Polaris AM Pilgrim MTB Jersey
Good-looking, functional mountain bike jersey, ideal for year-round UK riding
MTB guidebook author, magazine journalist, gear reviewer and guide Tom Hutton reviews a 'one jersey to rule them all' in typical trail riding, all-mountain terrain. His findings?
Our pros and cons...
- Quick drying
Tom testing the Polaris Pilgrim
Based just outside the Peak District, Polaris have been at the hub of UK mountain bike gear since the word go. They initially rose to fame as backers of the Polaris Challenge - the UK's mountain bike orienteering event.
Polaris make top quality, practical clothing and equipment that is perfectly suited to the needs of the typical UK trail rider. More recently they have diversified into road and urban cycling.
Roadies prefer tight lycra but for MTB baggies seem here to stay
Mountain bike jerseys
X-country racers and roadies might prefer tight lycra, but most trail riders perfer a more casual, less figure-hugging design. It seems, for the time being at least, that baggies are here to stay. Good news too if you want to wear any pads. Obviously we all enjoy wearing short sleeves in the summer. And the razor-sharp tan lines are like a badge of honour for the serious rider. But for versatility and year-round MTB-ing, long sleeves offer so much more.
The Airbase polyester fabric is a good weight for all-round use, offering some insuation beneath a soft shell or waterproof but not feeling too hot for the average day out. It dries quickly when wet, through sweat or rain, and the stretch panels beneath the arms and on the shoulders make it easy to move in. It does get a little pongy after a day's wear but that's the price of polyester really.
Comfort and fit
The Pilgrim comes up a little small so most riders may have to go up one size. It's designed to be loose but the hem's good and long, as are the sleeves that roll up easily on warmer days - critical in a long-sleeved jersey. The fabric feels great against the skin so no worries there.
The 1/4 zip is enough to increase ventilation without spoiling the casual look of the top, but aside from this, it's a simple design with no pockets so best worn with a pack, as you'd expect from an all-mountain shirt really.
I really like the graphics and design of the Pilgrim but would love a brighter colour - say blue or green. Other riders definitely like the 'stealth' look on the trail and this will suit them down to the ground.