izumi's 'Semi-Form Fit,' which basically means that the upper-torso employs a relaxed, yet anatomic cut. As you get to the bottom of the torso, the cut relaxes. The tall collar fights off gusts of wind, while the full-length zipper makes quick layering changes a snap. There's reflective accents to increase your visibility to motorists in low-light conditions, and since you need a spot to keep your ride essentials, there's also a pocket at the back that keeps everything accessible.

The Elite Barrier Vest is available in five sizes from Small to XX-Large and in the colors Black, Screaming Yellow, True Red, and White.

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Good at what it is supposed to do.

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times
  • Fit:True to size
  • Size Bought: Large

I blocks the wind very well and breathes very well. It does flap in the wind pretty bad sometimes.
I like the product and at the sale price it works well.

Flaps (annoyingly) as you ride

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times

Unfortunately the "semi-form" fit of this jacket is its undoing. Despite my having broad shoulders (210 lbs, 6'1", 42" chest) the material at the shoulders flaps incessantly whenever riding above about 16 km/h. Plus the relaxed cut at the waist means that even with full jersey pockets, it is not possible to keep the bottom of the jacket far enough down to keep the shoulders tight to the body. This jacket would benefit from more elastic in the shoulders, and elastic or an adjustable drawstring at the waist. On the plus side, the material and mesh back are highly breathable, and the offset zipper is a nice touch (although the zipper pull could be bigger for gloved hands). While I've enjoyed experimenting with body postion to mitigiate the annoying flapping---it's like having your own wind tunnel---I wish I had bought a closer fitting wind vest. (I recommend trying something from Castelli's instead.)