The Altura Thermocool Long Sleeve Baselayer is soft and warm, fits very close to the skin and wicks well. The '4-way' fit is excellent, but the sleeves came up too short for my liking when riding.
Producing a baselayer that is not too hot, not too cold, close fitting, good at wicking and soft as well is a challenge. Altura has got very, very close, but falls slightly short – for me, at least – with the length of the sleeves. And I wouldn't say that I've got particularly long arms.
Altura uses what it calls an 'intelligent yarn, engineered for thermoregulation'. The makeup of the 'yarn' isn't specified. From using it on my chilly commute and also a few Sunday group rides, I found it to be very good at regulating my body temperature as I never got overly hot.
'Altura Dry™ technology is engineered to move excess moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and comfortable' – that's the claim from Altura. I'd say that's true for the most part, but I did find that the strip of fabric around the base held a little more moisture than the rest of the jersey.
The Thermocool comes in Altura's performance fit. That makes it sound like it should be for skinny climbers only, but the reality is it's simply a snug fit without being restrictive, and many body shapes are accommodated comfortably. Its slim fit was particularly good under a skinsuit for cyclo-cross racing and under a big winter jacket for my commute in the week. Both times the weather was quite cold but I was perfectly comfortable.
Sleeve length is the only thing that, for me, lets the Thermocool down. As I said, I don't have especially long arms, but the baselayer's sleeves would leave my wrists exposed when on the bike, not helped by their elasticity which meant they were quite quick to ride up my arms. The solution was to use gloves that covered my wrists, but when riding without gloves I got a little chilly.
I know not everyone feels the same way about sleeve length as me – as Ash proved in his review of the Rivelo Hathersage baselayer – so if you're not so bothered, ignore my complaining here!
At just under £50, the Thermocool is on the expensive side – dhb's excellent Merino baselayer is £10 cheaper – but other than the sleeve length it's hard to criticise. The fit elsewhere is brilliant and will suit many rider shapes. If you haven't got overly long arms, take a look, because otherwise it's a real winner.
Very good baselayer but the sleeves are rather short
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Thermocool Long Sleeve Baselayer
Size tested: S/M
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?
Altura says: "Our most technical base layer using temperature regulating ThermoCool yarns and body mapping technology."
The temperature regulation in this baselayer was very good. I never got too hot, even when racing CX.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"Wicking - Engineered fabrics for improved moisture management".
"Breathability - Allows excess body heat to escape from inside the garment."
"4 Way Stretch - Engineered with 4 way stretch for maximum comfort and flexibility."
The temperature regulation is very good.
It's not had to withstand anything out of the ordinary but no pulled threads nevertheless.
The stretch is great for different body shapes but the sleeve length was an issue for me.
The stretch means that sizing shouldn't be an issue for anyone, but those with long arms might be disappointed.
As you would expect for a baselayer.
The fabric is very soft and kept me comfortable through many different rides.
At £50, you can get cheaper garments of the same quality. Spending a little more will bump you up a lot in quality.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. I was comfortable and the moisture wicking is very good.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The moisture wicking and general fit is very good. I also like the simple look.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The sleeves were too short for my arms, especially when on the bike.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Not unless there's a version with longer sleeves.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's an excellent fit and it wicks very well, but I think for a thermal baselayer it needs longer sleeves. For me it's a deal breaker and personally I'd give it 6; for others it might not be, so for the sake of fairness I'm giving it a 7 overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rose Xeon RS My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.