Versatility is often admired. Nothing epitomizes that more than the classic Swiss Army Knife. Pearl Izumi is aiming for just that with their new Versa clothing line, which intends to crossover between mountain, road, gravel, urban and commuting disciplines. It’s a bit of a catch-all jacket that I’ve found to be quite capable.

Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie Features:

  • Softshell shoulders, sleeves and underarms
  • Primaloft Gold insulation in body
  • Drop-tail for added coverage on the bike
  • Reflective accents
  • Fitted, drawstring hood for use when not riding (not helmet-compatible)
  • Snap hand pockets with zippered chest pocket
  • Locking, multi-directional front zipper
  • Large rear pocket can stash bottles, food, phones, etc.
  • MSRP: $220
Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie

A cold MTB ride and the Versa kept me comfy.

Versa really that versatile?

It’s tough trying to please everyone, but the Versa tries to do just that. The sweet spot is certainly cold-weather commuting or casual use, but the Versa can hang on the road or dirt. For starters, Pearl Izumi’s new Versa line (see Pearl Izumi Versa Pant review) is quite sophisticated with all the right fabrics and features. If I didn’t know this jacket leaned towards the cycling side, I’d simply call it a great shoulder season jacket with enough warmth to tackle winter’s wrath, given the proper layering.

The body of the Versa Quilted Hoodie is filled with Primaloft Gold. This synthetic insulation has been tested by us before and is quite impressive here. Kudos to Pearl Izumi for selecting it here. The hybrid approach is tried-and-true and makes for a good combo of warmth and versatility.

As you’d expect, wind protection is solid (a key feature to any cycling jacket) and breathability is also admirable as well. The brushed lining of the softshell sleeves are very comfortable next-to-skin should you wear it with a short-sleeve. With a long-sleeve jersey or shirt, it does have a tendency to bunch up — particularly if the sleeves are baggy.

Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie Review

The double-cuffed sleeve keeps the weather at bay with a seamless glove transition.

I’ve worn the Versa Quilted Hoodie around town, on mountain bike rides, gravel rides and cold-weather running. You don’t notice the cut as much when wearing around town, but it is bike-optimized. That becomes evident when running in it as the shoulders get in the way of fore/aft arm movements. For its intended purpose of urban commuting or cold-weather gravel, road or MTB use, it becomes much more comfortable. The cut keeps everything covered and natural-feeling on two wheels. And, as you can see, the fit is pretty streamlined overall with just enough room for a midweight layer underneath.

The shallow, button-closure hand pockets can’t hold much and there is a single zippered chest pocket. I really appreciate the side-entry rear pocket as it can easily swallow a water bottle or plenty of other items for easy access on the bike.

With an attached hood, the Versa offers added warmth, when needed. But, the drawstring closure is somewhat annoying as the strings sway in the wind and flap around. I’ve been meaning to pull it out completely and I’ll likely do that before too long.

I’ll tab this as a cool-weather jacket with the sweet spot in the 40’s, but you’ll want to look elsewhere if you want something that’s truly weatherproof. Water-resistance is minimal with water soaking right into the sleeves and body. There’s no DWR treatment to speak of but the materials will remain warm when wet — they will most certainly get wet.

I do like that the front zipper is locking, so it doesn’t slip down on you. I also appreciated that the zipper can also zip up from the bottom — something that comes in handy when reaching for a jersey pocket or making base layer adjustments without fully-unzipping.

Note on Sizing: I’m 5’11” and 170 lbs and wore the medium. The sleeve length was perfect and overall fit was spot-on.

The Good

  • Excellent bike-friendly cut
  • Materials and quality is tops
  • Primaloft Gold is awesome stuff
  • Double sleeve cuffs keep the elements at bay
  • Works well with gloves
  • Locking zipper stays put (and unzips from the bottom-up, if needed)
  • Great to have a hood in a pinch
  • Love the retro look

The Bad

  • Lacks DWR treatment, so avoid wet weather
  • Drawstring is better left for cotton hoodies
  • Hand pockets are small

The Bottom Line: Pearl Izumi Versa Quilted Hoodie

Looking for something versatile enough to ride MTB on the weekends and then knock off a cold bike commute during the week? I’ve had a good time testing the Versa Quilted Hoodie around town and on the bike. It’s a sharp-looking jacket with top-notch materials. So long as you stay out of the rain, this one is a great winter companion.

Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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