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Altura's Podium Elite is a high-performance jersey for warm summer days. The lack of bulk and weight is in no small part down to Altura using a combination of fabrics including a fairly open mesh, which it calls 'Altura Draft Venting', on selected panels to help keep you dry. The mesh panels form the entire back of the garment (excluding pockets) and the two panels along the sides of the rib cage. Decent venting indeed, but watch out for the sun and wear sunscreen if you're going to be wearing this with nothing underneath.
As expected, the 167g featherweight construction means this jersey lets air flow freely around your torso; this isn't one for colder days. The fabrics are clingy, like most lightweight jerseys, which results in a very trim fit. The front of the jersey is cut much higher than the rear – Altura has designed this for an aggressive position on the bike.
The arms and hem are wide band affairs, with silicone grippers to keep them in place – a modern race-inspired look that keeps the jersey in place. This is all part of Altura's Ergofit approach to clothing design, and it works for me. There's no rucking up on the full front zipper, which I find can be a problem with some.
Sweat works its way through the fabrics quite quickly on warm days, and is wicked away rapidly – something that's also evident in drying time once you've finished your ride. Having used this on 20-mile commutes where I tend to work fairly hard, I've been happy to put it on at the end of the day, finding it to be as dry as a bone.
The full zip allows you to tune airflow on the go, and the zipper toggle is easy to find, yet discreet due to the colour-coordinated fabric and the small flap on the collar to cover the toggle when in the closed position. There's also an internal flap at the top quarter of the zip, good to avoid the problematic zip/chest hair interface.
At the back, there are three large rear pockets, with a further three smaller pockets including one that is zipped to stash away your valuables. The large pockets are a decent size and will even take a tightly rolled up lightweight waterproof or windproof. You can jam enough food in there for a day's riding too. Six pockets looks impressive on paper, and the first thought is that it would add bulk, but there's no feeling of surplus fabric when wearing this jersey. Two of the pockets are at the side, located near the kidneys, and will house a pump, gels or even a banana if you're careful with your selection to get one straight enough to fit.
The three large pockets and waistband feature a reflective logo and trim – useful for summer evenings when riding in low light levels, though the rear of the jersey is entirely black so not particularly visible when compared with the fluorescent front panels. The single ring of colour around the left sleeve is a nice touch.
Colour range is fairly limited, with a fluorescent yellow (as tested), red and black/white options. This may be restrictive for some, especially if you're looking for a garment to complement your club colours or other clothing in your wardrobe. The branding isn't too garish – Altura has struck a decent balance. Inside there is a printed logo and size between the shoulders, and a single label giving washing instructions. It would be nice to see Altura take its lightweight approach a step further and combine these two to avoid the need for a label near the kidneys. All in all, though, a very good summer jersey at an acceptable price considering the performance.
Good-looking, close-fitting, race-inspired, lightweight summer jersey
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Podium Elite Short Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product 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?
Aimed at riders wanting a lightweight performance jersey at a reasonable cost.
Altura says: "Comfort, performance and styling combine in this aggressive performance engineered Elite jersey."
A description that's pretty much spot on; it's a no-nonsense approach, and it works very well.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Altura Dry™ moisture management fabrics with Coldblack® technology
* Altura ErgoFit™ 3D patterning engineered for a more comfortable riding position
* Altura Draft Venting™ strategically located venting zones allow for enhanced breathability and thermoregulation whilst in the riding position
* Integrated silicon grip detailing delivers enhanced fit
* Strategically located retroreflective trims for increased visibility
* 5 rear pockets with an additional zippered pocket
Very well made, well considered stitching patterns. Feels like it will last.
Clings at the front when wet, but wicks rapidly, and not uncomfortable when saturated.
No snags or runs in the fabric so far. Only 'worry' is printed logos won't last.
Superb fit. Nothing to fault.
I felt at the limit of the arm bands, and I'm no muscle-man.
Very light considering the features Altura has included.
Only downside are the very trim arm cuffs.
It's not a cheap jersey, but can be had for less than the RRP if you shop around.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Seems able to cope with the usual "bung in the machine, select 30 degree wash" approach to kit care.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A jersey worthy of sitting close to the top of the summer kit pile. Very much a fair weather item, but when the sun's out and you want something that's trim enough to save a Watt or two, this is the top to go for.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The cut. Altura's Ergofit approach is very good.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The slightly clingy feeling on the chest area when it got very sweaty.
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 score
A very good summer jersey; the faults raised are minor.
About the tester
I usually ride: Kinesis Racelight T (winter) Cervélo S2 (Summer) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,