Altura Night Vision Evo gilet combines comfort and safety in a lightweight, easy care package that squirrels into seat packs or poacher-style jersey pockets when not required. Sure, day-glow stretch polyester mightn’t set pulses racing but a host of discrete touches from detachable fibre optic strips to sensibly designed zipper tabs distinguishes it from competitor designs and means it’s a cinch to throw on/off on in the saddle. My only minor gripe is the fabric's tendency to absorb moisture.
Look beyond the attention-grabbing neon yellow and acres of shout-out-loud Scotchlite and there’s a host of subtle detailing. Take the fibre optic strip light. This system overcomes the tendency for clothing clip LEDs to tug or otherwise detract from the garments drag- cheating cut while allowing the gillet to join the household wash. Elsewhere a simple elasticated dongle means you don’t need super nimble fingers to whip it on and off in seconds – even on the fly – while perforated reflective "ghost mesh" panels combine side-on visibility and perspiration control.
Sizing is classically Altura. Almost without exception I take a size large in jerseys but our medium test sample graced my contours perfectly with sufficient length to prevent it gathering up and inviting chill when hunched low on the drops. As a performance garment, the thin fabric is deceptively good, offering excellent defence against gusty autumn winds even worn atop a thin long-sleeve jersey sans base layer. Sauntering through green lane and bridlepath, its equally nonchalant when teased and tugged by thorns and overgrown foliage.
Road grime, mud and other spray wash cleanly and it dries ready to wear in 20 minutes. Safety-wise, there are just a couple of reflective vests that come close. The day-glow burns through overcast October mornings giving a good 300 yards notice in congested town centres – more along secluded backwaters. Come nightfall, the sheer prevalence of Scotchlite brings the gillet to life, forcing larger vehicles to sit up and take notice – headlamps dip and, crucially, the side visibility ensures you're seen when tackling roundabouts and turning generally.
Perfect for off-season and early-season training and Audax duties
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Make and model: Altura Night Vision Evo vest
Size tested: Medium
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?
"An evolution of the best selling safety vest the Evo vest offers a lightweight, sportier alternative with masses of reflectivity including revolutionary new Ghost Mesh reflective panels. Ideal for the fast commuter or safety conscious roadie."
No argument here.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)