Altura’s range of mountain bike specific clothing is significant these days, there’s no lack of options to fit everyone’s budget and intentions. The Five/40 or 540, whatever you prefer, is their flagship offering promising high 20k waterproof and 20k breathability figures as well as an array of ergonomic features, backed by a myriad of branded acronyms and marketing names.
I won’t bore you with the features that we’ve come to expect as normal with a good quality waterproof such as underarm vents, waterproof pockets, a shape that’s comfortable when in a cycling position and a built in media port for your Boyzone inspired solo rides. However, it is important to say whether these familiar features work.
The Five/40 fits well for size (small in our case) and offers a slightly generous shape to allow for under layers to be worn as well as movement on the bike. The material used by Altura feels like quality to the touch, no plastic bag here, which also means it is very comfortable against the skin - often an issue with an outer layer. The high collar has a nice, microfibre-type material meaning that it also feels comforting and warm when you have the zip right up and the weather is howling in. The vents under the arms work well and can be operated with one hand - another regular bugbear of mine.
The hood is removable, a feature I really like, why all brands don’t offer this I’ll never know, I for one don’t always want my hood bagging around and attempting to choke me on every descent. The feature of removal becomes even more important if said hood doesn’t fit over a helmet, such as is the case here, rendering it almost useless out on the trails.
The main zip pockets are generous and lined with a similar material as the collar meaning they offer a cozy escape for your hands as well as a waterproof store for your belongings. The two zippered chest pockets are of an unfortunate shape which means you’ll struggle to get anything larger than an old, smaller phone in them. The media port is also, rather annoyingly, more centralised in the pocket, so even if you do manage to cram your ‘newer than 2012’ phone inside, the cable will have a rather obscure route to take to feed it through the port. Strange design and one I can’t fathom out an intention for.
The fully taped construction of the jacket means you can venture out in some seriously biblical weather, safe in the knowledge you’ll be kept warm and dry, or will you? Well, you’ll definitely be kept warm - that aforementioned quality construction results in a jacket that is very warm, it does breathe well but it's certainly not for those wet summer days, more a winter-only companion. One very unfortunate faux pas has been a leaky main zip. On days when the rain has been driving in, I’ve occasionally noticed my chest getting wet in a long strip down my front adjacent to where the main zip sits. Its only happened during intense rainfall and only on odd occasions, however, it's not what I’d expect from a jacket with a price tag of £169.99 and with such a quality feel. I should state, I’ve tested many an Altura jacket (such as the Mayhem II here) and never had such an issue, nevertheless, not ideal.
Altura Five 40 Waterproof Jacket-4.jpg, by Rachael Gurney
Aesthetically is where the Five/40 shines, its uber cool, especially in the burgundy colour we tested with its fluro green accents. Altura has worked really hard to improve their mountain bike image and the Five/40 is a prime example of that achievement. The adjustable dropped rear hem and hood work well and can easily be cinched in with one hand, should you want to do so on the move.
Overall, the Five/40 has been a bit of an anticlimax for me, it oozes quality in its construction, feel and cool aesthetics yet disappoints slightly when it comes to performance and ergonomics. At £169.99, it does promise good value when similar jackets are priced a fair bit higher but its technical bloopers must be a consideration.
A self confessed bike geek, Adam has been riding bikes for over two decades and breaking things for nearly as long. With more facial hair than on his head, his appearance is one of a hard paper round! He's friendly, approachable, critical and fair - loves a good stoppie and a turnbar tuesday, real ale and long bikes.