Part of Altura's Podium Series the Elite Thermo Shield Jacket offers a well thought out close cut fit making it ideal for those who like to push on a bit on their training rides. It's warm too rather than hot in use giving you loads of scope for layering in various temperatures.
The Elite Thermo Shield is a windproof jacket which happens to be able to keep out the odd light shower rather than a full on waterproof but over the last few months it's stood up to most of the weather the British winter could throw at it. If your needs err more towards waterproofing then Altura have that covered too with Podium Elite Waterproof Jacket which I reviewed at the back end of last year and which is another impressive performer although perhaps not if all out waterproofing is what you're after.
11 of the best windproof cycling jackets
When it comes to keeping the wind out the Podium Elite Thermo Shield Jacket works very well indeed with a complete block against the most savage of windchills even when below freezing. Your torso feels completely warm while other parts of your body are noticing the cold, quite impressive considering how thin the fabric is.
It works by having the front, side and arm panels created from a thicker fleece backed material than you find on the rest of the jacket. This traps body heat to create insulation from the cold air on the body parts that hits it first.
Making the rest of the panels from a lighter weight fabric means that your temperature can be reasonably well regulated although if you really push it you will get a bit clammy. No more so though than with most other jackets of this type.
As I mentioned Altura don't call this a waterproof and although drizzle will bead before running off anything heavier than a light shower will make it through. You do stay warm though so it's no real issue and it seems to dry really quickly as long as you keep moving.
Temperature wise with a bit of sensible layering this jacket will easily cope with sub zero temretures, about minus two degrees I think on one ride with just a merino baselayer underneath. At the other end of the scale I was comfortable up to 10 degrees centigrade.
Altura have come up with a really decent sport cut on the Podium range with this Thermo Shield jacket having a nicely dropped tail and arced front for comfort when crouched on the bike. This means you don't get any bunching of fabric around the stomach area.
The arms offer plenty of length and the cuffs are close fitting with an added elastic section which keeps things in place inside the cuffs of winter gloves. You also get a good high neck with a zip garage to stop any irritation.
On colder rides you normally end up carrying more, an extra couple of tubes, more food than normal for example so it's great to see Altura have included five deep pockets. Three in the traditional place with one more wrapping itself around on either side. They are all secure and don't sag under load plus the central one has a weatherproof fabric making it ideal for a phone or mp3 player as it also has a headphone hole.
That central pocket also has another zipped opening for putting valuables in. That pocket and the tail are covered in reflective material giving you a large block of rebounded light to alert drivers of your presence.
As far as value is concerned it's pretty much on par with a lot of the other softshell type jackets we've taken a look at over the winter months. The Bontrager Velocis for example but shop around and you can find it for a lot less than that. One disappointing thing about the Altura is how quickly the fabric has bobbled from riding with a Camelback on a few off-road excursions which kind of makes me wonder how long it would be before the jacket might started to look tired. If you're unlikely to ride with a pack on your back this might not be a problem, if you are it might be worth bearing in mind.
Impressive performance against the wind and plenty of neat touches slight question mark over bobbling material if riding with a pack
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Make and model: Altura Podium Elite Thermo Shield Jacket
Size tested: Medium, Hi Viz , Yellow/Black
Tell us what the jacket 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 say, "A lightweight performance jacket with exceptional windproof properties for those colder rides."
I'd class the Thermo shield more of a jersey than a jacket but it is a great mid-weight top for when the conditions are cold and damp.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
*Altura Shield™ technology is engineered to provide protection from wind and water whilst still offering high levels of breathability
* Altura Thermo™ technology using thermosuede fabrics delivers body warming insulation and warmth, to maintain core thermoregulation, keeping you warm, dry and comfortable
* Altura ErgoFit™ 3D patterning engineered for a more comfortable riding position
* 5 rear pockets with an additional zippered pocket
* Integrated silicon grip detailing delivers enhanced fit
* Internal media port
* Retroreflective lower back and centre back pocket panels for increased visibility
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Rate the jacket for performance:
Keeps the wind and drizzle out while offering decent breathability.
Rate the jacket for durability:
After a couple of months use the rear panel is starting to bobble above the pockets due to carrying a mini pump and retrieving stuff on a ride.
Rate the jacket for breathability, based on the manufacturer's rating:
It's not a jacket that feels overly clammy in use.
Rate the jacket for fit:
A performance fit without being too close.
Rate the jacket for sizing:
The medium sized up spot on.
Rate the jacket for weight:
About right when compared to the opposition.
Rate the jacket for comfort:
A decent cut and the fabrics are soft against the skin.
Rate the jacket for value:
Price wise things are about right but I'd expect better durability of that rear panel for this kind of money.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
It saw plenty of spray from dirty roads and gravel tracks which completely washed out every time.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It keeps the wind out and you cool enough so I'd say that's a tick in the box.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The amount of pockets.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
That bobbling material.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes, possibly
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Thermo Shield is a very good jacket in terms of performance and fit if you want a top that you are able to ride hard in throughout the colder months without overheating. The only thing that concerns me is how long is the material going to last before it starts looking tired.
Age: 38 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
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,
What is your strategy and how have you implemented it?
Yep, and the EOT will have gone too.
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