The Altura Classic Waterproof is a light, packable and reasonably breathable jacket for either emergencies or entire wet rides, with a high quality build, good looks and impressive details. The 'semi-fitted' cut doesn't work well for road cycling, though, and in places it comes up rather loose.
- Pros: Really well made, fairly breathable, white version gives good visibility
- Cons: Baggy arms, rides up at the shoulders, noisy
The quality of construction is immediately apparent. The taped seams are really neat, the stitching is immaculate and all the little details – reflective patches, a stylised zip pull, elasticated insets securing the wrists, soft mesh inside the collar, the raised rubber logo – really impress.
The fabric itself (100 per cent nylon) is subtly patterned and feels as tough as anything this thin and light is going to be, though Altura claims no ripstopping properties if you do hole it. If you don't like this white, there are black or dark blue versions instead.
It's both windproof and waterproof, and keeps off even heavy showers reliably. You still end up a bit damp inside, though, because while it breathes pretty well for a waterproof, you do get a build-up of humidity once you zip yourself up.
Happily, it just sent my operating temperature up a couple of notches before levelling out at a new (and quite sweaty) level, where it stayed quite reliably – and bearably. Even in relatively mild weather, it never spirals into a runaway greenhouse effect where you boil over and start whistling like an anxious kettle.
What I can't get on with is the cut. Altura defines this as 'semi-fitted,' so you can't expect a sausage casing-style race affair, but it's oddly shaped as well as baggy. Okay, not everyone's the same shape, but on me, for instance, the shoulder and cuff parts of the sleeves fit well, yet from the bicep to below the elbow they're big enough to leave 4-5cm pennants of fabric flapping in the wind. (It's not me in the photos.)
Similarly, while the shoulder fit is good from left to right, there's somehow enough extra fabric across the back for the whole thing to puff up while riding. Both shoulders constantly rise up far enough to actually block your vision when you look behind.
Though the dropped rear is a good length and theoretically secured by a very thin silicone-lined elastic, it's too loose to stop this light jacket from constantly sailing up – even with bulging jersey pockets to snag on. Get up any speed and all the loose material starts to flutter and snap loudly, too.
Sizing down from the medium on test to small could fix/reduce some of these issues – I'm 100cm round the chest, 96cm is the guide for small, 101cm for medium according to the Altura chart – as could using it for mountain biking, but I'd risk losing coverage from those nicely shaped cuffs and around the bottom edge.
Although £100 is at the lower end for a light, breathable waterproof, for the same price the Proviz Reflect360 is a better fit, super-visible under lights, and very breathable – although as some of that is down to mesh rear panels, it's obviously not as waterproof.
For another £50 there's dhb's Aeron Lab Ultralight, which is excellent, and a further £10 gets you the similarly high-performance Santini Guard. If you think that's quite a premium over the Altura Classic, you're right, but it's still nowhere near as much as the jump to class-leading designs such as Gore's Shakedry Stretch Jacket at £280.
Overall, if your riding is relatively slow and upright, the Altura Classic Waterproof is a good quality jacket at a reasonable price, and definitely worth a look. For serious road use, though, its baggy and odd shape causes problems.
Well made from quality materials but some fit issues, and the cut doesn't suit drop bar bikes
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Classic Waterproof Jacket
Size tested: Medium
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 describes this jacket as "highly breathable, windproof and ideal for year round road cycling providing protection whatever the weather".
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
- Fully waterproof including taped seams
- Highly breathable
- Reflective detailing
- Semi-fitted design
- Packs away into rear pocket when not in use
- Shaped cuff with softshell stretch gusset
- Narrow silicone taped hem
- 15/15 Waterproof and Breathability
Very neat seams and good detailing.
Compromised by awkward shaping.
Well made and feels strong for its weight.
Takes 'semi-fitted' a bit too literally, in that it semi fits and is semi too large. For me at least it was too flappy in the mid-arms and across the rear of the shoulders to work well in a crouch/at speed.
Very light and scrunchable.
Decent breathability and an unrestrictive fit.
£100 is at the lower end for a light, breathable waterproof, so it's pretty good value if you're riding upright and slow; less so if you're not.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Better to just hose it down if necessary...
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Keeps you pretty dry, but the flappy bits are loud, annoying, and can block your rearward vision.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Quality build, good looks and low weight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Did you enjoy using the jacket? No
Would you consider buying the jacket? No
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's well made, but not very well suited to road cycling, and I wouldn't recommend it for commuting thanks to the shoulders blocking your rear vision, unless your riding position is flat-bar upright. Pootlers and mountain bikers may be very happy with it, though, so it averages out at an average five.
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