The Polaris Venom is a mid-weight long sleeve jersey, featuring a brushed roubaix type fabric (which Polaris call 'Thermostretch') that strikes a good balance between insulation and breathability.
That Roubaix type layer gives the Venom an inner texture that's soft and feels good against the skin for days when a base layer isn't needed, while the outer layer includes some degree of wind resistance. A reassuringly stout, full length YKK zip is used contributing greatly to the Venom's versatility.
The multi-panel construction lends the Venom a shape hugging, but not overly tight, fit. I found the sizing to be pretty standard as I typically take a medium and the Venom fitted perfectly. For reference, Polaris also includes a sizing guide on their website should you be uncertain about what size to go for. As the name suggests, the Thermostretch fabric is very elastic which enables the Venom accommodate a few extra layers underneath should conditions dictate.
The arms feature thumb loops but you'd have to have very short arms in order to make use of them. For a jersey designed for intermediate conditions such as the Venom, a small amount of exposed skin at the wrists isn't such a big problem.
At the rear, you'll find three pockets with an additional zipped pocket on the right for any valuables. For some reason, Polaris have decided to make the pockets narrower than normal which can make getting a gloved hand into one a bit of a challenge. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the pocket material is exactly the same as the rest of the jersey, making it difficult to differentiate one from the other when wearing any sort of winter glove. A minor issue perhaps, but this was a source of some frustration when cold and tired at the end of a long ride.
Another downside to employing the Thermostretch material for the pockets is that these have a tendency to stretch and sag when filled. The silicon gripper on the hem mitigates this trait to some extent, but I found that anything more than a couple of bananas caused noticeable stretch.
Due to its middle-of-the-road insulating capabilities, the Venom is extremely versatile and can be used in a wide variety of conditions depending on additional layers. With nothing underneath, I could easily see myself wearing it in temperatures up to around 15C (unfortunately, this sort of weather is but a pipe-dream at the moment). Coupled with a long sleeved merino base layer, you could be comfortable in temperatures down to 5C.
In addition, the Venom also worked well as a mid layer underneath a dedicated winter jacket for when the mercury dipped below freezing. The jersey did suffer from a slight build up of moisture on the inside, but nothing more than you'd expect.
Reflective detailing is included on both the rear and the arms for added visibility in the dark or some early morning fog.
Usefully versatile mid-weight, long sleeve jersey that won't break the bank
road.cc test report
Make and model: Polaris Venom Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Polaris Venom is designed for intermediate conditions when a winter jacket is too much and a lycra long-sleeve too little.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Full length YKK front zip
Constructed using Thermastretch fabric
Reflective print detailing
Three rear storage pockets
Whilst not the prettiest to look at, the Venom's industrial looking seams are reasuring as to the jersey's durability
Very versatile and works well over a wide-range of temperatures. The size and sag in the pockets are the only negatives
As my go-to jersey/jacket this winter, the Venom has been used multiple time per week and is still going strong. The pockets don't seem to have sagged permanently either though I've been careful not to overload them
Offers a good deal of warmth for the weight
The Thermostretch fabric is comfortable when directly in contact with the skin. The silicon gripper on the hem helps keep everything in place
Given the amount of use it's gotten this winter, the Venom looks like good value
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Canondale EVO Red My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, mtb,