Monday, November 22, 2010 4.00pm
By James Costley-White
Altura's Night Vision jackets are firm favourites with Britain's cycle commuters, but they're not the only options in the brand's hi-vis arsenal.
This offering from the more pricey Reflex Ergo Fit range combines a higher quality – read lighter weight and more breathable – React Lite fabric with a sportier cut. And don't worry, the fluorescent yellow colour option (it's also available in black and blue) and reflective detailing means you'll still stick out like a sore thumb on dark roads.
While the cut is certainly closer-fitting than the Night Vision Evo jacket we tested recently, the Ergo Fit shares some of that jacket's flaws – at least for taller riders (we tested a size medium). Namely a high-fronted collar that digs into your chin (with no fleece lining this time to make it more comfortable) and a lack of underarm stretch that can cause it to ride up at the front.
However, the arms are a better length and the whole jacket is lighter and less bulky, with just the bare essentials when it comes to features. A zipped chest pocket and single (albeit large) rear pocket, no pit-zips and just a flap at the top of the back for ventilation.
The lack of a mesh lining means the jacket feels a little clammy next to the skin and is best worn over a long-sleeve base layer. In fact, this is our main issue with the jacket. While we can't fault the Reflex Ergo Fit's waterproofing, we weren't impressed by its breathability.
As soon as you push more than a gentle pace, sweat begins to build up on the inside. This is the case with most cycling waterproofs, and the reason why many experienced riders choose to wear windproof shells rather than full waterproofs in all but the very worst conditions.
But it's exacerbated here by the lack of any lining. There are no pit-zips, so the only way to keep temperature down and perspiration at bay is to open the front zip – fine on warmer spring/autumn days, not an option in mid-winter.
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