The Altura Raceline gilet is well designed to the meet the demands of the British climate but the fit isn’t quite right for riders of a slimmer build.
Altura offer a range of five gilets and this one is from the top-of-the-range Raceline collection. It’s a familiar design and one common on gilets of this ilk, with a waterproof front panel, mesh back and relatively compact design which ensures it fits into a jersey pocket.
That means the Raceline gilet is well suited to the changeable British climate, when a gilet comes in handy to pull on and off as the weather dictates. The waterproof front, which extends on to the shoulder blades and high collar, is very effective in keeping water out and ensures this gilet is better than most that use a water resistant (and not waterproof) fabric. It’s windproof, too, so the Raceline works just as a gilet should do in protecting the core from wind and rain while offering more ventilation than a jacket.
The mesh back helps in that regard and offers an obvious route for heat to escape, though naturally it’s open to the elements unlike the rest of the gilet – there’s only so much a gilet can do in keeping the elements at bay. The waterproof fabric is fairly effective in transferring moisture away from the body but begins to struggle during hard efforts or when the temperature nudges up – this is a gilet best suited to spring, autumn and cool summer days, rather than the middle of summer (when we’d opt for a lighter ‘just in case’ gilet) , though it rolls up and fits in to a jersey pocket with little fuss when not needed.
Altura describe the gilet as having a ‘performance fit’ but the cut is more generous than most. Our initial medium sample – this reviewer’s regular size – was too big and so we swapped for a small, which is still a little loose around the hem. The hem itself is elasticated and lined with a silicone gripper but, on this rider (71kg, 5’11”) at least, is prone to riding up as it doesn’t sit close enough to the body to hold firm. It’s not a significant fault and doesn’t necessarily effect performance, nor will it be a problem for many riders, but something to watch out for when ordering.
The Altura Raceline gilet has been tested through spring and the early days of summer and it’s stood up to the task of keeping little drizzle, passing rain showers and the chilly morning air at bay. The fit may not work for everyone, so consider ordering down a size or try before you buy. The gilet’s wind and waterproof front panel means it’s a piece likely to get plenty of use through much of the year.