I would rather ride my bike twice a day to and from work, driving through rain and icy wind than get on a packed train with someone’s smelly armpit in my face. And for that sort of commitment to commuting, good quality gear is required.
A staple of the cycling commuter, the classic Altura Night Vision Evo Jacket is a great piece of kit for days where anything could be thrown at you during those dark winter mornings and evenings. This jacket is certainly aimed at the commuter. It’s not something I would wear on long weekend training ride, it is too chunky to fold up and stash away in a back pocket.
The Altura Night Vision Evo Jacket is advertised as having 360 degree visibility, and I can honestly say that it excels in this department. Highly reflective panels feature on the front and back of the jacket along with around the zips, arms and tough wearing cuff fasteners. It also comes with the integrated i-Lumi™ light system which can flash at two different levels or remain constant. The i-Lumi™ simply pops out of its keeper if you want to take it off, and if you happen to lose it, replacements are available. The Altura Night Vision Evo Jacket comes in a range of colours, but I was particularly smitten with the vivid blue version I tested, and not just because it matched my bike!
The jacket has two zips are top notch. As someone that spends a lot of time outdoors up mountains and on bikes, I'm always wary of a garment sold as waterproof, but with potential weak points. These zippers are really well sealed on the front and the back zip pocket has an extra waterproof flap. The bonus is that the zips are super easy to open and close with gloves on as the zip tag is really long. A must for winter.
The material is fully mesh lined, and it is pretty breathable. I commuted in this for a few weeks, and I don't hang about. I didn't need many layers underneath. The top waterproof layer does a great job of keeping the wind out, which is brilliant for cold mornings. Pit and rear vents give options for extra ventilation.
The Altura Night Vision Evo Jacket gives an option to add on a hood, but this is sold separately at around £10. I wouldn't recommend this for riding due to vision being blocked, but handy to have if you want to use this jacket off the bike as well.
[related_articles] A few weak design points have let the Altura Night Vision Evo jacket down however. Firstly, wearing this jacket with a backpack creates an uncomfortable problem. For starters, the i-Lume™ system becomes redundant. Even more of an issue is the back pocket zip tag, great for easy opening and closing but it really digs in when you've got a backpack on.
The second problem is that when riding, the sleeves are simply too short and the dreaded wrist ‘gap’ appears, never nice, especially in winter. The jacket body size fitted me ok, but I would drown in a size up just to get the sleeve length.
I can see why this jacket remains a solid choice for the commuting market, it’s a great piece of kit and does come highly recommended. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite work for all- back pack wearers with long arms, to be precise!
- Excellent reflective detail.
- Great colour choices.
- Good waterproofing.
- Uncomfortable with a back pack.
- Short sleeve length.
Price: £79.99 (RRP £99.99), available from Evans Cycles.