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Polaris Vortex II Jacket



An excellent jacket for winter training or longer endurance rides and for those who like to be snug!

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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What an incredibly warm jacket! This is a jacket for those cold day when the weather is really set in!

The Vortex feels light weight despite offering exceptional warmth. The freedom of movement it allows through the Thermastretch back and elasticated trim make this a good option for longer rides.

Four good sized pockets plus a a zipped pocket for stuff like credit cards and mobile phones, means there's plenty of storage for the bits and pieces you need to take on a ride.

While black is not a great colour for road riding the reflective piping works well. The windproof sleeves and front panel offer excellent weather resistance, in fact perhaps too good for mild winter weather, the Vortex really comes in to its own when it is considerably colder. The wind proof and main jacket polyester feels smooth against the skin of bare arms and doesn’t snag on base layers.

The cut of the jacket is excellent. The length is great, offering effective splash protection to the seat area, while being short enough at the front for reaching into the drops. The collar comes up high sealing you from the elements.

When it does get dirty the Vortex washes well at medium temperature, retaining its shape and drying quickly.

This is a jacket for the bleak mid winter, when training, commuting or even riding with your friends is a difficult choice to make. One thing is for sure, when you are competing for road space with the eponymous white van man, at least you will be warm. 

Time tested: 2 weeks / mixed weather

Size: XL's founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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