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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
All outer surfaces are finished well. Just a couple of loose thread ends on the inside.
Wind protection is great, as is wicking and moisture management. Ventilation is good too. Some more useful pockets would be handy.
No concerns about durability; the jacket is well constructed and the fabric feels sturdy for a windproof.
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.
Breathable but protective material; the ventilation works well if things start to get too warm.
Fits as intended. Sleeve length is ideal and the cuffs are comfortable but keep the wind out.
As above, sizing is spot on – medium fitted me really well, as expected.
A little heavier than some windproof jackets, but arguably provides more protection thanks to the inner layer.
Very comfortable thanks to the cut and sizing, and the flock lining feels very pleasant against the skin (dry or sweaty).
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.
About the tester
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