Reviewed By Laurel-Lea Shannon
If you want a cold-weather cycling jacket that can go the distance no matter what the weather throws at you, the P.R.O. softshell 3×1 jacket is it. Pearl iZUMi calls the jacket a “cold-weather system.” They sure got that right.
Keep winter out
The P.R.O. softshell 3×1 jacket comes in two parts, an outer softshell jacket and an inner liner jacket. The outer shell is waterproof, and although Pearl iZUMi’s website says it “provides optimal wind protection,” to me it feels solidly windproof on the bike. The liner jacket is made from Primaloft®, a cold-busting barrier material that’s super-light. Together the shell and liner can handle cold-riding temperatures between -12˚C (10˚F) and -1˚C (30˚F), but with a heavier base layer I’ve used it at -15˚C (5˚F). No more excuses for staying cooped-up indoors on winter days—even for sissies like me.
You’d think a jacket that can handle rain, wind, sleet, and snow on a bike at temperatures below freezing would be bulky. Not so. The form-fitting P.R.O. Softshell 3×1 jacket is light and comfortable, with just enough room left over for base layers and a long-sleeved jersey underneath. Pearl iZUMi hasn’t scrimped on style either. The white jacket with its red and black trim is a real eye-catcher.
The nuts and bolts
The liner is attached to the shell by three snap closures—one at the neck and one at the bottom of each sleeve—ensuring the liner and shell jacket move in unison. Both have articulated elbows with contoured arms. The sleeves are longer on the top of the wrist, providing optimal coverage between the jacket and gloves. The jacket collar is high enough to provide good coverage on your neck without interfering with helmet straps— a fleece lining on the collar keeps your neck warm. The front zipper has a stylish full-length internal draft flap to keep the wind out and seal in warmth.
The pockets are a design feat in themselves. There are a total of six—two side-zippered pockets and one zippered back pocket. Inside the back pocket there’s one large pocket and another layer of pocket with 3 dividers. The zippers at the sides of the jacket appear to be side pockets but are really located at the back of the jacket. When you reach into a side pocket your hand goes back into the pocket, not forward. Designing them that way keeps the front of the jacket looking sleek and form-fitting, no matter how jam-packed the pockets are.
A three-season jacket
A price of $350 may turn some buyers away but consider this: When you buy the 3×1 jacket you’re getting three jackets in one, and a jacket you can use over three seasons of cycling. Take the liner out and the attractive shell jacket can be used on its own for late fall and early spring rides.
On days when it’s not so cold consider taking the light and packable liner jacket along in a back pocket as an extra layer in case you need it. Wish I’d done that last fall when I was out cycling with my buddy. I was dressed just warmly enough to be comfortable as long as I kept cycling, but then my friend got a flat tire. She’s a whiz at changing them but after standing around for 15 minutes in the cold I was thoroughly chilled. She had done the smart thing and stuffed an extra layer (similar to the liner) in her saddlebag, which she put on to keep her warm while she fixed the tire.
With the P.R.O. softshell 3×1 jacket the designers at Pearl iZUMi have achieved a perfect balance between form and function for cold-weather cycling. This jacket has extended my outdoor riding season by months, and to me that’s worth a lot.
Bottom line: Excellent. I love this jacket. Well worth the price.
Price: $360 US