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The Altura Airstream short sleeve jersey is a lightweight summer model with a relaxed fit. It's well-made, comfortable and cools effectively thanks to a thinnish fabric, but the sleeves can flutter at speed and there's no zipped pocket for valuables.
What we have here is a thin, yet seemingly durable polyester weave. Raglan sleeves, '3D patterning' and flat seams promise frictionless movement and day-long comfort. The Altura Draft Venting essentially means the fabric is thinner at strategic points, namely the armpits and sides.
One surprise is the omission of a zipped rubbish/valuables pocket. However, the traditional three are very deep, so you'd have to be going some (or very unlucky) to lose or eject anything. I've had no problems despite stuffing in a phone, keys, a banana and a 750ml bottle.
The material is thinner than some relaxed-fit 'touring' designs, so the Airstream is loose around the waist, but by no means baggy or billowy – at least in the main body. The sleeves can flutter a bit at speed, though, which can be distracting. Nevertheless, it's ideal for wearing with a base layer, as it still doesn't feel remotely restrictive.
If you don't like this colour, there are versions in White/Black, High Viz Yellow/Blue and Navy/Yellow.
The Airstream is a good all-rounder, with a palpable cooling airflow around the armpits and sides, and fabric that's quick to dry. It can take several days' riding without washing, too, which is good given its suitability for touring, commuting and general use. Five days may be too many though, I can confirm. By that point, there was a low hum, if not the sort to induce social distancing on its own.
The zipper tag is sensibly proportioned and easy to operate when cruising along. Crucially, the half-elasticated, silicone grippered back holds the Airstream tidily in place to eliminate unwanted drafts or bunching.
Machine washing at 30/40 degrees never delivered any unpleasant surprises for me, and the Airstream also responds well to handwashing. Thus far there's little sign of bobbling, pulls or damage to the fabric, despite the occasional entanglement with low-hanging foliage.
At £44 the Altura Airstream is at the lower end of the market, though you still have plenty of choice. The Scimitar Eco1 Recycled Cycling Jersey is £55 and performs just as well (while being greener), while the Van Rysel RR 900 SS offers an effective race cut for just £39.99.
If a casual fit and low price are your main criteria, the Triban RC500 is another contender at just £29.99.
The Altura Airstream is an excellent warm weather option, and its relaxed fit allows easy layering for cooler-day usefulness too. It's a well made, comfortable and stylish jersey at a decent price.
Well designed, wallet-friendly jersey with a loose but not baggy cut
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Airstream short sleeve jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says: "Enjoy a comfortable relaxed fit, with Altura 3D patterning engineered for a more comfortable riding position. Integrated silicon grip detailing delivers enhanced fit."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
High wicking fabric
3 rear pockets
Half elasticated and silicon grip hem
Other features include strategically-located retroreflective trims for increased visibility in low light conditions, three rear pockets plus an internal media port.
The fabric is thin (in the light and airy sense) but this and the construction seem sturdy enough.
Loose-fitting but without feeling baggy, but roomy enough for a full-length base layer. Light and airy fabric and full-length zipper ensure easy temperature regulation.
No obvious signs of wear, despite regular washing and bridle path cut-throughs.
Loose but not baggy.
Light and airy.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Takes 30 degree washes just fine. No ill effects when thrown in with the household wash at 40 degrees, either.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. It's light and comfortable, has three deep pockets and is well balanced for those situations where a "racing snakes" cut doesn't suit.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good cut, decent fit, subtle colours.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A zipped pocket would be a bonus.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £44 the Altura Airstream is at the lower end of the market, though you still have plenty of choice. The Scimitar Eco1 Recycled Cycling Jersey is £55 and performs just as well (while being greener), while the Van Rysel RR 900 SS offers an effective race cut for just £39.99. If a casual fit and low price are your main criteria, the Triban RC500 is another contender at just £29.99.
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
This is a decent jersey for touring and general riding, but falls short of 'very good' thanks to the lack of a zipped pocket and slightly flappy arms. It's certainly a good, however, and a solid 7.
About the tester
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)