Raceline is Altura's performance range and this Windproof Jacket is designed for winter and autumn use. It performs well in general, but a few little niggles let it down.
It's basically a softshell jacket that uses panels of various weight to control temperature and keep out the elements. The front is windproof using a Roubaix style material which is smooth on the outside but has a fleecy pile on the inside. This traps warm air against the body and as a bonus feels really soft against the skin.
These front panels extend from the hem to the neck and as well as being windproof are also water repellent. They stand up well to road spray and a bit of drizzle; anything heavier will get through but thanks to the fabric you do stay warm.
The front of each sleeve uses the same material, keeping your arms warm when you're riding into a headwind or if it's a bit on the chilly side. Your sides are also looked after by the same material. Basically any part of your body that's going to subjected to the winter wind is covered.
Everywhere else uses a thinner, much stretchier form of Lycra. This allows the jacket to move with you as you shift from the drops to the hoods, out of the saddle or whatever position you need to adopt. It is also there to transfer body heat away should you start to overheat and it does a decent job of that.
You get four pockets at the rear: three standard and one zipped big enough for some keys or a phone. Unfortunately they seem to be made from the same stretchy material and although nothing jettisoned out of them at any point I was constantly worrying about losing things. They are quite large and anything remotely heavy like a multi-tool just bounces about as the material stretches.
Below the pockets is a dropped tail with a silicone gripper to keep it in position. It certainly didn't move when crouched in the drops and the material proved to be a pretty good barrier against road spray.
The Raceline does a good job of keeping you warm and it's plenty thick enough to cope with freezing temperatures. If you do start to overheat it does wick okay too but I think maybe under the armpits could do with using the same material as the back panel instead of the softshell fabric. That would allow heat to escape from one of the hottest parts of your body.
Going by the size guide the Medium on test is my recommended fit but the Raceline has quite a relaxed cut for a performance jersey which does create some bunching when you're on the bike.
It may read as if I didn't like the Raceline, but that's not the case. It's a good bit of kit that is comfortable to wear and has really good build quality; it's just that there are too many little niggles for it to justify its £119.99 price tag.
The red/black and white/black colour options are good for visibility and with a size range from XS through to XXXL there should be one to fit everyone. For dry winter training miles the Altura Raceline is a good performer but its lack of breathability at the armpits and relaxed fit isn't the best choice for performance riders.
Well made winter jacket that just struggles to justify its price tag.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Race Line Windproof Jacket
Size tested: Medium, Red/Black
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?
The Raceline Windproof jacket is designed as a winter/autumn jacket by using softshell materials to trap warm air inside. It works well in cold conditions and is okay in terms of breathability.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-Softshell front/arm panels are windproof & water repellent
-stretch panels at the rear for fit and wicking
-full length zip
-three pockets plus one zipped pocket
-34" to 51" chest sizes available
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty well though there were a few small niggles which took the shine off.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The pocket material isn't supportive enough.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 35 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Whatever needs testing or Genesis Flyer, fixed of course! My best bike is: Kinesis T2 with full Centaur Red
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: time trialling, 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.