POC focuses on the performance and quality of its materials, and its ride-specific cut. That attention to detail does not come cheap, and neither does its Ambient Thermal Jersey. In a long-sleeve, full-zip style that’s replicated in every clothing range and every price point, it might be difficult to justify the outlay for this one, but I’m here to tell you that even though I wanted to not notice the difference, I did. Everyone might make a jersey like this, few are as good.
Slim in fit, the Ambient can be worn as a base layer next to the skin, or as I have on colder days, as a mid-layer paired with a base underneath and topped with a waterproof or windproof jacket.
Design and Specifications
The POC Ambient Thermal is made from a brushed-back polyamide with four-way stretch. It features a full length front zip and three rear drop-in pockets with one secure zipped pocket for valuables. There is an integrated panel for emergency contact details inside the rear left pocket, which can be left out for visibility. This tab is reflective and there is further reflective detailing on the collar, back pocket and hem. It also features silicon grip at the side and back of the hem.
This is a close fitting style, but worth noting that despite having plenty of stretch for movement, the sleeves are constructed with the curved seams for bike-specific fit that we see on other POC garments.
The POC Ambient Thermal Jersey is as straightforward a style as it’s possible to get, usually hard to test and harder to write about because by virtue of the simplicity there’s not much to say. Except in this case there is. Far be it for me to persuade you to drop well north of £100 on a long sleeve top, but bear with me while I explain why I might now seriously consider it.
The close fit is comfortable thanks in large part to the stretch of the material, but the cut is an important contributor. When anything designed for movement is cut along the lines of the body it isn’t relying on the stretch in the fabric to make it fit, but to allow it move. It sounds like a small detail, but in practice it makes for less resistance and that elusive barely-there feel that becomes more important the longer you ride. Here it is the curve on the sleeve that makes the difference and finding the perfect fit, even with long arms that many jerseys ride up on, is a delight.
More that the fit, what is instantly noticeable is the warm next-to skin feel. It goes on smooth and feels immediately cosy. Strategically placed brushed sections keep you comfortable when it’s cold but wick well on those spring or early autumn days the start with a chill but warm up when the sun comes out. I’ve been wearing this with its POC partner, the Pro Thermal Jacket and I’ve been surprisingly warm for such minimal layering. When the thermometer has been in single digits I have underpinned with a base layer for additional warmth, but as the mercury has been climbing I’ve worn just this and the jacket. The resulting comfort, especially on long rides, has been appreciable.
Reluctant to carry a pack at almost any time, I appreciate the sensible amount of pockets. The three drop in ones carry any emergency supplies that are not on the bike and the zipped one is useful for keys. I probably would have overlooked the ICE tab detail, observing it as a ‘nice to have’ rather than essential, but having had the experience of a ride buddy found on a grass verge not knowing what had happened or even who they were, I’d say fill the damn thing in as reassurance to your nearest and dearest.
Looking back at my notes, which turned out to be extensive for such a simple piece, I notice my one line on the quality of the construction, which is that this is so well made you could wear it inside out and barely notice. It really is that nice.
Pricey though it is, the POC Ambient Thermal jersey is a premium quality jersey that delivers a balance of comfort and warmth making it a top option for the shoulder seasons.
Tech specs: POC Ambient Thermal Jersey
- Price: $160 / £140
- Weight: 211g (large)
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Colors: Epidote Green, Uranium Black
- Available from: Pocsports.com