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Buff Polar



Simple, effective do anything headwear

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The clever folk at Buff have taken their already brilliant garment and added a thermal polyester fleece section keeping, heads, necks and other body parts warm, yet relatively odour free. In many regards it’s such a versatile garment that comes in handy whatever riding you do. However, those with a good head of hair might find the Polar too warm beneath a helmet.

While I'm not overly taken with the Union flag design, there are six others to choose from. It can be worn to suit different situations: as a simple means of hiding helmet hair and protecting the neck area from chill right through to full headscarf, a godsend for touring in more exotic locations where climate and custom can change very quickly. In bracing Blighty, the fleece banishes painful ice-cream headaches and proves more effective than a sweatband for turbo training. However, it does tend to saturate before the wicking effect kicks in.

Polyester’s ability to absorb sweat and other moisture can mean nasty niffs but the Polar is impregnated with a seemingly effective antibacterial. In any case, it can be freely tossed in with the regular wash without fear of it emerging small enough for next door’s cat, although I would be inclined to give it a quick hand washing at the end of a day’s riding. Available in youth and children’s sizes, our one-size-fits all adult model was easily transformed to fit my six year old who complained of wind-chill aboard the tagalong. Gore Tex covers giving breathable protection in prolonged exposure to wet or chill might better serve helmet devotees but there’s a place for the buff in every cycling wardrobe.


Simple, effective do anything headwear.

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Make and model: Buff Polar

Size tested: n/a

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 Buff is the traditional all purpose headwear given a thicker polyester micro-fleece section for greater cold weather comfort.

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

Polyester micro fibre and polyester micro fleece with Polygone anti bacterial for warmth with moisture control.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
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Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

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

Thee's no doubt the buff is a very practical garment, ready in an instant. Due to less efficient moisture control, polyester based materials tend to harbour unpleasant odours but the Polygone anti-bacterial largely eliminates this problem. However,helmet devotees might be better served by Gore Tex helmet covers, not least as the Polartec material can get a bit too warm beneath a lid.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Tactile, versatile garment with so many uses.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Moisture control not quite on a par with more sophisticated materials.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Possibly

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, with some smaller reservations.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

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)

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