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The Altura Nightvision Zephyr Men's Stretch Jacket combines protection from the elements with plenty of reflective detailing. The relaxed fit makes it hugely versatile, both on and off the bike, and it comes in a range of bright colours. It could do with a few more vents, really, and a detachable hood would make it better for faster riding.
The Zephyr is designed for use both on and off the bike, with a cut and fit aimed more at the urban end of the market, I'd say, and for this kind of riding it offers a good performance.
You get plenty of length in the sleeves so your wrists don't get exposed when reaching forward to the handlebar, and a slightly dropped tail to give you some rear end coverage.
With a 10k waterproof rating thanks to the fabric and taped seams, it'll cope with heavy rain for at least a couple of hours. Breathability is rated at 5k, and riding along at a steady pace won't see things heat up too rapidly, helped by the vents along the back panel.
Push up the pace a bit, though, like on a training ride, and it could really do with some zipped vents under the armpits as you can can get quite sweaty, quickly. (On its website Altura lists underarm vents as a feature of the jacket, but it doesn't have any.)
Going out on my road bike early in the morning with temperatures around 5°C, I found that I could only really wear a summer baselayer at my normal training pace. I get that this isn't exactly what the Zephyr is aimed, I'm just trying to give some sort of idea about its limitations.
I found the cut great for riding on longer routes on my gravel bike, especially when loaded up with bikepacking kit and taking a more relaxed sort of approach.
Also, should you need to get off the bike to walk anywhere or to set up camp you are still well covered from the elements, especially thanks to the coverage of the hood.
It's a shame it's fixed, though, because when riding the hood can fill up with air, which can get a bit irritating. Being able to remove it or roll it up would be a bonus.
Altura's Nightvision range is all about being seen and the Zephyr has an array of reflective dots all over the light blue sections which cover the chest and arms. There are two other panels too, one either side on the lower back.
In daylight it all looks pretty subtle, but shows up well when light falls on it after dark.
The overall quality of the Zephyr goes a long way to justifying its £120 price. It looks to be very well made with a quality finish throughout.
It compares well with something like Chrome's Storm Signal Jacket; Matt wasn't overly impressed with its breathability either and it's £20 more.
It's not as good value as Galibier's Courchevel Storm Jacket, though, which follows a similar design but is slightly more waterproof and scores well on the breathability front. It has an rrp of £92.40.
For steady urban riding I think the Zephyr is a decent jacket; it just about copes on the breathability front while offering great waterproofing. If you find yourself outside in the dark as well, you'll be glad of all of those reflectives. For other types of riding you'll get on fine with it on all but the most vigorous, as long as you layer up carefully.
Not the most breathable jacket, but versatile and impressively waterproof
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Nightvision Zephyr Men's Stretch Jacket
Size tested: Large
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 says, "Waterproof and reflective styling designed for use both on and off the bike
The Nightvision Zephyr stretch Jacket combines contemporary styling, taped seams, and comfortable a super softshell waterproof fabric that looks good both on and off the bike.
Large areas of tonal reflective print help you stay visible in low light whilst the underarm and rear ventilation system helps you stay feeling fresh and comfortable on the commute."
I'd say that that covers things pretty well. It's probably most suited to an urban environment, but is versatile enough to be used elsewhere.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
- 10k / 5k waterproof and breathable rating
- Taped seams
- Large area of tonal reflective print
- Vents underarm and across back panel
- Fixed hood
- Two hand pockets
- Relaxed fit
Altura's sizing is more generous than most, but follow the guide and you'll be fine.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
It's been washed many times without any problems.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It works well for urban style riding and other places too as long as you layer up right.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Can get sweaty if you increase the effort.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It sits somewhere between the excellently priced Galibier mentioned in the review, and the not quite so impressive Chrome Storm Signal.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's good: a well-made jacket that works well for all kinds of riding (and off the bike too), but more vents, and a removable hood, would improve things, especially for more physical rides.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!