Prepare to relegate.
The way we see it, there are two types of winter cyclists: those who stay indoors, demolishing holiday leftovers and those who brave the elements on their bikes. Pearl Izumi's P.R.O. Escape Softshell Men's Jacket is for the latter, and using it to build and maintain form throughout the winter months can be the key to relegating those leftover-eaters to pack fodder during spring races.
The jacket's body combines panels of windproof and waterproof Softshell membrane with breathable, insulating Thermal fleece on the sides and back. The combination wards off windchill and road spray while allowing far more breathability than the membrane alone. In the kind of temperatures Pearl recommends the Escape Softshell for (0 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on layering), staying warm is impossible if you don't also stay dry.
Those materials are shaped into a fit that accommodates layers of various thicknesses and puts the emphasis on comfortable utility instead of race-worthy aerodynamics. The rear hem is slightly exaggerated to account for water rooster-tailing off the rear tire, and the sleeves are tailored to accommodate a stretched-out cycling position from the forward-oriented shoulders to the sleeve openings. You can still use the jacket to shovel the walks, but it really comes into its own in the saddle.
The jacket is finished with the kind of details that demanding cyclists have come to expect. These include zippered ventilation pockets for when your engine's running hot but not hot enough to warrant opening the full-length front zipper. Though they seem unimpressively small, we can attest that these vents are surprisingly effective. The pocket distribution is equally impressive. A single, giant zipper protects the usual three rear pockets, and they're complemented with a zippered chest pocket to keep your ID, key, and spare cash separate from all of your winter cycling ephemera.
- PRO 3-layer Softshell jacket offering wind and water protection
- Insulating Fleece on sides and center-back for thermal warmth
- Contoured, shaped sleeves and hem for anatomically correct fit
- Full-length internal draft flap keeps warmth from escaping
- Zippered side vents prevent overheating and perspiration build-up
- Large, zippered rear pocket for storage with internal dividers
- BioViz reflective elements for low-light visibility
- Small chest pocket carries riding essentials