Product appreciation – Versa Barrier Jacket

Randy Barcena enduro racing in Nevada wearing a PEARL iZUMi Versa Barrier Jacket

Never go full #enduro, bro. Photo by @jasonmaletsky

Let me start by saying I appreciate a great product regardless of what brand it is. Just because I’m a PEARL iZUMi Ambador doesn’t mean I am biased towards their products. A great product is a great product regardless of the brand. But, I know many other cyclists out there can agree with me when I say PEARL iZUMi make great products!

You can call this a product review blog, that’s fine, but I call it a product appreciation. The product I’m writing about is the PEARL iZUMi Versa Barrier Jacket. It was new to me last Fall in 2017 as a part of an Ambador welcome package. I didn’t think much of it at first, other than, “Cool, a jacket I could use during the winter.” Living in Las Vegas it only gets cold for a month or two during the year. I only have a few jackets for that reason.

I’ve worn it bike commuting to the office more than a dozen times since and it kept me warm while riding the singletrack on weekends last winter when the weather dropped into 40s. I know, but for the desert that’s cold. One weekend in March of this year, I raced the Bootleg Canyon Enduro and it was one of those brutal desert weather systems when it got super windy and cold. This jacket kept me warm all throughout the race day. I’ve worn it on day-to-day off the bike related activities countless of times. I appreciate this jacket.

I just recently got back from an epic trip riding Whistler Bike Park in Whistler, British Columbia, for one week. I packed this jacket, few warm weather MTB gears and usual riding clothes. The desert heat spoils me with warm weather that I forgot to check the weather in Whistler. The prospect of rain was not in my mind at all. All I knew was it was going to be chilly at night when my friends and I go out for dinner. Wrong! It rained the first two days we were there. It got cold, too! Sooo glad I brought this jacket because I wasn’t about to buy another jacket so that I could ride!

As for the pants, the PEARL iZUMi Elevate shorts was enough to get me going even though long pants might have been a little better, especially with the rain. But that’s for another post.

Randy Barcena in Whistler Bike Park with friends

Pro Tip: Always carry a spare tube even when riding tubeless. Photo by @mijmtbs

Randy riding his bike in the office when the boss is gone.

When the big cat is not around, the mouse comes out to play. A few laps inside the office, shhhhh.

Here are the Pros of the Versa Barrier Jacket:

  • True to size – I’m 5’-8” 175lbs, I wear a medium and it fits me perfect.
  • It fit me well even when I wore my iXS Carve Upper Body Protected Jersey with pads on the back, shoulders, and chest, and iXS Flow Elbow Pads.
  • It washes well and dries fast. Washed it, hung it and used it the next day. But toss it in the dryer when you can on low heat to keep the DWR going.
  • Wrinkle-free and still looks new after the countless washes I’ve done. I only use ALL Free & Clear detergent on all my cycling gears and clothes, no fabric softener.
  • It has 3M® reflectives on the wrist areas and lower back plus reflective draw cord on the hood so that you can be seen by cars when riding on the road.
  • The hidden hand mitts in sleeve cuffs are very useful!

Cons:

  • No inside pocket(s) to hide wallet, phone or other important documents.
Podium: 2nd overall in Bootleg Canyon Winter Gravity Series - Enduro racing.

Podium: 2nd overall in Bootleg Canyon Winter Gravity Series – Enduro racing.

As a side note, don’t forget to check the weather of the place you plan to visit prior to traveling. This way you can pack the right gears and not have the headache. Happy riding!

Randy ridng riding loamy trails at Whistler.

The wet loam was mint, but the slippery roots were the biggest challenge in Whistler. Photo by @mijmtbs

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When Randy was 10 years old, he'd wake up at 4 a.m., hop on his bicycle and sell fresh baked breads from his aunt’s bakery to neighbors in rural parts of the Philippines. He enjoys solo mountain bike night rides whenever possible after working all day at the office. He thinks the best rides are the unplanned rides; the adventure rides, the ones where you don’t know what to expect. Randy's favorite trail is Gridley in Ojai, CA.

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