ALTURA NV2 THERMO LONG SLEEVE
XL Team Red 404g (as tested) £59.99
Altura’s NV2 Long Sleeve Thermo Jersey is designed for general riding, with a race fit looking good by day and night whether on the commute or out all day. Even better, it performs very well in most areas.
Night Vision gear has been around a long time, for much of which I have been a regular user. The new NV2 range offers a different take on both purpose and tech. In other words, cycling gear appropriate for lots of uses and a new reflective technology to avoid confusion with emergency services working at night.
Materials and design
Eighty/twenty polyester/elastane mix allows for a shapely, “aggressive” fit, whilst providing a warmth on an autumn day. I’ve used it to about eight degrees - not counting windchill on lengthy descents - in combination with the Altura Thermocool Long Sleeve Base Layer. Get much below that and I’ve been reaching for the outer shell (worth noting that I cook at a degree or so lower than is usual for normal folk.
Against the skin, the fabric feels pleasantly soft.
Silicone grippers keep the dropped-back hem in place whether on the hoods or drops, and quite possibly any other position or bars you want to try. Kidneys have been kept comfy. There are no grippers on the cuffs, but I’ve had no issues with exposed wrists and gloves have slipped over for under with no problem. Whilst it is a bit early to say much about the zip, prolonged zipping has failed too induce roughness of motion. Needless to say, the zip goes right to the top of the collar.
Also available in black and hi-viz yellow.
Casting vanity aside, I have got used to being XL. However, this is the top of the size range for this jersey. Now, whilst this is not a garment aimed purely at racing snakes or those who live on a diet of lentils and lettuce, there is not a lot of space inside for a broad fourteen-stoner such as I. If you like a looser fit, then check the sizing guide carefully.
Having said that, I like the fit. Bringing vanity back into play, it flatters me. Moreover, it has done well as a middle layer on the few frosty mornings we have had recently.
“Darkproof” reflective technology is more subtle than currently better-known Scotchlite reflectives, Basically, in daylight it looks like quiet grey detailing or a fashionable contrast panel. In the light of a vehicle headlamp or even, as shown here the Sigma Buster 200, it does it does the night-shift with aplomb.
There’s been some debate here. Some seem to feel that Scotchlite condemns cyclists to unwanted attention on civvy street. On the other side there are those who reason that emergency workers wear it because it does the job well and that is exactly why it has become so common on cycling garments.
Amongst the handful of motorists I have spoken to, for what it is worth, opinion was equally divided; easy to see to nowhere near as clear covers the gamut of responses. Of course, there is always the issue that this is something new and less familiar. Research has also recently suggested that reflective are most effective for cyclists when located on the legs or feet.
Altura have maintained small Scotchlite details. You’ll spot the contrast above.
There are six in total. All are fairly generous, at least when it comes to swallowing multi tools, spare tubes, energy bars, keys, phone and other stuff without succumbing to sag. The sort that feels like you’ve packed two playful Labrador puppies along for the ride. It’s worth lining tech in a freezer bag/similar since the pockets aren’t waterproof and they’re also a bit snug for an OS map.
A final zipped pocket gives added security to cash and small valuables.
As a jacket for general riding I have been generally impressed, on its own on a balmy afternoon, or in combination with base layer and/or outer shell when setting out with the mercury around zero.. More discipline specific gear will do a better job for those who want it, but for day rides, touring, commuting and quick blasts, this has maintained a nice balance of warmth with temperature control.
Waterproof it ain’t, nor does it claim to be water-resistant. However, after a short shower it has dried on the ride in about twenty minutes, so fine if the temperature is decent, or the café close.
Personally, I’d find three wider pockets preferable to the five, but that is, I’ll admit, something that there’ll be disagreement about. Whilst the ability to organise things with more pockets is a plus, some old-fogeys like to stick the guide book or map in the jersey pocket - not easy on the fly with narrower pockets.
In chilly conditions, in particular, the drop-back and gripper hem have been a real plus. Likewise the soft of the collar when zipped tightly under the chin.
The 3D modelling and elastane have kept things comfortable whether honking or cruising on the drops.
You’ll find cheaper with some similar features and more expensive with more, but whilst there is a lot of competition at this point in the market, the NV2 Long Sleeve Thermo Jersey is well-worth taking a look at; it does what it sets out to do very well for the general rider. As ever, you’ll find it cheaper on some retail sites. Whilst personal preference would see some changes, there’s no chance of the moths getting at this one.