The foundations of a spring clothing ensemble for a UK-based cyclist are made up of a short sleeve jersey, bib shorts, gilet, arm and knee warmers, and a base layer – and that’s exactly what we’ve received from Altura.
We may be basking on the glorious first sun rays of summer but deep down we know it won’t last forever, least not until summer arrives for good, and so versatility is the key to a successful clothing ensemble.
Introducing Raceline, the new flagship collection of Yorkshire-based clothing brand Altura. Altura is best known for its entry to mid-level kit and not least the Night Vision collection favoured by commuters country-wide. Raceline, however, is a “true performance collection”, according to Altura brand manager Ed Broom when we showed us the range back in January. It’s a good looking range, too.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at each of the six garments.
Altura Raceline short sleeve jersey – £64.99
The Raceline Comp short sleeve jersey is made from a soft, super-stretchy fabric designed to quickly wick sweat away from the skin. It’s a very stretchy fabric and, despite Altura’s description of the jersey offering a ‘performance fit’, we’ve had to move down a size (from medium to small) to get the close fit we desire. Same goes for the rest of the range.
Details include perforated grippers on the arms to improve breathability and a full-length, auto-lock zip. Out back there are three rear pockets, as well as an additional zipped pocket. The hem is lined with a silicone gripper. The Raceline jersey is available in sizes S-XXL and two colours – black/white or red/black – for £64.99
Altura Raceline Comp bib shorts – £89.99
The Raceline Comp bib shorts are described as offering “the perfect blend of fit, performance and comfort for the racer or demanding sportive rider.” The shorts have a pre-shaped and multi-panel construction, said to improve the quality of the fit, and use Altura’s top-of-the-range anti-bacterial 3D Ergogel chamois. That too has been pre-shaped, while the multi-density construction intends to improve comfort over the course of a long summer ride.
The shorts are primarily made from a 80 per cent nylon and 20 per cent lycra mix, with a highly perforated fabric (which extends down to the front of the shorts) used for the the wide mesh bib straps, which looks primed to offer plenty of support and breathability. Altura have opted to use perforated grippers on the legs, with a strip of silicone gripper at the bottom, in a bid to offer compressive but irritation-free support. The shorts are available in three colours – black, black/red and black/white – and six sizes – XS-XXL – for £89.99.
Altura Raceline gilet – £49.99
A gilet is a key piece in any UK rider’s spring/summer wardrobe and Altura’s take looks well-suited to the changeable conditions we regularly encounter on these shores. It’s made from two fabrics, with the front and shoulders deploying a material which Altura say is both windproof and waterproof – and so designed to offer lightweight protection to stave off a chill in the air or passing shower – while the rear is made from a mesh fabric to improve ventilation and prevent overheating. Both the front and rear panels have an element of stretch and we’ve had no trouble rolling the gilet up and stuffing it into a jersey pocket during early test rides.
Other details include a full-length zip and high collar. The hem is lined with a silicone gripper and the gilet is available in black/white or black/red. It comes in five sizes, S-XXL, for £49.99.
and the gilet is described as having a ‘close performance fit’ though, like the rest of the Raceline range, we’ve moved from our regular size, medium, to a small for this test.
Altura Raceline arm and knee warmers – £24.99/£27.99
Arm and knee warmers get plenty of use in spring, summer and autumn, and add warmth to a jersey and bib shorts combination while being lightweight enough to peel off and stow in a jersey pocket if the temperature warms up mid-ride.
Both Altura’s Raceline arm and knee warmers have a pre-shaped ergonomic design, with silicone grippers to help hold them in place. They’re made from a fleece-lined fabric on the front, and an unlined fabric on the rear, which seems sensible to us, seeing the the front of your arms and legs are exposed to the wind.
The arm and knee warmers are available in two sizes – S/M or L/XL. The arm warmers cost £24.99, while the knee warmers are £27.99.
Altura Thermocool short sleeve base layer – £39.99
Finally, while not part of the Raceline collection, the Thermocool is Altura’s top-of-the-range base layer, made from what is described as a temperature regulating fabric that will keep you warm when it’s cold and cool when you warm up. That’s the holy grail of any base layer so we’ll find out it that’s the case here.
Otherwise, the base layer has a close fit but the fabric has plenty of stretch. It’s also spun with ten per cent anti-bacterial ‘Bodyfresh’ yarn said to help keep the the base layer fresh. Whether that works in the heat of summer is to be seen. It’s available in three sizes – XS/S, M/L and XL/XXL – for £39.99.