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A micro-jacket by another name, packing into its own fist-sized stuff-sack, Polaris’ Ride-Lite is a useful training companion. Made from lightweight, brushed polyester, it enjoys all the hallmarks of a good cycling garment, cut low at the back, protecting the vital organs whilst close fit and elasticated sleeves mean it won’t billow in a gale. Cut is 'classic' Polaris, with a medium fitting me perfectly (I’m a large in most jackets and jerseys).
Fluro yellow might not be the last word in cycling cool but not even Mr Magoo could claim not to have seen you. I have it on good authority that I have been seen from literally a mile away on a very gloomy February afternoon. Climate control, thanks to the full- length zip and back vent, is better than most of this breed but still demands pairing with a good base layer. While the Ride Lite is shower resistant, downpours left me sodden in a matter of minutes. However, being comparatively thin it dries in less than twenty minutes.
It folds much smaller than a race cape, meaning it can easily be stashed in a seat-pack or jersey pocket should conditions dictate. Despite the thin material it seems quite durable, tangles with the undergrowth having markedly little effect, although an encounter with asphalt might tell a different story. Care is very straightforward, machine wash at normal temperature and allow to drip-dry.
Has its limits, but the Ride Lite is an excellent jacket for changeable, windy conditions - the sort that could prove ideal for audax and even Etape
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Make and model: Polaris Ride Lite Jacket
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 Ride-Lite is a windproof micro jacket aimed at cyclists and runners.
Tell us some more about the techincal aspects of the product?
Brushed fluro yellow polyester is cut long in the back with full length zip and back vent to improve climate cotrol.
Appears more durable than its 200g weight would suggest.
Excellent wind blocker with better breathability than some competitors costing £10 more.
Weighs virtually nothing and will fit into a jersey pocket.
Not bad given the material but best worn with a base layer as it can get a bit clammy after half an hour's hard effort.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very effective in cold, windy conditions. Offers some protection in light showers but is a contingency windproof first and foremost.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Cut is excellent, giving good protection from the wind without billowing annoyingly. colour is a definite plus in low light.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing specific, although sizing unusually generous which may require trying before buying.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, If they were looking for a micro jacket and knew the limitations
Age: 35 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)