Alé. Typing that with the accent requires me to do lots of things with the option key, or cut and paste, so quite a lot of work has gone into typing this! And it’s pronounced Allez. Not Ale, not Ole, Allez! Clothing to get you going.
Alé are quite a recent entrant into the market but with their vibrant designs, including some rather out there camo offerings, they’ve already found quite a loyal user base. They hail from Italy and they’ve actually been round for a very long time making clothing for others, including Nike. They’re part of a group of companies which also includes DMT shoes and Cipollini bikes. It’s Italian designed and Italian made. In terms of brand visibility my view is that it’s one of the bigger success stories of the last few years.
The range is an extensive one. Indeed, and this is often the case nowadays, the range can be a bit bewildering. Paligap.cc, the UK importer, list 281 product lines. There are over 50 jackets available ranging from the lightweight shell to full on winter. Arcobaleno means rainbow. It’s actually available in more colours abroad but only 2 in the UK, the orange reviewed here and one where lime replaces the orange. It’s an eye catching thing, though I’d hardly describe it as rainbow-esque.
Alé claim that this is, in effect, a tempo winter jacket good for 4-10 degrees. I’ve been wearing it at that range and quite a bit colder. It’s certainly a tempo piece, the fabric has some heft but it’s not as hardcore as the Parentini Mossa.2 or the Lusso Extreme Repel.
I’ve been testing the XL version which, according to the size guide, is good for a 41″ chest. I sized up because, well, Italian. But the results are actually a little surprising as you can see below. I’ve decided to try and introduce a measuring system on all reviews now. It’s not all that easy to make out in the photo but it measures at least 21″ across and, with a bit of arranging, around 21.5″ in reality. So that should be good for a 43″ chest and the 100cm of the large would probably be my preferred size. It still fits well, still fits in a racy way but because of the overall taper (the waist is about 35″) I’d prefer the large to get that all over race fit. The drop from the top zip to the waistband at the front is about 24 inches so you do get a decent bit of coverage at the front.
It’s once again made from our friend windtex which offers quite stellar windstopping abilities with, of course, the added bonus of being at least water resistant because of the membrane within. But, in this case, as you’ll see later, it’s not quite that straightforward.
The construction alternates between full on windtex fabric and roubaix inserts. So, the sleeves are windtex on the front and side facing sections and the inner part is roubaix fleece. That’s a good approach for a tempo jacket and helps with temperature regulation when you’ve moving quickly. It’s a similar approach to that taken on, for example, the Rapha Pro Team jacket amongst others. It does mean that there’s more scope for water ingress though.
The back is not windtex instead being all roubaix fleece. So if you’re expecting all round weather resistance then this may not be the jacket for you. What it is, is still thoroughly toasty. There are 3 pockets but, sadly, no zipped one for valuables. A smattering of reflectives are present on the side of the pockets. Not a huge amount but merely ok.
You can see the contrasting materials used on the jacket here. The section just to the right of the yellow zip section is the front windtex panel with a micro fleece lining. As I’ve stated it’s not quite as thick as that seen on the Parentini Mossa.2 but, naturally, thicker than your standard Mossa. The section centre/bottom right the rear section of roubaix and its thickness akin to your normal winter roubaix jersey. At the top right there’s an additional ‘flap’ at the upper back to produce a bit more warmth in that area. It provides a bit more warmth around your shoulder area. It’s attached only at the top so it provides a good balance between extra protection and ventilation.
It’s a nice neck as well, quite high with an articulated rear section. All fleece lined and very comfortable. In common with my sizing comments above it’s a well sized neck with a slight bit of wiggle room. Sizing down should lead to a slightly snugger fit in this area.
Back round the front and we have zipped vents on both sides of the jacket to let the heat out if your ride is a pacey one at high(er) temps.
The waistband is a quite lovely thing and provides a secure grip. You can see that the front zip is also reflective. I’d like to see more of that sort of thing. The upper and lower zip sections have a zip garage. That’s often cited as a bonus, personally I find them a bit of a faff. The zip section has a storm flap behind it to ensure that there’s no ingress there.
And finally the roubaix double fleece cuffs. These are nice and comfy and have a taper to ensure a good ergonomic fit. The arms are a good length as well and should suit the larger rider. They’re not super slim so should accommodate larger arms as well.
So, what’s it like. Well, it is a tempo jacket, think Rapha Pro Team or Gore Xenon rather than something full on winter. You do need to be going that bit quicker to stay properly warm. That said, whenever I stopped at a set of lights, I was always conscious that it was retaining heat very well. In terms of damp protection it’s windtex so that’s a plus, of course. But, those roubaix inserts on the sleeves and round the back mean that it’s not totally waterproof and there’s also a but. There’s no obvious DWR element to the jacket. That means that water tends to sit on the fabric rather than run off. That’s a bit of a shame as it has the look of something that should just cause water to run off. It’s no deal breaker though, it’s not remotely claimed to be water resistant or a wet weather jacket. This is a dry day one and in that guise it does so very well indeed.
In terms of feel it’s up there with the very best. The construction is first rate, everything looks like it will last a considerable time. So, is it worth the price tag? Well, the RRP is £180. It’s rare for anything to cost RRP so we return to the question of what would you pay for it. For that (RRP) you’d be able to source a Rapha Pro Team which is, arguably, that bit better all round as a tempo training jacket. But, shop around, follow the link above, apply the code and this could be yours for a mere £97. And that’s pretty excellent pricing for something which is premium and performs so well. If you run hot then, weather resistance aside, this really could be your go to winter jacket. It’s a striking jacket and provides good visibility with that orange branding. (Note, at the time I write this there are a few Rapha Pro team jackets available in the sale at £110 so much depends on what type of look you prefer).
Personally, I thought that, in context, this was a great jacket. It’s for cold weather tempo riding and it manages that with aplomb. If you want a damp weather jacket I’d suggest something else but then Alé never make that claim anyway. If you fancy something similar but more visible then the Bering PRR jacket would be a good choice as well. I have to say, I’m impressed with the range and I hope to bring you some more Alé reviews shortly.