Top performing, well priced and comfortable but with a few minor niggles
Oct 12 2017
Wel performing in terms of breathability and waterproofness
Good price point
Pockets are hard to access
Hood won't fit over a trail lid
You want a well performing waterproof jacket without the high end price tag. You’ll have to excuse its minor foibles though.
Altura are no newbies to the technical garment game, founded in 1997, they’ve been doing the rounds for over 20 years. With winter fast approaching we take a look at the Altura Mayhem 2 waterproof jacket.
It would be a fair observation to say Altura's focus has been the road and commuting scene and whilst they’ve had their fingers in the MTB pie almost since the get-go, they’re apparel isn’t seen as regularly on the trails as other, more synonymous brands. However, with a new injection of designers and the collaboration with a few high profile riders such as the Trippin Fellas, pushing the boundaries and providing vital feedback, we’re starting to see technical trail wear coming through and in this case, the Mayhem 2 MTB jacket.
Donned with several technical acronyms, the Mayhem 2 is Altura’s all day waterproof trail riding jacket. With a waterproof and breathability rating of 20k/20k, it offers high end protection and comfort, packaged into a well priced piece of kit at £119.99. Fortunately, when the Mayhem landed on my desk, the standard Autumnal drizzle and ensuing mud had returned from its two week mid-summer hibernation, churning up the trails nicely for testing such garments. The Mayhem 2’s first outing was a wet day of biblical proportions. As we ventured up a well known Welsh valley for a day of off-piste slip ‘n’ sliding, Noah’s Arc would’ve been a better mode of transport than our car. In this case however, it was perfect!
Out the car and sheltering under the opened boot, I ripped off the cellophane and slipped into the Mayhem. The jacket is comfy from the get go, no rough edges or irritating seams to annoy the skin.This time of year a short-sleeved jersey is all you can wear under a fully waterproof jacket without physically poaching yourself like an egg in a saucepan! As is typical with Welsh trails, a steep winch of about 300m straight from the valley floor ensued. The Mayhem 2 has some well sized and located breather vents under the arms which offered the great airflow required for such a climb in these conditions. I did have to lower the main zipper halfway towards the end of the climb to reduce the internal cooking that was going on. That’s not a criticism in any way, it performs well on the breathability front, on par with some of the best. The heat build up inside a fully waterproof jacket is inevitable any time of the year, most importantly though, it remained comfortable throughout.
The day can be aptly categorised as mayhem by name and nature, the conditions ranged from axle deep mud ruts to bottom bracket covering puddles, all whilst the rain poured from above. Not once did Altura’s Mayhem 2 allow the elements through to my skin and some interesting comparisons in the car park at the end of the day displayed just how much drier I was underneath than my fellow sadists. The jacket has a neat waterproof (tested) chest pocket with built in media port should you wish to blast a solo ride in such conditions with your favourite Britney hits in your ears. It’s also got the standard waist and hood adjustable elastics to allow you to tailor the relaxed fit - I’m generally somewhere between a small and a medium and using a medium, but a small would probably have fitted fine too.
The only real negatives I could find from the Mayhem was the large side located hand pockets. Whilst they all remained dry inside, accessing the pockets one handed is literally impossible, especially with gloves. The zippers are that little bit too far around to reach with the contralateral hand but equally hard with the digits on the same side of the body. Also, the zipper frequently picked up material from behind, rendering it jammed and requiring time with both hands to free it. I’m sure someone with more patience could avoid such an issue, as I’m a tad hamfisted at times, nonetheless, it irritated me on occasions.
The only other niggle is with the hood, as it so often is with many a riding jacket. Our opinions will vary, but my personal approach with all things hoods is that if a jacket is going to have one it needs to do two things. 1. When fully open, it must fit over a trail helmet for those inevitable faff times stood on fire roads eating, fixing, chatting or resting. 2. It must be either stowable or at least cinch down so it doesn’t become a sail behind your head attempting to snag on trees or fill with air and strangle you and your forward progress. The Mayhem 2 achieves one of these in that it can be tightened using the bungee cords rendering it similar to a raised rear collar. However, it doesn’t fit over a helmet which is a shame, not a deal breaker but room for improvement. Which, I should add, is apparently in the process already - Altura are always ahead of us mere mortals. Adaptations and alterations are already in the pipeline!
All in all, the Mayhem 2 is quite a jacket, especially when you consider its humble price tag which could have potentially been a boil-in-a-bag-rice-sack. A good performer for the wonga and with what appears to be a very durable construction. Altura are certainly a brand worth keeping your eyes on, new things are a’coming.
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.