By Colin Dennis
Sizes: S M L XL XXL
Size tested: M
Soft, warm and ideal for keeping the prolonged winter weather at bay, the Polaris Cadence Bib Tights prove their worth during the disconcerting shift in seasons.
I blame global warming.
Not long ago, and I count the years on one hand, by the time Easter came around we would have condemned our winter woollies to the bottom of the wardrobe and donned our favourite club or team kit on the Sunday morning club runs.
Not so this year. We get a glimpse of warm sunshine, then bang! It’s gone again and the temperature heads due south towards the thin red line of winter.
Thankfully, and regardless of how many times I have worn them, warmed them over the radiator (kids, don’t follow these guidelines here) and slipped them on all bleary-eyed for another wet morning commute, my Polaris Cadence Bib Shorts refuse to let me stay cold despite the rain coming at me from above, sideways and below.
They may not be waterproof, but that doesn’t matter. Waterproof can mean that you overheat, so the combination of thermal protection and moisture transfer (sweat) is a good balance when pushing on hard through the wind and rain – especially if you use your morning commute as part of your training programme.
Such is the effect of the soft and warm micro denier thermastretch fabric that Polaris have used in the construction of the Cadence bibs. The stirrup hoops that extend down from the leggings cover my bony ankles and easily protect them from the worst of the cold and wet.
Small I know, but when the wind howls and the rain is coming down in stair rods, it’s the little things that matter. Full coverage around the ankles is terrific finishing detail as far as I’m concerned. The older I get, the warmer I want to remain – especially on my bike.
The same might be said of the extremely comfortable Coolmax Silver padded insert. It's not overly pliable when off the bike, but that doesn't really count. On the bike the insert is noticeable only in that it's a sit-and-forget kind of thing. There's no discomfort, even when wet, so the insert must be doing its job correctly.
And if I use the Cadence Bibs in conjunction with my equally abused winter cycling boots, I can almost say I’m happy. But in reality it’s far too early and it’s wat too wet outside – again!
I set off for my favourite coffee watering hole en-route to the office safe in the knowledge that even when wet, Polaris’s finest bib tights are going to keep me warm and they dry out in no time. Just need to wedge myself next to the café’s solitary radiator.
The large Polaris logos on each thigh light up well in the headlights of passing traffic, as do the reflectives on the lower legs too.
The high back of the Cadence Bib Tights are a boon too. Warmth is everything in the winter wet, and nowhere is that more noticeable than on your upper body. The flat stitching throughout is near perfect, no loose threads to pull out. The stitching is wide, deep and just like the rest of the Cadence Bib Shorts, it’s tough and you know they’ll last for years of abuse and neglect.
I have also been spoilt by the wide shoulder straps on the Cadence Bibs, the high back and short, wide fitting is very user-friendly when getting dressed. There's little in the way of faffing about when getting dressed that's often associated with layering up in winter clothing.
Unless you dress accordingly, heat radiates away from a wet and cold body quicker than rats deserting the proverbial sinking ship, and every inch of warm fabric that covers your body is an essential element to staying warm and therefore remaining capable of cycling at the desired level of comfort and performance.
The Polaris Cadence Bib Shorts are like slipping into a comforting onesie, albeit close fitting and oozing thermal qualities that make a mockery of the British weather.
In summary: close fitting without being overly snug, the Polaris Cadence Bib Tights are the simplest and most effective full-length bib tights we’ve used this long wet winter and spring. Warmth and comfort equals performance. It’s difficult to ride well when your too busy shivering.