Polaris from its conception has never been just a brand; it is a way of life, a tale of comradeship and most importantly a desire to produce technical innovative clothing that supported a passion and a way of life. When Director Roger Dillon founded Polaris back in the 1990’s (named after the famous navigator’s aid the Pole Star) it was because there weren't any suitable clothes on the market for the emerging sport of Mountain biking. Roger, an experienced diver and fell runner, moved to the south and soon realised there wasn't much in the way of mountains and purchased a bike. He soon realised no one was producing innovative, technical clothing that could withstand the new challenges of Mountain biking and began to design his own clothing, even teaching himself to sew.
From humble and passionate beginnings and after a move back to its home in the mountains Polaris Bikewear began to grow. Over the past 24 years, from its base in Derbyshire, Polaris has developed into a truly international brand with established distribution of all its products in Spain, Germany, Austria, Russia, Canada, Ukraine, France, Scandinavia, Ireland and as far afield as Australia ,India, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia.
Polaris always remembers to be true to its UK heritage. Sales teams work daily with an excellent network of dedicated Independent stores to ensure access to quality, affordable technical kit across now diverse cycling fields. With Polaris now producing entry level clothing to High End wear, whilst still keeping its loyal to its All Mountain roots, there is a range of quality technical performance kit for all sexes, ages, disciplines and budgets.
Polaris has developed from being Born in the Mountains amongst the need for technical clothing designed to withstand the harshest of elements on long challenges to transferring those lessons learnt into raising designs for innovative technical clothing for the road. Valuing the spirit of team, friendship and comradeship and through this drives a philosophy that cycling should be accessible to everyone. From hardened “hearties” – who derive no pleasure out of anything less than an epic struggle or feat of endurance (harking back to the days of the Polaris Challenge – The First Ever Mountain Bike Orienteering Event) to modern day cyclists getting into the sport for enjoyment ,health and fitness aiming to complete their first charity ride or sportive.
To this day Polaris are proud to provide technical clothing and luggage to athletes performing at the highest level such as GB Triathletes Adam Bowden and Holly Lawrence along with XC International MTB Race Team – Fluid Fin to name a few as well as organisations such as Project Enduro ,who work on enabling disabled people and amputees the ability to experience the thrills of cycling, and importantly providing the kit for the BBC’s Children In Need Rickshaw ride ensuring millions are raised for charity. They also continue to develop and test their technical clothing against the harshest environments by sponsoring extreme endurance athletes such as Alan Sheldon and Andy Heading to race the 1000 mile Alaska Iditarod Invitational on Fat Bikes
When it comes to building on heritage Polaris has a history like no other. The Polaris Challenge was the first ever Mountain Biking Orienteering event of its kind and at its peak not only attracted riders from all over the world but was held in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, France and Germany. The Polaris Challenge was a two day event combining Mountain Biking, Navigation and Touring. Teams of Two or Solo riders, set out to reach check points positioned in the hills with the furthest ones away/ difficult to reach being worth the most points. The aim was to accumulate the largest number of points each day within the set time limit with tough time penalties for riders that go over.
Riding mountain bikes was still a new concept in the UK back then and there was a high proportion who were not so much cyclists but outdoor people with bikes.
Polaris is based on the ethos of the Polaris Challenge in that it can provide for competition but with a social edge as well. Polaris is not designed for one demographic of rider, it is designed for anybody out there who has felt the enjoyment of riding a bike in all areas of life. Whether enjoyed with their competitors, team mates, family or friends but always in the knowledge that the kit or product was developed to withstand and stay true to its cause enhancing the users experience in their chosen discipline.
Polaris like a river has flowed a long way since its source in the mountains but its key values of technical innovation, quality and the ability of product to perform in the most difficult of physical and environmental conditions has never left its core. Coming into its 25th Anniversary year in 2015 Polaris is still leading the way in creative and quality cycle wear not only at home but on the world stage too.