Polaris Fuse waterproof road cycling jacket - review
Stylish jacket let down by breathability issue
by Jim Clarkson
The Polaris Fuse waterproof jacket is a stylish piece of kit with some well thought-out detailing and a good level of weatherproofing but it is let down by an odd fit and issues with breathability.
Out of the box, the Fuse - which tops Polaris’ range of waterproof jackets - looks good, with a generous smattering of reflective logos and a stylish, easily visible, blue and black pattern. The 2.5-layer fabric is waterproof and definitely windproof, and offers a good amount of flex when riding.
However, when out riding an odd bunching around the shoulders meant a degree of fabric flap and noise, while a build-up of condensation inside the jacket on a particularly wet ride led us to question its breathability.
- Price: £119.99
- Sizes: S-XXL
- Size tested: M
- Colours: Blue/black; lime/black
- Website: Polaris
When standing the Fuse waterproof jacket actually offers a good fit - the arms are plenty long enough and the wrist hems feature hooks which serve as thumb loops but also make it easy to remove the jacket.
A high neckline does a good job of keeping the chill off, meanwhile, and there is also a pronounced drop hem, making for a good flat frontage when riding and reducing bunching - and therefore areas for water to build up.
A degree of give in the fabric means plenty of flex when riding - it never felt restrictive or awkward - and the more relaxed fit would be well-suited to commuting. The bunched shoulders let it down slightly on the bike, however.
The YKK zip was nice and stealthy, and didn’t seem to let much, if any, water in. The hem is elasticated and gel gripped to maintain a good position - which it happily did when riding, though there was little riding up, especially when the two pockets were full.
On to the pockets and another nice little feature is the water drainage mesh at the bottom to keep things relatively dry, while there’s also the bonus of two zipped pockets - internal and rear external. It means plenty of room for storing kit, and everything's easy to access when riding.
As for its ability in the wind and rain, the jacket is absolutely windproof but I was let down on a two-hour foggy ride which soon turned to heavy rain. Though the jacket began by beading well, as the ride time increased and the rain with it, there was a noticeable feeling of dampness, which on my return home had become a dripping wet interior.
You’d need to ride with a long-sleeve base layer at a minimum, as exposed skin next to the fabric quickly cools and felt clammy. With a jersey I didn’t feel too hot or cold, so the heat is moving away, but the build-up of moisture in the arms was a little confounding.
The fabric just didn’t seem to reliably shift away moisture effectively, which means the waterproof qualities are a little redundant. It’s odd, as the 2.5-layer fabric has a claimed 10,000mm waterproof and breathabilty rating - but in actually riding it, there was a marked build up of moisture. The waterproof isn’t the issue here, it’s the effectiveness of the breathing of the fabric.
And that’s a shame, because the jacket boasts plenty of details worth of its price point, such as a light loop on the back and the aforementioned drainage mesh on the pockets, while there’s also a zipper guard.
As a waterproof commuting jacket, when more leisurely riding is the norm, the Polaris Fuse is a good choice - but with the slightly bulky shoulders when riding, and condensation issues, there are better choices out there.
- Good attention to detail
- Lots of storage space
- Stylish look
- Breathability issue led to condensation build-up
- Bunching on the shoulders when riding