A versatile softshell which offers protection from the wind and the worst of the rain. The relaxed fit will suit those who want space to layer up on very cold days, though this is not a garment for the aero-conscious.
Warmth without bulk
Zip doesn't sit flat
Pearl Izumi describes its Pro Amfib jacket as its most versatile layer - this is a softshell which has been created to tick as many boxes as possible in one garment, without compromise.
To create this all-purpose piece of kit, Pearl Izumi has used a three layer construction promising windproofing and water resistance - whilst reportedly offering 50 per cent more breathability than "typical membranes".
Without knowing which typical membranes are being used as the control, it's hard to put a concrete yes or no on this claim. However, despite occasionally overdoing my layering on some of the milder days we've had this winter, I rarely felt I was overheating when pulling this jacket over the top.
The closest I came to discomfort was when I teamed the Pro Amfib with a short sleeved base layer, and felt a little sweat collecting on my forearms - after this, I always paired it with a long sleeved base layer and the problem never repeated itself.
At the other end of the scale, when I abandoned my road bike (and the risk of ice, which took down several riding buddies) to head out on a mountain bike adventure, this jacket kept me warm - despite temperatures refusing to stray far from 0 throughout the day. I began the ride with a gilet over the top, but stowed this away early on, and only really felt the chill when the activity was over and it was time to get the jet wash going.
In terms of keeping the rain off, Pearl Izumi has employed its PI Dry water shedding technology to with the goal of combating spray as well as showers. Whilst there's no fabric in the world that will keep you completely dry in a deluge, this proved suitable in light rain and coped well with the spray hiding in the Kent lanes during a particularly flood heavy December.
There's also a 2-way water resistant Aquaguard zip, created by Vislon. This is quite a chunky creation, the idea being that it's easy to operate when wearing thick winter gloves. Whilst I can't say the zip let any water in, I did find the operation a little bit jerky compared to the smooth running I'm used to, and combined with the light material, it didn't sit flat as I'd expect.
At the back, there's two standard pockets plus a zippered middle compartment. I found plenty of capacity for storage, and there were no issues reaching for kit, even when wearing the chunky gloves of winter riding.
A bonded neck, cuffs and hem are used to minimise bulk, and the fabric is soft to skin with four way stretch material. The fit was quite boxy, with quite a lot of breathing room built in. This could be seen as a positive or negative attribute, depending upon personal preference. Testing a size small (sizes run from Small to XX-Large), the Amfib was far from aero, but it did allow me to layer up when required and afforded a relaxed fit which is sometimes welcome in the off-season months.
At £199.99, this is a considered purchase, punching in the arena of popular creations such as Castelli's Women's Alpha ROS Jersey (£210). Pearl Izumi's offering does provide plenty of protection, and the breathability claims ring true - whether it's the right choice for you comes down to the style you're after. This isn't a race fit piece of kit, but if you're seeking something with a bit more breathing space, it could be just right.
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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