As we’re doing a grouptest of what look like superficially very similar cycling tops we thought we’d better explain the things that we look for in our “perfect” shirt. Below this is our review of the Altua Altitude.
We haven’t got any Euro road team jerseys in here, because we hope you don’t want to be seen wearing them off road (there’s a reason you can always find them cheap!). We’re not going to be style Nazis to any more extent than that though. If you want baggy lifestyle khaki colours or something skimpy in primary colours then that’s up to you. We’ll help by listing whatever colours they come in.
Again baggy or figure hugging, everyone has different tastes or even different demands for different days. As a general rule though, the more pieces the shirt comes in the better it will fit your body.
We like them cos they stop us getting hot. The longer the better, preferably with a tab on to make them easy to pull. Long zips make whipping the shirt on / off over your helmet easy too.
We’re after something quite clever here. We want it to shift sweat and dry fast, feel comfy and ‘natural’ on the skin , but we also want it to be survive a few dives into the bushes or trips round the washing machine with Velcro and other savage fabrics.
We’ll tell you when something is flappy, when it’s tight, and whether a medium is really a large or vice versa.
Traditionally it’s a row of three open topped pockets across the back, which generally work fine until you roll around after a crash. Zipped pockets have to be carefully thought out to stop them being really uncomfortable against Camelbaks or car seats though.
We won’t really know what these are until we meet them, but we’re willing to give extra marks if they’ve managed to find something exciting that we think is worth having.
Altura Altitude Jersey
Distributors: Zyro 01423 325325 zyro.eu.com
Altura might sound foreign (and like most stuff here they are made abroad) but they’re designed by Yorkshire mountain bikers, for British mountain biking conditions. We’ve been consistently very impressed by the test gear we’ve used so far.Style + cut
Baggy, loose hem cut for ventilation, but not so flappy it billows about. Lots of curved panels fall over the shoulders really well and avoid seam pressure points with heavy bags. High, relatively stiff collar is cosy / sunburn stopping when the zip’s up and flops out the way when it’s down. Long chunky zip gets an easy to use puller and opens all the way to your belly if your boiling.
Khaki and black or blue black colours.Fabric
High-tech, fast-wicking ‘FIELDSENSOR’ fabric. Feels a bit artificial on the skin at first, and some find it too scratchy but it sweats and dries really, really quickly and it was certainly never uncomfortable when riding. Holds up well through brambles too, with only one small snagged thread so far.Sizing
Pretty much spot on. Medium hangs just right on a scrawny 11 stone type.
As you’d expect from the Camelbak importers, Zyro have got the zipped pockets just right. Zips are vertical on the side seam of the shirt and open top to bottom so you won’t spill the contents. Positioning and zip tab is great for access on the move and they won’t chafe under bags or sat in the car. They’ll even swallow a laminated OS map without worry. Full marks.
Nothing really apart from the fabric but then it does everything else really well so we’re not complaining.
Unless you don’t get on with the fabric, (it’s not as scratchy as it can seem at first) this is an absolutely cracking jersey with some great design touches.
Cut and front zip are spot on, shoulder panels and rear pockets are ideal for Camelback users, the collar will stop lobster neck, all for a very competitive price.
We’ve plenty more jerseys to come this month but we reckon this will be a hard benchmark to beat.