The Polaris Capri Women's Cycling Pants are designed for those times when you want to be comfy on the bike but don't necessarily want skintight clothing. Athough the cut is flattering, the waistband could be more comfortable, and some durability issues have raised their heads quite quickly.
Although Polaris doesn't specify what the capri pants are intended for, you could use them for commutes, mountain biking, touring, and even road biking. They're not padded, so that's something to bear in mind if you'd want to fit shorts or a liner underneath.
The shorts come in one colour, black, with red decorative dart-shaped details on the leg, and a red P to the rear. There's a button and hook and eye closure at the waist, a front zip pocket and reflective detail on the back. There's also a stripy elasticated label to one side of the rear, which might be for hanging the shorts up – there's no information on Polaris's site what these are for. A carabiner, perhaps. Keyring?
The 'four-way stretch' material does what it is supposed to do and offers free movement of your legs on and off the bike. Panels behind the knees and at the back below the waistline make for flattering contouring, and darts at the knees, along with the stretchy material, prevent any excessive ruching of the material.
Perhaps most noticeable in terms of comfort was that the waistband is a little unforgiving; although the shorts look great when you're standing up, they tend to dig in at the tummy when you're riding, even on a fairly upright hybrid or mountain bike. If you happen to put on any weight and then put on these capri pants, you'll know about it.
The front zip pocket holds coins and keys without them digging into the top of the leg, but it's a little awkward to access, being right at the front of the shorts rather than off to one side, and with a rather narrow aperture. It seems an odd place to put a pocket on cycling pants, rather than on the rear, but maybe it's not the end of the world if you don't want to use it.
The reflective tape at the rear is a nice touch, as are the red rubbery dart details on the legs. However, around 30 per cent of the reflective coating had worn off off after a few washes, and the darts began to peel. I also noticed that in places the fabric on the inside of the shorts has started to bobble; they're not overly expensive, but then again £45 isn't to be sniffed at.
Overall, I found the capris quite comfortable and I like the flattering cut, but a few niggles – especially the non-stretchy waistband – will put some off.
Decent, good-looking capri pants but with some quality and design issues
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Polaris Capri Pants
Size tested: Size 10
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?
Polaris says: "They are contoured and shaped at the hips and the knees however not figure hugging."
These capri pants could be worn by anyone from commuters to women who want to ride in technical clothing that just isn't skintight. As Polaris says, they balance contouring without being too tight – apart from around the waist.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Four way stretch capri style pants
Just below the knee fit
Button and hook & eye closure at the waist for comfort
One zip security pocket on the left hip
Reflective tape at the rear for visibility in low light
Good for pedalling, but the waist isn't very comfy on the bike.
The reflective detail wore off in places after a couple of washes, while some slight bobbling was evident on the inside after a few wears. The outside wore well, though.
A lot of thought has gone into contouring the female shape, so the pants are flattering, while the legs provide a comfortable range of movement on the bike, and if it hadn't been for the waistband I would have given them a higher score here. But the non-elasticated waistband can cut into the stomach when riding, even if it fits off the bike. If you have a narrow waist they might be great.
The sizing was fair.
Overall the capri pants were okay, aside from the waistband.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They are easy to wash, but around 30% of the reflective detail on the rear wore off after a couple of washes. Likewise, a couple of the decorative red darts started to peel off the leg.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Generally, the capri pants performed well on the bike, comfortable without being overly loose or, on the other hand, restrictive – apart from the waistband.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They are a flattering shape.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The peeling of decorative detail, and the non-stretchy waistband. The small pocket at the front is a little awkward to access, not helped by the small zip.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
The shorts looked good and performed well on and off the bike, but a couple of details let them down. The waistband might suit some shapes, so I'm giving them a 6 for 'above average' overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: I ride: I would class myself as:
I regularly do the following types of riding: