POLARIS HEXON JACKET
Long Term Test (12 months) £94.99 270g (Medium)
The Polaris Hexon jacket has spent the last twelve months as my go-to cool weather outer-layer. While I’m generally impressed by the standards of comfort and protection offered, there are a few things I’ve missed.
Its essentially a weather cheating shell made from “Hydrovent”; a relatively sophisticated two layer laminate, which is tempting to describe as a poor man’s Gore-tex, since it uses a capillary action to evict rider generated coolant.
I’m really fond of the slightly 80’s red/black colour scheme, which to my mind is less season specific than day glow but it also comes in fluro-yellow/black.
Detailing is good, rather than great. On the plus-side, the scotchlite reflectives and pleasingly integrated, forming part of the pattern. There’s only one pocket, which may disappoint some folks, such as yours truly, who like to park compact cameras and other tech within easy reach.
Nonetheless, the right handed diagonal zipper seems weatherproof in the everyday sense. Multi tools, tube, mini pump and patch kits have never been soggy, even after three hours in the pouring rain.
This is primarily down to taped seams and adjustable cuffs and collars. Sizing is generous, although medium feels almost tailor made for me. Long enough in the arms, even winter-weight gloves with shallower cuffs have formed a perfect weather cheating seal - no hint of cold winds or rain blowing inside, even on blustery 1in 4s at 35mph.
At the other extreme, things can turn a little clammy when the mercury edges into double figures and wearing budget polyester/polyamide base and mid layers. Nothing terrible, just the familiar warm glow around the lower back, chest and pits lingers a while longer. This is greatly reduced wearing budget merino layers. There is enough room for heavyweight jersey-cum-jackets when the mercury hovers around, or dips below zero, without feeling restrictive around the shoulders.
On the subject of sizing, I’m proportionately shorter in the torso than my 1m81 stature would suggest, so the back was a little longer than I’d prefer but, on the flip side, offers excellent defence against the elements and of course, water thrown up by the rear wheel when riding mudguard shunning ‘cross and gravel bikes.
Talking of which, it’s primarily a road garment but regularly subjected to narrow forest trails and thorny bushes confirms the outer fabric is pretty hardy. Washing ours every three months or so at 30 degrees and adding a dash of proofing every six months has retained its looks and weather cheating prowess.
Bottom line, the Hexon is a mid price garment with performance to match. Day rides, training, longer commutes and weekend touring are its forte’s.
However, store branded competitors are hot on its heels, offering increasingly more bang for even less buck. By the same token, those wanting to do tour typical distances, possibly at higher speeds will need to dig a bit deeper.
Verdict: 3.75/5 Decent technical shell with good climate control but faces stiff competition from store branded models with higher spec.
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 2016