Photos: Satchel Cronk
It takes a dedicated mountain biker to ride in the rain, or at least, that’s what us thin-skinned southern Californians say. Likewise, it takes a dedicated mountain biker to support trail advocacy. Thankfully, Showers Pass has just made it easier to do both with their brand new IMBA jacket.
Five percent of the net profit on the $200 IMBA jacket will be donated to support the 30-year-old organization’s efforts in education, lobbying, and all-around do-goodery. Like the NPR tote bag you probably forgot in your kitchen, the IMBA jacket will tell the world you’re doing your part. But of course, this is way more than a tote bag. Portland, Oregon-based Showers Pass makes some of the highest-tech waterproof and windproof apparel and accessories in the cycling industry, and the IMBA jacket is no exception.
The hardshell jacket features taped seams and waterproof zippers throughout. The hood can comfortably cover a helmet, or detach completely and stow in an interior pocket. Another interior pocket features a headphone port and is designed to keep your phone dry. Plus it’s big enough to comfortably fit my phablet and its LifeProof case. The generous front zippered vents extend from the armpits to the waist, and you don’t have to be doing 20 miles an hour to feel the breeze.
The overall build is relatively light for the level of deluge it’s meant to handle. In fact, it’s almost a quarter pound lighter than Showers Pass’s popular Refuge jacket. But that’s partly because it truly is just a shell. Its arms aren’t lined with any insulation, so if you want it to keep you warm, you’ll need some long sleeves underneath the IMBA jacket.
It’s not made of the supple 4-way stretch material you see on some lightweight shells, but it’s form-fitting nonetheless. It didn’t get tight at the creases around the shoulders and elbows like I’ve felt other hardshell jackets do, but it’s got that hardshell durability. I used the jacket primarily as a windbreaker while testing bikes in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for our Bible of Bike Tests. There were some cold mornings, but once the sun came out, the IMBA jacket could be compressed enough to be stowed at the bottom of my lunch-ride-sized hydration pack.
I didn’t get to ride the IMBA jacket in the rain until my day-long layover in Chicago, where the municipal rental bikes are as plentiful as the bars are. The reflective piping and logos make it a worthy urban accessory, and even the orange colorway has a monotone understated style that doesn’t scream “On your left!”
It’s rare that any apparel item does triple duty so well. Showers Pass is helping mountain bikers fight for our rights in trail advocacy, stay dry on the trails, and look good while bar-hopping.
Testers’ Picks: Trail Wear