When the temperature drops and the wintry wind blows, having kit that keeps you warm can make the difference between a great ride and terrible one. The Polaris Mica Jersey is an ideal top to add to your winter cycle clothing arsenal, and its price means you won't bust your savings getting it, either.
The Mica is a versatile garment that works well for road cycling as well as mountain biking, and would be equally useful for regular commuters.
The wind-resistant laminate at the front of the jersey, Wind-X, was impressively effective. It kept sub-zero breezes at bay on a snowy day in the British Lake District, and has fended off icy blasts and damp winds on several rides since.
The Wind-X fabric also has four-way stretch, which – combined with the stretchier side panels on the sleeve and torso – makes for a jersey that moves as you do without riding up, or getting caught on rucksacks.
Fit-wise, the Mica is generous. I tried the UK 12 (US 8) which by my reckoning measures up to a UK12-14. It has a feminine cut but isn't tight, leaving room enough for a base layer or two underneath.
The length is good, coming down to a comfortable hip height (I'm 5ft 8in / 173cm ), with a dropped tail. This means the lower back remains covered when leaning forward on a mountain bike, though in an aggressive dropped position on the road bike the cold air sometimes got in.
This is a jersey that's built to keep you snug inside it. The sleeves sit comfortably down to the mid-palm, and have a thumb hole that keeps them in place and eliminates up-sleeve breezes. The collar is nice and high, sitting comfortably against the neck with a soft lining, and a zip garage prevents the top of the fastener chafing the chin. The stretch jersey is fleece-lined for added warmth, a welcome addition when the thermometer plummets.
One downside is breathability, which isn't on a par with other elements of this jersey, and a buildup of moisture had me feeling a little damp on the back and underarm areas. However, in my opinion this was a small price to pay for the great performance of the rest of the jersey, especially considering its price tag.
The Polaris Mica features the usual cargo storage pockets on the back, which are handy for stowing the essentials when road cycling or mountain biking without a backpack, and a smattering of reflective elements.
Available in a black/grey/pink colour way or black/green/duck-egg blue, the designs are versatile enough to mix and match with other kit and give a nice bright lift to an otherwise plain looking jersey. The Polaris Mica is available from UK8 to 16.
It's may not be the most sophisticated of jerseys in terms of proprietary fabrics, or the flashiest in terms of looks, but it does do its job incredibly well – beyond my expectations for this price point.