Review: Jamie Edwards, photos by Jacob Gibbins Learn more:http://altura.eu We think: Comfortable kit that will keep us motivated through the wild winter. We’re looking forward to plenty of wet and windy rides in Altura’s new range.
New look Altura.
A couple of years back I heard about a plan to “make Altura cool”. Having seen years of very functional but not entirely “cool” Altura that was a bit of a surprise. After all, they are the consummate commuter’s waterproofs and high-viz jacket brand right?
The Three/60 is one of 5 jackets in the new Altura range and at £99.99 is the second cheapest of the bunch. It’s a mid-weight, windproof (obviously …) jacket that’s suited to gusty, drizzly days where the temperatures are getting chilly. It has two side pockets, a breast pocket (with a wee hole for your head phones) and a nice big hood that fits over your helmet. It also has neatly elasticated cuffs to stop chilly winds whipping up your sleeves or flappy material snagging on shifters.
The jacket is showerproof but not waterproof and claims to be breathable whilst also thermal and windproof. It’s up to you if that’s the jacket that suits your riding or you’re better suited to the other waterproof jackets in the range. The Mayhem Waterproof jacket is the same price and offers better rain protection and there’s various other options for more or less money to choose from.
First impressions from a first couple of rides are good. The jacket is comfy, fits well and looks good. There’s plenty of pockets and it seems to be breathable as promised. It’s maybe a bit warm for trail riding in our current mild autumn temperates but come those damp, cold winter days it’ll fit right in. For uplifts at the Bike Park, commuting, the pub and cold weather riding it’ll be great. If you’re the guy that likes to keep a light jacket in your pack and whip it on and off throughout the ride, maybe look at the more packable Attack 180.
Ride Free Thermo Socks £8.99
Aren’t proper riding socks great? Those Asda sports socks do the job … but a really good mountain technical sock is a wonderful thing, especially when the weather turns cold and miserable.
The Ride Free Thermo Socks boast all sorts of technical features – ultimately they’re comfortable, cosy for cold toes and are fitted nicely to stay in place and not shift around. The so called “3D ergofit” means they’re shaped to fit well in a natural riding position and they’re breathable and designed to stay fresh and repel bacteria.
After a couple of damp, chilly, autumn rides I’m now reaching for the Ride Free socks whenever they’re not in the washing basket.
Five/40 Waterproof Shorts £69.99
I don’t know about you, but I find a cold, wet, grit-filled arse crack to be a powerful de-motivator. A bit of investment in your kit and a decent pair of waterproof shorts, can do wonders for your interest in staying outside in the rain.
The Five/40 Waterproof Shorts claim to be wind and waterproof whilst remaining breathable and, after a particularly rainy first ride I can’t argue. The Five/40 definitely has the feel of a waterproof short – it’s not heavy but it’s definitely a thicker, a bit less flexible and tougher material than your usual shorts. There’s a slight difference in breathability compared to a non-waterproof short but winching up a horrible West Country climb in the sun didn’t leave me cursing them. When the weather turned hellish and we had to negotiate a few stream crossings I was very glad of them. Whilst the other guys in my group were moaning about being cold and wet, I was smugly dry and comfy.
The size and fit feels good, they’re a nice length that sits below the knee and there’s plenty of adjustability with velcro tabs on either hip. As the weather turns for the worse I’m looking forward to using these for almost all of my riding.
Protector ProGel Waist under short £54.99
The Protector ProGel Waist is a men’s chammy short with a little bit of extra protection to take the sting off those crashes.
It comes with Altura’s ProGel 3D pad which is a thick chamois made with multi-density foam. The thickness of the pad makes it good for big, long rides and after a couple of trips out in so far I’m keen to keep using it. I generally favour a light-weight, thin chammy but the Altura might have persuaded me to be a bit less blinkered.
The protection comes from EVA pads on the hips – which are essentially quite thin, impact absorbing, rubbery pads. They’re a welcome feature and would hopefully take a bit of the sting from a crash. Oh – the ProGel also has poppers that allow it to attach to Altura’s outer shorts, if that’s your thing.
Phantom Long Sleeve Jersey £44.99
The Phantom Long Sleeve Jersey was another welcome addition to a recent big day out. It’s light weight enough to feel unobtrusive but offers a bit of protection from the wind and a little bit more than your usual short sleeve, summer jersey. The material is breathable to keep you cool on long, sweaty climbs and the back is vented to keep the air flowing. The light-weight of the Phantom makes it good for year-round use – run it on its own in the summer or chuck a base layer underneath when things get cool.
A note on fit – the Phantom sizes up as a slightly slim-fit so if you (like me!) tend to compliment your riding with a beer and chips you may want to try before you buy and consider sizing up.
Five/40 Windproof gloves £34.99
I’m a huge fan of mid-weight riding gloves. The UK is rarely cold enough for out-and-out ‘winter’ gloves and options like the Five/40 give a bit more protection from the elements without giving away any dexterity on the bars.
I haven’t ridden the Five/40 Windproof gloves yet but they claim to offer wind and waterproof performance, whilst maintaining breathability. The fit and feel are good, they’re a nice middle-weight and everything so far suggests they’ll do a fine job. I’ll be reaching for these in the next couple of weeks as the wind gets sharper!