Technical analysis and seasonal testing for this garment by MAAP, an Australian brand that has relied on Polartec’s fabulous Alpha thermal fabric to create a vest with sublime performance in terms of comfort, thermoregulation and breathability.
The windproof vest is an accessory that in recent years has become a permanent presence in the clothing of all cyclists. Practical, light, once folded it takes up little space in the back pocket or in the water bottle.
MAAP, making the most of fabric technology, has created a vest that, in every aspect, shows off top-of-the-range performance. The adoption of Polartec’s Alpha fabric with high thermal capacity is the plus that increases the value of the garment and its performance.
Our test began in the summer, testing in addition to the Alt_Road Thermal Vest two other MAAP products made in collaboration with Polartec which, for the record, produces very high performance fabrics in addition to the Alpha thermal and is constantly engaged in the research and development of new products.
Given the performance and the countless possibilities of use of the Alt_Road Thermal Vest we decided to test this garment thoroughly, wearing it in wind, rain and freezing air, using it both as protection on descents and as a garment to keep the torso warm during outings.
The Alt_Road Thermal Vest is made with the main body in Nylon (100%), the back panel is in Nylon (77%) and Elastane (23%), as are the side panels which, however, have a different mix: 85% Nylon and 15% Elastane. Inside is Polartec’s amazing Alpha fibre, 100% polyester. The three rear pockets are in fabric composed of Cordura (53%), Nylon (40%) and Elastane (7%).
The various types of fabric are positioned based on Body Mapping technology to best blend the thermoregulation and wind protection characteristics with the lightness of the garment. The fabric is made water-repellent thanks to the application of DWR (Durable Water Repellent) technology. The zips are YKK with self-lock system, the front is equipped with garage protection in the upper part to avoid rubbing with the skin of the neck.
The fit is snug but comfortable, designed for road training and gravel rides but the elegant cut also makes it suitable for more “lifestyle” situations such as city rides.
Stability on the bust is guaranteed by the elastic with silicone insert positioned at the back of the waistline. Passive safety is entrusted to two reflective MAAP logos, one on the left side of the back and the other on the right side, both clearly visible from vehicles that may eventually arrive.
The Alt_Road Thermal Vest is equipped with three rear pockets, well positioned and quite roomy. The rear right contains an additional compartment with a zip.
The stability on the torso is constant thanks to the elastic on the waist which also prevents the entry of cold air towards the lumbar area. The resistance to washing is very good, in our test we washed it in the washing machine after each use and the fabric still looks like new.
MAAP suggests using the Alt_Road Thermal Vest in a temperature range between +5°C and +15°C.
The weight declared by MAAP is 175 grams, on the editorial staff’s scale the Alt_Road Thermal Vest recorded a weight of 179 grams.
The Alt_Road Thermal Vest is available in 6 colours: Stargazer (dreamer, a tone of grey/blue), Fatigues (the combat outfit, military green) Mars (red/orange like the planet Mars), Black and Deep Blue of our trial. The list price is 185 euros.
The Alt_Road Thermal Vest has a guarantee in the event of a fall and damage to the garment: in the unfortunate event, just send an email with proof of purchase and some photos to get a 40% discount on the purchase of the new garment.
Each product subjected to our test receives an opinion on the various objectively determinable functional aspects. Aesthetics and price are not considered, as they are considered parameters resulting from strictly subjective evaluations.
This is our scale of values.
The main characteristics are in alphabetical order, with our evaluation resulting from the test.
• Morphological adaptability
• Fabric softness
• Thermal properties
• Resistance to washing cycles
• Wind resistance
• Resistance to rubbing
Our test took place in the months of September and October 2023 on the routes of the Bergamo Prealps, hilly Brianza and Lariano Triangle. To find the cold air necessary to try the Alt_Road Thermal Vest we went out in the early hours of the morning when the air was at its coldest, going down descents mainly in the shade or with alternating sun and shade. The temperatures recorded by our weather apps ranged from +5°C minimum to +17°C maximum.
The Alt_Road Thermal Vest is the “Cadillac” of sleeveless vests, every detail is designed to offer the best performance for the area in which it is positioned. Polartec Alpha fabric is the best you can find for warmth and comfort. Its fluffy structure traps the warm air produced by the body and keeps it close to the skin. The heat effect is evident as soon as you wear the Alt_Road Thermal Vest, with higher temperatures, above +15°C, the heat effect becomes almost excessive. An effect that those sensitive to the cold will certainly appreciate.
To wear the Alt_Road Thermal Vest it is practically mandatory to stop and carry out the operation in maximum safety. The wind and cold resistance is excellent. The torso is wrapped in fabric, protected and warm even in the worst weather conditions such as a summer storm with strong winds and pouring rain. On the descent, not even the freezing air of mountain mornings manages to cause the slightest shiver. Comfort is excellent, cut and fit are practical and elegant.
Excess heat and moisture dissipation occurs within seconds, the skin and jersey fabric dry quickly and stay that way even under stress. Mesh fabric on the sides helps wick away heat and sweat.
The Alt_Road Thermal Vest, thanks to the Polartec Alpha internal layer, is a thermal vest to be used in mid-season, perfect for protecting the torso from intense cold, useful as an extra layer over the long-sleeved shirt and extending its use or as intermediate layer under the winter jacket on the coldest days. In summer it is appreciated on the descents from the highest passes or when the classic sudden storm makes the air extremely cold. In practice it is a very versatile garment which, following personal sensations, can have a very wide field of use throughout all seasons.
– MAAP website
Article and photos by Sergio Doria