Altura's Icon Osaka short sleeve jersey is light and comfortable next to the skin, easy on the eye and affordable, though the fit didn't quite work for me and there are early signs of wear on the fabric.
On its website, Altura bills the Icon as 'constructed for speed without sacrificing comfort'. What it means by this is that the main fabric is a thin, high-performance fabric (100% polyester on the label) that can wick away high levels of sweat. A mesh fabric (91% polyester, 9% Spandex on the label) is used under the arms and down the side. I can confirm that this works. It's been hot out recently and although I have jerseys available in lighter colours, this has been the chosen one.
On the back there are the usual three pockets, which can take plenty of stuff. The right pocket has a vertical zipper on the side to stow away valuables. This zip has a long tag, as opposed to the full-length front zip, which does not.
Shaun reviewed an Altura Icon short sleeve jersey last year. This was the Warp version, which is a different design, but is also subtly different in other ways. The hem on the arms is less pronounced on the new version, as is the gripper hem on the back. I can only go from Shaun's description, I haven't used the Warp, but it seems that the cut has changed a little as well. He describes the Warp as a tailored fit and very snug, which is not how I would describe the Osaka.
At 178cm (5ft 8in) tall and 77kg, I'm normally pretty much bang on medium in non-Italian brands. On this medium jersey, the arms fit perfectly, as does the hem on the waist and the collar. However, there is too much spare fabric around the lower back and the chest to call the fit snug. For a jersey billed to be "constructed for speed", I would have expected a tighter fit.
Having said that, this jersey just feels comfortable next to the skin. After a pretty sweaty long ride I contemplated that I hadn't thought about the fit or sweat or anything, which in my book means it just works.
One consequence of this lovely stretchy fabric and looser fit around the back is that I've avoided loading up the pockets, instead choosing to use a frame bag. I'll admit that back pockets moving around is a pet hate of mine.
I've worn and washed this jersey a good few times. The fabric is starting to bobble a bit, though in fairness a fair few of those rides have been with a backpack on, which would increase wear on the fabric, and the backpack touch points are where the bobbling shows. A small bit of stitching (less than half an inch) has come loose on the collar. I can fix this easily, but it feels a bit early in the jersey's life for this to happen. I suspect this might be an anomaly.
The 'Osaka' part of the product name indicates the print; Altura make three other versions: Bamboo, Hex and Tessalate. I like the print of all four of them and have had positive comments on the Osaka version that I'm reviewing here.
In terms of value, an RRP of a penny under £55 seems pretty reasonable for a decent jersey, compared to what else is out there. Chapeau's Club jersey is another £15 and doesn't have a zip pocket, though the fit sounds better. You can pay less, but you might not get the same combination of features – although Decathlon's £39.99 Van Rysel RR 900 gives it a run for the money.
I have enjoyed wearing this jersey. Yes, there are a couple of minor niggles, but given the price point they are easy to live with. If, like me, you like the print, then I think you'll enjoy this jersey too.
Lightweight summer jersey that is comfortable to wear and easy on your wallet
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Icon Osaka short sleeve jersey
Size tested: M
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says: "Constructed for speed without sacrificing comfort. The vibrant design makes a statement and the high-performance fabric backs it up.
'When you work hard, so does this jersey, wicking sweat away through the capillary action fabric and ventilating via the mesh underarm gusset.
'Other advantages include all-round safety from the 360° reflective detailing. Plus plenty of storage capacity for long days in the saddle, thanks to three large rear pockets. With this jersey you're all set for summer."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
High wicking fabric
360° reflective detailing
3 rear pockets including 1 zippered pocket
Mesh underarm gusset
Silicon grip hem print
There's about half an inch of stitching which has come undone on the collar.
I didn't notice the jersey at all on a five-hour ride in hot weather.
After a handful of rides, the fabric is starting to bobble on the back pockets where my backpack sits. I guess this is not entirely unexpected given how thin the fabric is.
For a medium, the arms fit perfectly, as does the hem on the waist and the collar. The fit on the chest and lower back feel too generous though.
Given my comments on fit, I'm going to say that a medium is a medium. I suspect if I tried a small to get a tighter fit, I'd find the arms and collar too tight.
In terms of temperature management, this jersey is really good. I am however marking this down a little because the fabric around the back pockets is loose enough that the jersey is pulled to the side that's most weighted.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I don't think the issues I have reported are because of washing, as the bobbling shows up where a backpack has been rubbing the fabric. I didn't find any other issues with washing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The fabric is nice and light and feels comfortable next to the skin. It wicks moisture very effectively and dries quickly, be it sweat or rain. As long as you don't mind a bit of spare fabric, and don't load the pockets up, it performs well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I like the design and the fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'm less fond of the cut, though this is a fairly minor point in reality.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The price is on a par with the Scimitar and Madison Turbo jerseys we've reviewed recently, though neither are comparable in terms of their target audience and use. There aren't many jerseys at this low price point that boast the same features.
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 lightweight summer jersey that feels comfortable next to the skin. Its performance is pretty impressive at this price point, which makes it easy to live with the less than snug fit and a bit of bobbling on the fabric.
About the tester
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Cannondale CAAD10
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,