Altura’s Flite jacket is a new addition to the Night Vision range. Aimed at ‘the fast commuter or safety conscious road rider’ it fills the gap between the full blown Night Vision Evo waterproof and the Night Vision windproof jackets.
Test conditions couldn’t have been better ranging from cold crisp mornings struggling to get above freezing to mild, wet days with temperatures in the mid teens. The trade off with waterproofing garments is lack of breathability and while the Flite isn’t perfect in this respect it is nowhere near as boil in the bag as other jackets on the market. Possibly some mesh vents under the arms would've helped dissipate some of the heat and wouldn't have affected the overall weight or foldability.
The waterproofing though is excellent keeping everything from constant drizzle to heavy rain and torrential showers out thanks to the 2.5 layer 100% nylon fabric. Most waterproof jackets have an inner mesh or fabric liner which makes them very warm on all but the coldest of days but the Flite does away with that keeping things cooler, of course if you really up the pace you will still overheat but no more say than if you’re wearing a long sleeve jersey.
It comes with it’s own ‘stuff sack’ allowing it to be folded and fits easily into a jersey pocket, weighing a tiny 140g (medium) you don’t even know it is there.
The Flite is cut for a racing position which does seem too short in the body when you are off the bike but once in the saddle it is perfect with no excess fabric flapping about and a dropped tail keeps your lower back dry. One criticism is the low neck which does tend to funnel cold air down your back but wearing a buff or similar around the neck puts a stop to this. Elastic thumb loops are also sewn on to the end of the sleeves to stop them riding up, I personally never needed them but it is a nice touch.
Of course the whole point behind the Night Vision range is making sure that you are seen when the sun goes down. With reflectives at the top of the arms at the front and lower back it will easily be picked up by car headlights, all positioned where they won’t be affected by wearing a rucksack. The fabric of the hi-viz version that we tested seemed especially reflective, on a night ride a fellow rider wore the Flite so I could see how well it stood out and no matter how far I dropped back the whole jacket remained lit up from my front light as opposed to just the reflective panels.
Altura have designed a truly versatile waterproof which allows it to be used year round, either with layers underneath in the coldest temperatures or stuffed in your back pocket for those summer showers you’ll get more use out of this than any other waterproof. The fabric feels durable and has shown no signs of staining even after plenty of mud covered back lane miles. Price wise, at first sight it might seem expensive for such a lightweight jacket but with such good performance and practicality I think 80 quid is money well spent. A quick click around the internet will show most places selling the Flite with at least 10% off.
A quality bit of kit that fills a gap in any cycling wardrobe, the Flite is good quality, well designed and covers all the bases required for its target market - the fast commuter and racer. I have other Altura Night Vision kit which is well into its second season so there should be no doubt about longevity either. A few things stand in the way of a perfect score which are the low neck and the lack of vents. A choice of hi-viz yellow and bright red are available, both of which will stand out in the traffic.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Night Vision Flite jacket
Size tested: Medium, yellow
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?
Altura states this is designed for the fast commuter and safety concious road rider and as I've said above I think they've pretty much hit the nail on the head.
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Ribble Winter Trainer for commuting My best bike is: Schwinn Fastback Pro
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.