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Armwarmers are a practical, simple bit of kit that often gets overlooked. For many years I thought that they were somehow specialist items rather than a useful, day-to-day, part of my cycling wardrobe. Polaris's RBS (really bright stuff) armwarmers intend to extend your spring/autumn riding with their thermal lining and reflective trim.
They come in two sizes, S/M and L/XL, and two colours, fluorescent yellow and fluorescent orange. On each there are silicone grippers at the top cuff and a bright white-reflective strip that runs along the length of the armwarmer. The Polaris RBS logo is similarly made from the reflective strip.
One issue I had with the colour was that it didn't match with anything in my wardrobe. The benefit of the classic black armwarmers is that they blend well with many jerseys, whereas high-vis yellow is never going to complement anything. There is unlikely to be a subtle contrast or style with the colours in the RBS range. I know that this one of their selling points – high visibility in daylight and the dark – but occasionally I try to tidy up the random assortment of kit I wear so that it doesn't appear I got dressed with my eyes shut.
They are certainly warm, and provided a decent degree of protection from chilly weather and wind. In terms of fitting they are quite tight. I usually struggle to find armwarmers that don't roll down from the top (not a lot of gun for the cuff to grip) but there was no way these were going anywhere. The silicone grips are very secure, but did leave me with a fair mark on my skin. They could be a little uncomfortable at times, but not excessively so.
They don't have a huge amount of stretch in the material, but enough that the reflective strip on one of them started to delaminate at the top. It stayed attached at the cuff but has steadily unstuck itself, leaving a little loop of reflective material. After a rather wet ride I popped them onto a radiator to help dry them off and the high viz yellow on one has appeared to 'burn' a more orange shade. Given that I wasn't colour coordinating them with anything it hasn't really affected them visually, and the material hasn't got any less flexible.
Warm armwarmers that deliver on the visibility in pretty much all conditions
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Make and model: Polaris RBS Armwarmers
Size tested: Small/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?
If there is one piece of Polaris Bikewear RBS kit you should add to your riding wardrobe it is our Armwarmers. Perfect for keeping out the chill this winter and keeping you visible on the roads.
They featured warm brushed back fabric that sits comfortable against the skin are are small enough to fit straight into a jersey pocket if the conditions improve. Silicon grippers and reflective print ensure excellent visibility and fit.
They certainly keep the wind and cold air out, and are excellent at being visible. Silicone grippers provide a tight fit that some might find uncomfortable. Material is comfortable.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Reflective strips and text to pick up passing headlights. Silicone grippers at the top of the arm.
The reflective strip debonding quite wasn't a good sign. Overall they seem well put together with no signs of the stitching coming loose, for example.
I found them a very snug fit, but they did the job of being bright and visible.
Some issues on the delaminating of the reflective strip. Material appeared to acquire orange discolouration after being left on a radiator to dry.
Negligible weight and easy to pack down to fit into a jersey pocket.
The silicone grippers did sometimes leave marks on my upper arms.
They are priced at £20 RRP which is about comparable for other, similarly brightly coloured, armwarmers on the market.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They do a good job of keeping your arms warm and add to your visibility.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I like the simple reflective strip and grippers decent enough to cling to my skinny arms.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The reflective strip coming unstuck. High-viz yellow doesn't match my kit, or my eyes. There were days when the tight grippers could be a little sore.
Did you enjoy using the product? They were OK.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No, unless visibility was their key reason for buying.
Age: 37 Height: 182cm Weight: 69kg
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport 2008 My best bike is: Moda Tempo 2010
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, Triathlon