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review

Polaris Bikewear Pioneer Windproof Jacket

7
£119.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Great windproofing without boiling, but it is a bit expensive
Adven2ure fabric works really well
Ventilation
Accurate sizing
Roomier fit may not be to everyone's taste
A bit expensive
Weight: 
178g

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The Polaris Pioneer Windproof Jacket is a comfortable companion when there is a chilly nip in the air. It's light and performs well, with some handy features.

Polaris has used 'Adven2ure 2 layer fabric' for the Pioneer. This provides a familiar windproof material on the outside and a dotted inner layer of 'flock' material. This lining really helps with moisture management, stopping the jacket becoming sticky, and makes the jacket comfortable to wear when things do get a bit sweaty, even with only a short sleeve jersey underneath.

> Buy this online here

Across the shoulders, a large full-width vent helps keep things cool. This can be maximised by unzipping the front a little, with the large vent really promoting great airflow through the jacket.

2021 Polaris Bikewear Pioneer Windproof Jacket - back vents.jpg

A snazzy feature is a small popper strap near the top of the zip which keeps the jacket together when it is unzipped; this is super helpful to stop the jacket flapping around while you have the zip lowered to cool down.

2021 Polaris Bikewear Pioneer Windproof Jacket - popper.jpg

Speaking of flapping, the cut of this jacket is described as a leisure style to suit touring or commuting. Although it isn't baggy, I did find the bicep and shoulder area a little flappy, but only on higher speed descents (25mph+), and is by no means a deal breaker.

2021 Polaris Bikewear Pioneer Windproof Jacket - back.jpg

The sizing is as I would expect. Medium, my usual size, fitted perfectly and the sleeve length is ideal when hunched in a riding position. The elasticated cuffs also do a great job of keeping the wind out but not being tight or restrictive.

2021 Polaris Bikewear Pioneer Windproof Jacket - cuff.jpg

While there are no access zips to get to your jersey pockets, the Pioneer does have a mesh hip pocket either side. These are ideal for a gel or energy bar, but put too much in there and you could find leaning/side-to-side movement restricted.

2021 Polaris Bikewear Pioneer Windproof Jacket - side mesh pocket.jpg

Available in two colours, the orange should help other road users spot you, or there's a more subtle navy blue.

Retailing at £119.99, although it's currently reduced to £69.99, the Pioneer is towards the expensive end of windproof jackets, and although the performance is excellent there are certainly cheaper options available, such as the Endura FS260-Pro Adrenaline Race Cape II at £79.99, which is fully waterproof (Ashley tested an older version back in 2015 and thought it was very good).

> Buyer’s Guide: 11 of the best windproof cycling jackets

It is cheaper than some, though: the Rapha Wind jacket, for example, which was highly rated in our review, is £145.

Overall, the Pioneer is a comfortable windproof jacket that performs well, but it does sit towards the top end of the market.

Verdict

Great windproofing without boiling, but it is a bit expensive

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Polaris Bikewear Pioneer Windproof Jacket

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the jacket 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?

It's aimed at adventurous cycle explorers, with a leisure style cut that suits a wide range of cyclists from commuters to mountain adventurers.

Polaris says, 'Designed for adventure the Polaris Challenge Pioneer Windproof Jacket is an essential staple of any cyclists or explorers wardrobe.'

This is certainly the case – I'd say it would suit all but the fastest roadie whippets.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

Polaris lists these features:

2 Layer ADVEN2URE™ fabric with flock print to inside for moisture management

Ergonomic cut for great on/off bike look and performance

2x mesh side stash pocket for easy access while riding

Rear exhaust vent to improve air circulation and manage breathability

Single handed operated adjustable hem drawcords

CF venting popper to avoid jacket flapping when zipped open

Reflective piping to rear side seams for improved visiblity in low light

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
7/10

All outer surfaces are finished well. Just a couple of loose thread ends on the inside.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
8/10

Wind protection is great, as is wicking and moisture management. Ventilation is good too. Some more useful pockets would be handy.

Rate the jacket for durability:
 
7/10

No concerns about durability; the jacket is well constructed and the fabric feels sturdy for a windproof.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
6/10

As with most windproofs, there's some protection from light drizzle but it soon soaks in if the downpour is prolonged or heavier than a light shower.

Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10

Breathable but protective material; the ventilation works well if things start to get too warm.

Rate the jacket for fit:
 
8/10

Fits as intended. Sleeve length is ideal and the cuffs are comfortable but keep the wind out.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
8/10

As above, sizing is spot on – medium fitted me really well, as expected.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
6/10

A little heavier than some windproof jackets, but arguably provides more protection thanks to the inner layer.

Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
9/10

Very comfortable thanks to the cut and sizing, and the flock lining feels very pleasant against the skin (dry or sweaty).

Rate the jacket for value:
 
5/10

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

No problem, following washing instructions.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Performed well: good wind protection, breathable and excellent ventilation. Comfortable and a good fit.

The Adven2ure 2 layer fabric provides wind protection and a comfortable moisture-wicking inner surface which feels lovely against bare skin (dry or sweaty).

The ventilation works well, the large rear vent promoting great airflow, particularly with the zip lowered and the popper fastened.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

The moisture-wicking flock lining is great, and the extra ventilation works well.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

The pockets could be improved; their position on the hips does restrict what can be carried in them.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's towards the expensive end of the market; there are some that cost more, but plenty of very good options are available for less such as the Endura FS260-Pro Adrenaline Race Cape II at £79.99.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes, especially if I could find a deal.

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The jacket performed well, providing great wind protection, a comfortable fit and good wicking properties. The ventilation system also helped me stay cool. The pockets could be improved, though, to enable them to carry a little more, and it's not cheap.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 27  Height: 180cm  Weight: 86kg

I usually ride: Mostly mountain bike along with gravel for some good miles   My best bike is: Swarf Cycles 155 (mtb) Kenesis G2 (gravel)

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb, Enduro race, bigger mtb "adventure rides", gravel/road rides

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