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Verdict: 
Expensive, with features that don't work, though split peak is a neat idea
Weight: 
34g
Contact: 
Altura Podium Cap
4 10

The Altura Podium Cap features venting zones and 3D engineering, but while the fit is good, I got quite a sweaty forehead and the peak is a little small in the rain.

The traditional cotton cap is an iconic piece of cycling attire. Worn under a helmet, its purpose is to shield the eyes from rain while adding a layer of insulation in cold weather. But how much improvement can you make to this humble design? Well, Altura has had a go and, to my mind, might have tried too hard.

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My first outing in the Podium Cap was a nice steady four hours on a Sunday. It was 5°C, with a chance of showers and a certainty of a cafe stop.

Donning the cap, the first thing I noted was the fit. The material is nicely stretchy and hugged my head comfortably. Putting my helmet on top alerted me to the other notable feature: the peak is made of two separate pieces, with a strip in the middle, designed to flex with the front edge of your helmet. It's quite a good idea as it allows you to wear your helmet normally, without the tip pushing down on the cap's peak.

Altura Podium Cap 2016 1.jpg

Altura Podium Cap 2016 1.jpg

Out on the road, though, I was a little disappointed. Though it fitted me well, the peak is a little on the small side when it starts to rain. I found that I just wasn't getting the same coverage from the Altura cap as I do from a more traditionally shaped design.

Once I got to the cafe, I was also surprised to find that the inside of the cap was wet with sweat. It wasn't a taxing ride, and I then faced the prospect of riding home with a damp head.

> Read more road.cc reviews of headwear here

Altura has included small strips of reflective material to help with visibility, a nice touch with safety in mind.

Sometimes, too many features can spoil a simple idea. Many cycling garments and technologies have been improved, but the humble cycling cap might just be one that doesn't need it. Altura has tried, and although it's made a cap that fits (me) well, it's lost the simple assets that a cap should have. It's also about three times the price of a cotton cap from Prendas, though it's not alone in that...

Verdict

Expensive, with features that don't work, though split peak is a neat idea

road.cc test report

Make and model: Altura Podium Cap

Size tested: One Size

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

From Altura:"A multi paneled cap construction in a lightweight fabric with breathable Draft Venting™ breather zones."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Altura:

* Altura Draft Venting™ strategically located venting zones allow for enhanced breathability

* Altura ErgoFit™ 3D patterning engineered for a more comfortable riding position

* Strategically located retroreflective trims for increased visibility

* Fitted

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
4/10

I got a sweaty head, even on an easy ride in chilly temperatures. Also, it struggled with rain.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The material shows no sign of wear, after wearing and machine washing.

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10

The pre-folded peak makes this fit under your helmet easily. The elasticated material also gives a great fit.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
5/10

One size fits most.

Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10

It's 34g. You'd be pushed to tell it's on your head.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
7/10

The only issue is it makes your head sweaty, which isn't the most comfortable after the cafe stop.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

Cotton caps can cost a third of this. Poor value.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

The split peak meant I was happy to machine wash it. It held its shape.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Not very well. It failed to keep the rain out of my eyes and made my head sweaty.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The split peak idea is good for fitting it under a helmet.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Sweaty head and rain in my eyes.

Did you enjoy using the product? No

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your score

A good idea, but it lacks the basic assets of a cycling cap. Gains points for the fit and the split peak, but loses them for being sweaty during easy riding and failing to block rain.

Overall rating: 4/10

About the tester

Age: 22  Height: 177cm  Weight: 64kg

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.

3 comments

Avatar
shay cycles [402 posts] 10 months ago
1 like

I generally like Altura kit but the hyperbole from Altura on this one needs challenging.

So here's what Altura said with my interpretion:

 

* Altura Draft Venting™ strategically located venting zones allow for enhanced breathability

(i.e.  it needs vents because it isn't made of cheap cotton)

* Altura ErgoFit™ 3D patterning engineered for a more comfortable riding position

(it's a cap - it doesnt affect your riding position)

* Strategically located retroreflective trims for increased visibility

(hmmm "Strategically" that would be on the outside and around the front, back and sides then?)

* Fitted

(that might also be why it needs vents and still makes your head sweaty)

 

 

 

 

 

Avatar
Valbrona [245 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

The type of product to put people off ever buying anything Altura.

Avatar
HowardR [141 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

Having a windproof fronting to a cap looks like a reasonable idea to me.

I find that a traditional cap under a helmet doesn't work too well for me as the thermometer nears 0. Modern crash hats are rather good at creating a rush of air over one’s head and by the time that a cap has become soaked in a couple of hours worth of sweat the cooling effect of a cold wind whooshing over a wet hat becomes rather painful – a bad dose of ‘Ice cream head’.