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The Altura Nightvision Men's Lightweight Cycling Shorts are a two-piece design that work for urban riding and those trips that don't require the full-on lycra look. The outers give a decent fit thanks to an elasticated waist and, while they are 'baggy,' there isn't too much material left to flap around. The inners, although a bit thin on padding, are barely noticeable away from the bike.
These shorts look like off-the-bike garb and have standard pockets, a zip fly, and a simple popper and button for securing them. In black (they're also available in blue) they look smart enough for most casual environments, and the elasticated rear section fits well whether hunched over on the bike or walking around.
The zipped pocket is perfect for carrying valuables and, being part of Altura's Nightvision range, there is a good smattering of reflective details on the rear of each leg too.
These shorts also include a lycra liner, with a thin pad that's unobtrusive and still comfortable when you're walking around. It's thick enough for rides of five to ten miles, I'd say, especially if the surface isn't too rough. It does depend on your bike a bit, too – anything too upright puts more of your bodyweight on the saddle, forcing the pad to work harder to keep you comfortable. A bit of chamois cream works wonders, though.
The inners are attached by way of loops and poppers, and stay in place when you are riding. I tried outers with road bibshorts for gravel use but, with nothing to attach the two together, the outers would often slip down, even with the elasticated waist.
When it comes to sizing Altura's kit tends to be a bit on the generous size, though that is reflected in their sizing guide. I found these shorts to fit well, and they are comfortable throughout with plenty of room for large thighs too. Even with the two-layer construction they are relatively breathable as well.
The build quality is good, and the fabric looks to be durable – there is no sign of wear and tear, or shiny patches from saddles. I would like to see some kind of DWR (durable water repellent) coating though for light rain or drizzle, or just dealing with road spray.
Priced at £55 these are a tenner more expensive than the Proviz Classic Men's Overshorts, and although those do have some water resistance, you don't get a set of liner shorts. They also lack a way of tightening the waist to tweak fit, so I'd say the Alturas have the edge. The Alturas look a bit more 'non-bikey,' too.
Alpkit's Strada shorts are similar to the Proviz in providing some water resistance, and again lacking any elastication at the waist. They are £64.99.
The Alturas are versatile enough to cope well with activities on the bike and away from it, and the casual only adds to that versatility. They are well made too, and thanks to the elasticated waist they are comfortable to wear in all kinds of conditions.
Missing a DWR coating, but otherwise a versatile and comfortable pair of casual shorts
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Nightvision Men's Lightweight Cycling Shorts
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says, "The Altura Nightvision Men's Lightweight Cycling Shorts provide all-day comfort with their removable padded liner and casual styling making them ideal for days when you are when mixing cycling with other activities such as walking, jogging or a trip to the park with the kids. The secure zipped pocked will keep valuables safe whilst reflective details will help you to stay visible to other road users in low light conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Removable padded liner
- Reflective print in key areas
- Secure zip pocket
- Relaxed fit
Accurate to Altura's sizing guide.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Both outer and inner shorts showed no issues with being washed.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Both the inner and outer shorts are comfortable, although the padding limits them to shorter rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They look casual enough to be worn off the bike.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No DWR coating.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They sit around the same sort of price as the Proviz and Alpkits mentioned in the review. They both get some water resistance, but they don't come with liner shorts included.
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
As a pair of casual shorts the Alturas are well made and comfortable, and look good on and off the bike. Getting inner shorts included in the price certainly helps, and short of a bit of water resistance, they aren't missing much.
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!