Here’s the brand new Castelli Gabba short-sleeve rain jersey that’s going down a storm (no, you’re too kind) in the pro peloton and should be available in the UK within the next couple of weeks.
We’ve reported on the Gabba previously but we’ve now had the chance to check it out at the Eurobike show.
We won’t go into the full details again but it’s made from a Gore waterproof fabric and it’s very stretchy so you get a close fit without any flapping – so it’s an aero option (pretty much every road bike product at Eurobike this year has better aerodynamics than before; or, in marketing speak, it has been ‘aerodynamically optimized’).
The fabric is highly breathable so you don’t get drenched it sweat as soon as you put the hammer down – which is the whole point. The seams aren’t taped so water will eventually get in during heavy rain, but the idea is that it’ll keep you dry enough to race comfortably in most conditions.
Why the short sleeves? It’s impossible to stop the lower sleeves from flapping around and Castelli didn’t want anything but a close fit. Plus, their Nano Flex arm warmers are highly water resistant so you can use them in conjunction with the Gabba for a rain-cheating setup.
By the way, although it looks a bit like a jacket, the Gabba feels light like a jersey. It’s certainly comfortable enough to wear over just a short sleeve base layer, although you can wear it on top of an existing jersey just as easily.
To you? 150 quid.
Funnily enough, Gore Bike Wear have also just come out with a short sleeved waterproof top in a stretchy Gore fabric and it’s up for an award at Eurobike – the Gore Xenon GT AS. All that time goes by without one then, like London buses, two come along at once. What are the chances of that?
We made that little observation to the Castelli guys and…. well, let’s just say the atmosphere changed somewhat. Ooh, it did go icy cold. They’re not happy. Moving on…
Castelli are also launching a new skinsuit but, before you switch off, it’s really not that much like a skinsuit. You'd be hard pressed to notice that it's a skinsuit at all at first glance. Let me explain…
Okay, so Castelli currently have Body Paint shorts that we’ve reviewed and loved. Very expensive but super-comfy. They also have an Aero Race jersey. Essentially, the San Marino combines the two.
Why would Castelli want to do that? Fewer seams, less overlap between the upper and lower, no loose fabric… so aerodynamically it makes some sense.
You can undo the zip fully to the navel for that full medallion man look on hot climbs and the two sides will open slightly at the bottom, like a standard full-zip jersey, to let more air in. If you open a normal jersey fully and you have stuff in the rear pockets, it can flap about all over the place, but the San Marino is anchored to the lower section around the back, which holds everything in place. And the seatpad is Castelli’s top-level Vector X2 which is about as comfortable as things get.
If you can’t quite get your head around using a skinsuit, well… you already use Lycra, dontcha? Come on, it’s really not that much of a leap. Let’s all get skinsuited right up for 2012. Maybe. The San Marino will cost £220 and it'll be available in the spring.
Castelli are also producing triathlon clothing for the first time in 2012; it’ll be available from spring onwards. They use the same manufacturing techniques for the range as they do for their Body Paint kit, which means there are hardly any seams and everything is super-soft.
The pockets on the back of the tri top, by the way, have flaps over the top. We can’t think of any others that have flaps. That should help to keep gels in and improve aerodynamics – open-topped pockets can cause a significant amount of drag.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.