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The Altura Nightvision Men's Short Sleeve Jersey is an interesting summer weight design with a more relaxed fit and some subtle yet welcome tweaks for this season. Supposedly designed for commuting (which would explain the emphasis upon reflectives and generally being seen), there's a lot to like here. The fabric is soft and not overly synthetic, the retro-reflective detailing works well and it's competitively priced.
The jersey is made from 100% polyester but the weave has an anti-microbial finish called Silvadur, designed to retain freshness, while mesh underarm panels and a full-length zipper continue the temperature-regulating, hygienic theme. A vented back panel also encourages moisture dispersal.
More unusual features include a silicone print across the shoulders to provide better tenure to rucksacks, preventing them slipping about and, in turn, causing premature wear.
I was also pleased to see an LED tab, which, though not essential – after all, you can tether many to the pocket – is nicely positioned and feels quite solid.
Retro-reflective dots engulfing the sleeves and lower back are subtle and a welcome antidote to the block chevron type that I commonly associate with commuter targeted apparel. Navy and red are alternative colours, if you fancied something more subtle.
Medium fitted me just fine, and it was nice to find the sleeves hang a little lower for some additional protection and overlap when using arm warmers. It's plenty long enough in the back and front, too.
The fabric is stretchy but without feeling fluttery – good for touring and general riding, in my view, and permitting a thicker baselayer without any unwelcome bunching/gathering. Silicone at the hem also prevents unwelcome movement when hunkered low or just making those subtle adjustments in positioning.
The satin type yarn feels very soft against the skin and only noticed in the most positive sense. Baselayer quality allowing, it also responds very well to rider effort – I've been cruising along at 18-20mph for 2-3 hours without feeling damp. On the relatively rare occasions I use a rucksack, the vented centre strip seemed to assist moisture dispersal, avoiding the unsightly sweat patch.
Wicking isn't merino-quick but it's decent, helped by the perforated fabric at the armpits and the full-length zip on warmer days. At the other extreme, when the temperature has begun sliding with sundown, the fibres will also retain some welcome warmth.
There are three pockets, but they're configured differently to most, which threw me when I instinctively tried to shove my smartphone where the middle pocket usually is, only to discover there wasn't one. There are two reasonably deep, springy pockets either side, with the third, a zippered 'valuables' type, annexed to the right-hand side.
They're cut so they'll swallow a decent amount, without jettisoning their contents or bouncing around like a kangaroo.
There's a little discernible 'bob' with a full 600ml bottle on tow, but having realised it wasn't going anywhere I've just relaxed and enjoyed the local green lanes without giving it further thought. Same goes for smartphones and smaller (12cm) mini/micro type pumps, tubes and so on.
I found the side-entry pocket very secure, and access is reasonably good thanks to the sensibly long zipper tag. The front zip tag is the same, and easy to operate even in full finger gloves, though chances are you'd be wearing mitts in any case.
As for the LED mount, it's well positioned, so lights hang out of the way but aligned with driver eye-level. That said, I'd stick to something fairly feathery, such as the Ravemen TR30M.
In terms of presence, the fluoro yellow is very eye-catching even on sunny days and the retro-reflective dot patterning works surprisingly well, graced by vehicle headlights – a good 30-40 metres at dusk/dawn. It's more subtle and effective than traditional solid bock patterns.
Polyesters, and synthetics generally, have improved considerably when it comes to taming the funk. I've worn ours for 20 hours before washing it at 30 degrees, just to call its bluff. By this point there was a slight taint, but ordinarily I'd be putting a jersey in the wash every couple of wears, and daily during the height of summer.
Some yarns and fluoros in particular show up oily finger marks, spatter and the like – the sort synonymous with mid-ride fettling/repair. Faint traces of contaminated wax lubes have vanished without trace, which is promising.
Drying times vary, but I've found it line-dried in around 25 minutes at 18/19°C with a gentle breeze, nearer 45-60 minutes at room temperature. I've also hand washed and line dried it to similar effect, which extends its horizons to touring/bikepacking.
Continuing this narrative, I've indulged in a fair bit of bridleway action, with the inevitable prickly foliage encounters. Not its natural or intended habitat perhaps, but the lack of bobbling or snagging thus far is reassuring.
It's competitively priced – the Altura Club Jersey is another decent option, if you wanted a more relaxed fit and were on a tighter budget, costing a fiver less, while Chapeau's Club Jersey also offers a classic rather than racing snakes fit, with three rear pockets but not a zippered option. It's a tenner more than the Nightvision.
At the other extreme, Bontrager's Solstice comes in at a mere £34.99, offering a semi-fitted cut, three rear pockets and a headphone port, and several colour choices including 'Yellow Visibility'.
Overall, I think the Nightvision jersey is a good bet for general riding, not just commuting. I like its semi-fitted cut for touring and more general riding, and the retro-reflective and other detailing is also very effective and well thought out.
Comfortable summer jersey with some lovely features for general riding not just commuting
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Nightvision Men's Short Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says: "As a popular favourite, we've taken everything that's good about the Nightvision Jersey and made it even better for those daily commutes. The same relaxed fit has been retained but there's now improved fabric quality for the main body with a Silvadur antimicrobial finish to maintain freshness and mesh underarm panels for extra breathability. There's silver reflective print panels in key areas to aid visibility in lower light conditions and also a light attachment loop when you want to add an extra level of safety. We've also added a silicone print across the shoulders to help stop backpacks from slipping and reducing wear and tear. Whether it's keys, a work pass or cash, the handy rear stash pockets and a zippered pocket let you keep those important essentials to hand when time is of the essence and you are in a rush to beat the clock".
My feelings are it's a decent jersey for general warm weather riding, with some nice novel touches. Not completely sold on the pocket configuration but that is a personal feeling rather than the garment's failing.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
High wicking fabric with Silvadur antimicrobial finish
Highly breathable mesh underarm and back panels
Highly reflective print detail
Silicon grip print on shoulders
Two rear pockets and security pocket with hidden zipper
Rear light loop
Silicon rear hem gripper
Main Fabric: 100% Polyester
Neatly executed throughout, no obvious weak spots in our sample.
Meets and in some respects exceeds the design brief.
So far the materials have responded very well to the routine of wearing and machine washing with no obvious weak spots, or deterioration.
Relaxed fit rather than "racing snakes", but more tailored than several touring models I've used.
Soft and less synthetic feeling than some polyester weaves, and regulates temperature very competently.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy to live with and the retro-reflective detailing hasn't lost its sparkle despite regular machine washing and the odd (accidental) 40-degree cycle.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Altura Night Vision Men's short sleeve jersey meets its design brief very well. The retro-reflective technology is subtle, whispers by day, shouts come dusk, and the inclusion of an LED tab is another nice feature (although best suited to lighter lights). The weave is soft against the skin and the cut, though relaxed, is still on the right side of snug. Fibres react promptly to rider exertion and there have been no issues with hot spots/clamminess.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit/cut, retro-reflective detailing and LED tab all stand out.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Pocket layout was counterintuitive for me.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Altura's Club Jersey is another decent option, if you want a more relaxed fit and were on a tighter budget. Elsewhere Chapeau's Club Jersey, also offering a classic rather than racing snakes fit, is a tenner more, while Bontrager's Solstice comes in at a mere £34.99, offering a semi-fitted cut, three rear pockets and a headphone port (if that's important) and several colour choices, including 'Yellow Visibility'.
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
It's very good for the money: a nice summer weight jersey with thoughtful touches for fast commuting and general riding.
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)