The Altura Podium Elite Thermo Long Sleeve Jersey is one of the warmest non-windproof tops I've worn, and thanks to a close race fit it's the perfect companion for those hard cool-weather training rides and early/late season sportives.
The Elite Thermo is great for those rides where it's a bit parky but you don't really need the full monty of a waterproof or windproof jacket – early morning/late evening jaunts at this time of year, or those crisp, still days of autumn and winter.
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The whole jersey is fleece-lined, which traps body heat and keeps you warm, while the front panels and top of the arms use a slightly thicker material, giving a bit of protection from road spray and light drizzle as well as helping to keep cold air out.
It's all very similar to the Altura Podium Elite Thermo Shield Jacket I recently reviewed, but a lightweight version – as in, it doesn't quite offer the same protection as the windproof jacket.
The rear panels are thinner, which allows body heat to escape, and it all works pretty well because you can work hard without being overcome with perspiration.
The jersey is probably best suited to temperatures from, say, 2-3°C up to about 12 or so, which is a pretty good range.
The fit is great, close to the chest and stomach without being full racer tight, and the size chart on Altura's website is a good representation of what you'll get. A dropped tail gives plenty of lower back protection when crouched in the drops, and the front is also curved upwards towards the zip to prevent bunching at the midriff.
Decent length sleeves don't bunch or feel like they are being pulled tight when riding in various positions, plus the narrow cuffs will easily fit inside a pair of winter gloves.
Round the back you'll find a total of six pockets, where three are in the traditional position with one extra either side. They are all a decent depth and hold things like a mini-pump securely. That's only five... Aha, but on the rear of the centre pocket you'll find a zipped valuables holder, ideal for the likes of some cash or a bank card and all but the largest of phones.
Price-wise, at £79.99 it compares well with the competition – it's £20 cheaper than this £100 offering from Chapeau, though pricier than the high scoring Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal. (Though there is a much cheaper option in BTwin's £29.99 LS jersey.)
> Buyer's Guide: The best summer cycling jerseys
I'd still recommend the Altura: as an all-round package it is very good, especially when you take into account the construction and overall feel.
Well-designed and well-made three-season jersey with a sensible price tag
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Make and model: Altura Podium Elite Thermo Long Sleeve Jersey
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 says: "Comfort, performance and styling combined in this aggressive thermal jersey."
A well-thought-out design with material that it is versatile enough to be used throughout autumn, winter and spring.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*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
* Strategically located retroreflective trims for increased visibility
* Internal media port
* Spray protection back pocket
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for fit:
Rate the product for sizing:
The sizing was bang on in relation to the chart.
Rate the product for weight:
Rate the product for comfort:
Rate the product for value:
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The Thermo jersey saw a lot of off-road action on dirty, wet gravel tracks but the high-vis yellow panels washed up each time without staining.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The jersey covers a lot of conditions: cold winter days, fresh, chilly mornings and prolonged drizzle.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The racy fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd prefer a few more yellow panels on the rear.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Thermo jersey is a really decent bit of kit in terms of the fit, the material choice and the way it looks, and 80 quid is a pretty decent price for the amount of use you'll get out of it each year.
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
It would be interesting to know which masonic lodge the judge and company director belong to.
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