The Altura Icon Long Sleeve Jersey is a warm, comfortable and very effective top or mid-layer for cool to cold rides, with a style and build that belies its price. It breathes and wicks well, and bar a lack of windproofing and the odd straggly stitch, really has no negatives.
This is the kind of top that makes you think jerseys must be simple things to get right – clothes makers have had a while to practise now, let's face it – even as plenty of other brands get it wrong. Whatever, the Icon makes it FEEL simple by just being really right without fuss.
The fleecy white lining is soft against skin and stays put against baselayers, and while the overlocked seams are fairly chunky they're never perceptible once on. Continuous silicone grippers on the side elastic (and silicone dots on the broader rear band) stop it rucking up, and the length is well judged both in the front and for the dropped tail. I never had anything bunch up or chilly gaps appear.
Sleeve length is spot on for sealing snugly with gloves, and while the collar zips up tight the fabric's stretch is gentle enough that you never feel like a Death Star bureaucrat who just annoyed Darth Vader. There's nowhere for draughts to get in, though the fabric is not windproof, so this is better beneath a hardier shell on days with stabby winds.
It all adds up to a jersey that's warm and very comfortable, and the fabric (polyester with a dash of spandex) is nicely breathable and very good at wicking sweat: the Icon managed the impressive trick of ending rides drier than both the layer above and below it. It's also soft on the outside for a feel/look that, if not quite premium, is certainly pleasing.
Strong elastic and an average depth mean the three pockets are happy keeping hold of phones, packable layers and gels, and there's a side zip for extra security. Note this pocket (roughly 16x11cm, but with an 11cm zip that makes getting bigger phones in a struggle) intrudes on the main pocket's space, so you still only really have three rather than four.
This design of the Icon only comes in this fantastic green/orange combo (yes, looks are subjective, but if you disagree you're wrong) or a more neutral dark blue/white with odd yellow highlights, but other patterns are available – again in very few colours. That's a shame, as it could limit the appeal of this otherwise universal jersey.
Scanning our recent reviews it seems the majority are either far more expensive (£100-150) or a chunk cheaper (£20-35) than this. Triban's LS Merino is great at £50, but built and cut casual for touring. The Lusso Terrain (£70) also works really well, but comes with even more divisive styling, as does dhb's Blok Thermal... Clearly the mid-range is the place for more daring designs.
The Icon is pretty typical for a long-sleeve winter jersey, whatever the price: fleecy lining, high-ish collar, three pockets, silicone grippers and reflective highlights. Brilliantly, it hits the sweet spot with all these aspects, boasts impressive quality, looks sharp while doing it, and is very affordable. Recommended.
Really well-cut, warm and stylish jersey at a great price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Icon Long Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says this is "designed with a new subtle block geometric pattern for Autumn Winter. Lightweight and breathable, this thermal long sleeved jersey is perfect to use in cold weather conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The company lists these things:
- Highly breathable
- Thermal properties
- Three rear cargo pockets
- Rear zipped security pocket
- Reflective elastic hem
- Semi-fitted design
- Lightweight and comfortable with thermal properties
- Plenty of storage for day long rides
Tough fabric and seams, though stitching is untidy in a few spots.
Warm, well-shaped, very comfy and a slim aero fit.
Feels rugged, all good so far.
It's at the heavier end of the spectrum, but it's not excessive.
Soft lining, high neck and silicone grippers mean the great cut stays comfy.
Compares very well on price – it's cheaper than a lot of similar products and gives little to nothing away. It's versatile too: a useful three-season jersey that's as happy on top as under other layers.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems with cool washing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great fit, soft lining, stylish, warm.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The odd straggly stitch.
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 overall score
I can't say this is exceptional – it doesn't excel in any area – but I can say it's very good in (almost) every area and so a really strong eight.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking