509 Evolve Jacket and Bib Review
But innovation goes far beyond the latest and greatest in machine technology; it also extends to products, accessories and, of course, gear. This constant evolution is a win for consumers, as the quality and function of the gear we wear has improved exponentially from the days of heavy liners and moisture-absorbing cotton fill. An example of this is the new 509 Evolve Jacket and Bib I’ve been testing this winter for Mountain Sledder.
I have been riding long enough to remember the days when my water-soaked jacket would freeze stiff during lunch breaks and on the trail ride back to the truck. Back then we would often wear just two layers—a cotton t-shirt underneath a heavy parka-like winter jacket with zero wicking abilities. Awesome.
Fast forward a few decades and most everyone has figured out that layers are the key. Modern fabrics use blended materials to wick moisture away from the body while providing protection from water and wind. Bulkiness is out; lightweight, properly-fitting products that allow unrestricted movement is the name of the game.
509 Evolve Jacket and Bib Review
For my 509 Evolve Jacket and Bib review, let’s start with a point that may or may not be high up on your own personal priority list when shopping for new gear, but which is very important for some folks.
In fairness, style is subjective. And while monosuits have taken the world by storm they are, as a rule, not very flattering to the human form. No one wants to look like a box. I still prefer the way a jacket and bib/pant fit and look, and this 509 combo does it perfectly.
Add in the bright colours that 509 offers against the grey and black highlights, and you are sure to be noticed on the mountain. The brilliant blue that I have is particularly striking. Work the now iconic “509” logo into the design and you have one of the sharpest looking outfits I’ve seen on the hill.
Outerwear needs to be shaped just right if it’s going to fit properly and still allow movement without binding or restriction. This 509 Evolve Jacket and Bib setup does this amazingly well. It fits great, with no baggy or saggy spots but still allows a full range of moment. I don’t find that it pinches or binds at all when jumping from one running board to the other. And I never once felt that the suit was restricting my movements. The only limiting factor on mobility appears to be my own physical flexibility (or lack thereof if you ask my wife).
So why didn’t I give the fit a 10/10? I had to take some points off for the sizing. It’s not that the 509 sizing is wrong, it’s just different than we have become accustomed to—you will likely find that the 509 sizing runs larger than you would normally wear.
I was fortunate enough to be able try on various sizes at a sled show last fall so I knew what would fit exactly, but if you are ordering online it is worth noting how their sizing fits. For example, I am 5’11” and 175 lbs, and I have always bought large-sized gear. However, in the 509 Evolve Jacket and Bib I am wearing a size medium and still have plenty of room for three layers underneath. Be careful on sizing and you will be happy with the fit.
This Jacket and Bib combo has performed flawlessly all season. I have thrown everything I can at it, from bottomless over-the-hood powder, to a bone chilling -30˚C foray. On that day, I simply put on an extra warm layer underneath (consisting of a pair of long johns and an extra sweater) and had no issues with the cold.
Keeping Snow and Moisture Out
The collar is just the right length to keep snow and cold out but not bunch up under your helmet.
In the powder I keep the powder belt snapped up and the drawstring snugged to keep snow out. The wrist gaiters are a fantastic addition that I have never used before, but in the future I won’t buy a jacket without them—they are that awesome at keeping snow out. Anyone who rides with me knows that I have a tendency to roll in the powder once in a while—usually unintentionally, and often at speed—and I haven’t had snow up my back or inside my wrist cuffs at all.
The 509 5TECH weatherproof material coupled with the waterproof zippers and sealed seams has ensured that I have stayed dry every ride. The full-length pant leg zippers and boot gaiters make pulling the bibs on and off easy, and they get out of the way easily when you’re tying up your boots.
Plenty of pockets means you can separate all of your belongings to help avoid losing them; nobody wants to drop their truck keys in the snow because they are digging their phone out of the same pocket!
Little things make a difference too, like the soft lining of the pockets that are deep enough to hold onto valuables should you forget to zip them up.
The underarm vents are huge and move a lot of air when the temperature climbs, with a mesh lining to keep snow ingestion to a minimum. In the real deep powder days one usually doesn’t have their vents open much, but it’s a nice touch anyway.
There are also tether rings on both the jacket and the bib, so if you are riding topless in the spring you can still clip in to keep your sled from having a runway.
The only nitpick I have (and it’s a tiny one) is with the lace strap used to attach to your boots to hold the pant leg down. Other pants I’ve worn use a clip that slips over the bootlace easily. But the 509 Evolve Bib uses a snap on a strap that you have to fish through the lace and fold back on itself. It works okay, but if you do your boot laces up tightly first, it can be a small struggle to get the snap through. Nitpicky, I know, but a clip is so easy!
With three full months of use I have had zero significant problems with my 509 Evolve Jacket and Bib. A close inspection shows no threads pulling or seams opening. All zippers are still tight and trouble free.
The 5TECH fabric still looks great, and seems to shed dirt fairly easily. I’ve pulled sled covers off after a dirty road-spray-filled drive, and haven’t left any stains or marks anywhere.
So far, I would call the durability perfect except for one small burn mark I have down on the pant cuff where I accidentally contacted the header pipe on a Timbersled-equipped Husqvarna 450 I rode for the weekend. You don’t think it’s fair to blame the pants for not standing up to a 1200˚F header pipe? That’s ok, I don’t blame the pants either, but it’s honestly the only mark I can find on them.
The final piece of the puzzle when purchasing gear is always price point. Good gear costs money. If you could get the latest in fabric technology coupled with snowmobile-specific features and designs off the shelf at your local discount store, you would. But the reality is we have to pay—and we understand that.
We certainly do not want to pay more than we have to though, and that’s where the 509 Evolve Jacket and Bib bring a pleasant surprise— the price is modest! It is certainly not “inexpensive”, but compared to many other products on the market, 509 has kept the price on the Evolve very competitive.
509 Evolve Jacket and Bib Review Summary
While monosuits have become the “in” thing, there are those of us who still prefer a tw0-piece for various reasons, whether that be fit, flexibility (mix and match jackets and pants), taking the top off for a spring ride, washroom breaks or just personal preference. The type of suit you like is up to you.
But if you are a “two-piece” kind of person, then I highly recommend the 509 Evolve Jacket and Bib. Some people buy new gear every season, while others will get a favourite outfit and keep it for years. Personally, I normally go a couple of seasons before replacing, and often rotate through a mixture of old and new. When I find something that flat works though, I tend to keep it—and this 509 Evolve outerwear is going to be in my gear bag for a long time.