I used to hate riding in the rain. Several years ago I wouldn’t even go out for a ride if there was rain in the forecast. However, now that I am better equipped for inclement weather, rain doesn’t bother me near as much. A few months ago I purchased the Performance Ultra Rain Jacket and today was the first time I had a chance to try it out.
As far as usefulness is concerned, this jacket is in the middle of the pack. It is far better than the lightweight rain jacket I sometimes stuff in my jersey pocket when it looks like it might rain and the Showers Pass Touring Jacket I wear when it is really pouring. Since the jacket is made of a ripstop nylon laminate it does a great job of stopping both wind and rain.
The downside is that this jacket is not very breathable. With the large pit-zips wide open I still found the jacket a bit to warm even when the temperature was is the high 50’s. After two hours in the rain I don’t think any rainwater got through this jacket. However, the inside of the sleeves were really damp from the poor ventilation. As with any rain jacket, you will find it much more comfortable to ride with a very light long-sleeved jersey—it will keep your arms from sticking to the sleeves.
This jacket has elastic wrist cuffs with a Velcro closure. I left my cuffs open so the sleeves would cover part of my gloves and increase air-flow as well. The entire jacket can be folded down into the one large rear pocket, and then worn around the waist with the attached stretchable (but not adjustable) belt.
Performance Bicycle offers this jacket in both blue and yellow. Personally, I think you must have a death wish to ride in the rain in a blue jacket. The yellow jacket shows up well in the rain, but it lacks any reflective piping (except for the Performance logo). The lack of reflective material on this jacket is unforgivable, especially since Performance sells a cheap $20 jacket that has a fairly generous amount of reflective striping.
This jacket is available from the Performance Bicycle Website and at their retail outlets. The retail price for this jacket is $100, but I’ve noticed that Performance Bicycle often has it on sale for under $70. I think this jacket is still overpriced at $70.