Altura Podium Elite waterproof jacket - review - Road Cycling UK

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Altura Podium Elite waterproof jacket – review

Lightweight jacket well-suited to changeable conditions, but it struggles a little in genuinely cold and wet weather

The Altura Podium Elite Jacket looks to pack a lot of performance and protection into a very light and simple looking jacket. Low weight and the promise of being ‘the perfect thermoregulatory tri-season garment’ are big claims to make – but the Podium Elite does a good job of delivering as a piece well-suited to changeable conditions. That said, it’s not perfect for prolonged rides in the cold and wet.

When I first pulled the jacket on, I just couldn’t get into my head that it was waterproof, windproof and breathable – that’s the Holy Grail, only genuinely achieved by a few items of clothing – because it’s a pretty light jacket.

As with all jackets, the fabric really makes it. The Podium Elite uses an own-brand waterproof and breathable fabric called Shield Technology. It has a 10,000mm waterproof rating, which is adequate for most rainy days – but not prolonged downpours, which will begin to penetrate the fabric. The jacket lacks behind the dhb Aeron Storm and Endura FS260-Pro SL Shell in that regard, but this is a lighter piece more akin to a jersey than a fully-fledged jacket.

The Podium Elite is Altura’s top-of-the-range waterproof jacket

This isn’t a thermal jacket but the windproof nature of the fabric keeps things relatively warm, as long as you are producing enough heat. That’s fine on a fast training ride but, if cold and wet, the windproofing will only keep you warm for so long. A prolonged ride in the rain left me feeling cooler as I tired, and a more substantial jacket or more base layers would help combat this.

With that in mind, this probably isn’t the ideal jacket for long, cold, wet rides, but it is spot on for spring showers and cool winds – keeping the worst off and drying quickly.

The jacket breathes well but the inside of the fabric can get a bit clammy if you don’t wear long sleeves underneath. I doubt, however, you’d often wear this jacket with a short-sleeve layer, unless you had it stashed on a summer ride with the chance of rain. It does pack down pretty small, so would be handy in that regard.

The fit is good – more of race fit than a commute fit, as you’d expect from Altura’s flagship jacket, and that helps eliminate cold spots, while also helping to prevent the jacket billowing up like a sail. There’s also a handy amount of stretch, which means on the bike comfort isn’t compromised. The arms are plenty long enough and nicely tapered to fit. The close-fit cuffs offer a close seal over gloves, totally minimising drafts.

The long sleeves and close cuffs help keep things comfortable
  • Specification

  • Price: £119.99
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Colours: black; high-viz yellow/black
  • Website: Altura
  • UK distributor: Zyro-Fisher

When out riding, I also found the dropped tail to be useful, but if it were a touch longer it would have helped increase the level of protection from spray if you don’t ride with mudguards. Still, the silicone gripper on the hem was good at keeping it all in place.

The jacket has a good level of attention to detail. There’s a chin guard on the chest zipper, an internal media port (and a fabric loop to hold your earphone cable), and two zipped rear pockets with storm flaps. That said, these could have been a little larger to allow easier access, and the side panels of the storm flaps a little looser, as they don’t allow full hand access, made even harder when wearing gloves.

There are reflective panels on the shoulders and rear pockets – well placed in visible positions, and actually large enough to add some useful visibility rather than a stealthy and not hugely useful tag, as found on many other jackets.

Altura Podium Elite waterproof jacket (Pic: Jim Clarkson/Factory Media)
Altura Podium Elite waterproof jacket (Pic: Jim Clarkson/Factory Media)

The full-length zip also has a storm shield flap, which helps to prevent any water or wind getting in. The zip isn’t waterproof but the flap offers solid protection against really heavy weather, and the high neckline also boosts the jacket’s credentials, reducing any water down the neck in heavy downpours.

Conclusion

The Altura Podium Elite succeeds as a lightweight jacket which offers a good level of protection in changeable conditions, but it begins to struggle in truly cold and prolonged wet weather. In terms of value, it’s pretty good, with well thought-out features that could only use some small improvements to really make the jacket shine and stand out.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Good level of protection for changeable conditions
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent fit

Cons

  • Starts to struggle in heavy rain or cold conditions
  • Dropped tail could be a little longer

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