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Verdict: 
Exceptional performance from a race-cut windproof jersey that's suitable for a wide range of conditions
Weight: 
246g
Castelli Perfetto Light Short Sleeve Jersey
9 10

The Castelli Perfetto Light is an exceptionally good short-sleeve jersey that offers windproofing and water resistance in a lightweight package. It's a lot like Castelli's genre-defining Gabba but slightly dialled back; a little less hardcore, and a bit more breathable.

Chances are that if you've been road riding for a while you'll know about Castelli's Gabba, right? In short, it's a windproof, highly water-resistant, and breathable jersey in a performance cut, and it has set the standards in that market over the past five years. (Bloody hell! Five years!) You can check out our review of the Castelli Gabba 2 jersey here

> Find your nearest dealer here

The Perfetto Light follows a similar concept but it's not quite as windproof or as waterproof. It is more breathable, though, and a lighter weight, so it's suitable for warmer conditions.

'What makes the difference between the Perfetto Light and the Gabba?' you ask.

Okay, keep your wig on, I was getting to that.

Like the Gabba, the Perfetto Light uses a Gore Windstopper fabric, but whereas the Gabba uses Windstopper X-Lite Plus, it's Windstopper 150 for the Perfetto Light. Although not as stretchy lengthwise, Windstopper 150 is very stretchy across its width and is also about 25 per cent lighter.

Castelli Perfetto Light SS Drive Blue - riding.jpg

Castelli Perfetto Light SS Drive Blue - riding.jpg

This Windstopper 150 is used for the front panels, the collar, the yoke, the tops of the arms and the tail. Or, to make things easier, it's the blue stuff in our pictures! It's a softshell fabric that, as the name tells you, stops air getting through, and it's also very water-resistant.

Castelli Perfetto Light SS Drive Blue - collar.jpg

Castelli Perfetto Light SS Drive Blue - collar.jpg

Whereas the Gabba is made from Windstopper almost throughout, the rear panels and the underside of the Perfetto Light's arms are made from Nano Light Pro fabric.

'What's that?'

Give me a chance, will ya? It's like the Nano Flex that Castelli uses for some tights and arm warmers, but without the brushed back. And Nano Flex, before you ask, is a warm polyamide/elastane mix that's given a coating of silicone 'nanofilaments' to make water roll off the surface rather than soaking in. (Check out our review of the Nanoflex Pro Bibtights here.) 

Castelli Perfetto Light SS Drive Blue - back.jpg

Castelli Perfetto Light SS Drive Blue - back.jpg

Pull the Perfetto Light on and the cut is that of a slim-fitting race jersey. As I mentioned, the Windstopper 150 fabric (the blue stuff) doesn't feel quite as stretchy as Windstopper X-Lite Plus but, on the other hand, the Nano Light Pro is considerably more stretchy, so chances are you'll get a close fit without anything feeling too tight.

Castelli Perfetto Light SS Drive Blue - sleeve.jpg

Castelli Perfetto Light SS Drive Blue - sleeve.jpg

Head out into the big wide world and the Perfetto Light immediately impresses. The Windstopper 150 just doesn't let cold air through but it does allow sweaty vapour to get out well, and the Nano Light Pro fabric is as breathable as a pair of Roubaix tights, say, or thick bib shorts. There's no membrane in there to hinder the escape of damp air.

This, along with the fact that it's fairly lightweight, means the Perfetto is suitable for quite warm weather. I've used it with arm warmers in temperatures from about 11°C right up to 18°C and been perfectly comfortable (I do seem to run cold compared to most other people). It might be good for a couple of degrees warmer but we've not had the weather to check that yet. That temperature range covers most of the UK spring and autumn, plus a lot of early mornings and late evenings in the summer, so you're certain to get your money's worth here.

> Check out our guide to the best windproof jackets here

​Talking of which, the Perfetto Light is a little cheaper than the Gabba (£140), and a fiver less than the Endura FS260-Pro SL Classics Jersey, which Mike was very impressed with (though you do get arm warmers for your £129.99). Jez also rated the Stolen Goat Orkaan very highly, and that's priced at £108. Santini's Beta Windstopper Short Sleeve jersey, reviewed on road.cc back in November, is lightweight and cheaper than the Perfetto Light at £109.99, although Stu was a little critical of the fit. 

Although water repellent, the Nano Light Pro panels don't keep out the rain as well as a Windstopper fabric, so the Perfetto Light isn't as weather-proof as the Gabba. On the other hand, it's still pretty impressive, and teamed up with some water repellent arm warmers it can see off road spray and the worst of a short shower.

If you want the official line, Castelli has a whole page on how the Gabba and the Perfetto Light compare. 

Verdict

Exceptional performance from a race-cut windproof jersey that's suitable for a wide range of conditions

road.cc test report

Make and model: Castelli Perfetto Light SS Drive Blue

Size tested: Large, Blue

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Castelli says, "It was the pros who first asked for a Gabba that's not as hot as the Gabba but warmer than the Fawesome Vest. So we started from the Gabba and made the back in Nano Light fabric – the same fabric as our Nano Flex tights but without the brushed fleece inside. This gives the piece a lot of breathability and keeps you from overheating inside. We further lightened it up by using a lighter weight of Windstopper (a full 25% lighter than the one used on the Gabba) on the front.

"You make think that this is filling a very small niche. But just try it. It can cover most of the conditions of the Gabba (except wet racing and very cold), yet it handles warmer temperatures better. And the fit is exceptional, which is one more reason you'll keep reaching for it. The consensus of our Castelli test crew is that this piece doesn't fully replace the Gabba or Fawesome, but it's another arrow in your quiver that is ideally suited to cool temperatures, especially when it's dry or there's a risk of light rain."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Castelli lists these features:

* Gore Windstopper 150 fabric on front, sleeves and yoke for lightweight wind protection

* Nano Light fabric on the back sheds water but allows significant breathability

* 3 external rear pockets

* Long tail with reflective trim

* YKK Vislon zipper for easy opening and closing

According to Gore, the company behind Windstopper, "Windstopper fabrics combine total windproofness with maximum breathability. Engineered for a wide range activities and weather conditions, our fabrics are so comfortable and versatile, they often become favourite everyday outdoor garments as well."

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

I found the Perfetto suitable for temperatures from about 11°C. I expected to get sweaty at about 16°C or so, but the Perfetto Light is breathable enough that it's comfortable enough in warmer conditions too.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

I've always found Windstopper fabrics to be very durable. Once the Nano Light Pro panels lose their water-shedding ability you can iron them to renew the performance.

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10

It's a slim, race cut but with enough stretch to accommodate a variety of different builds. It'll fit best if you're slim, but you don't need to be a stickman/woman.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
9/10

As mentioned, it's a slim cut. I usually take a large, sometimes a medium, and I took a large here.

Rate the product for weight:
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

It's not cheap but it's good value: cheaper than the Gabba (£140) and Endura's FS260-Pro SL Classic (£129.99, inc arm warmers). It's more expensive than Santini's Beta Windstopper Short Sleeve jersey, at £109.99, although Stu was a little critical of the fit, while Jez rated the Stolen Goat Orkaan very highly, at £108.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

You just bung it in the washing machine at a low heat along with most of your other cycling stuff and it comes out fine.

The Nano Light fabric becomes gradually less water repellent, but ironing revitalises it. That might sound a bit strange but it does work.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It keeps cold air out effectively and is water repellent too, especially at the front. Plus, it has the added advantage of being highly breathable.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The windproofing and the slim cut.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I'm struggling. It's a great jersey.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

Like the Gabba, this is an exceptional jersey – not surprisingly, because this is essentially the Gabba Lite. You'll use it across a whole range of different temperatures covering a big chunk of the UK calendar, so you're bound to get your money's worth.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding

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.

13 comments

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bendertherobot [1429 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Mat, the 150 is as per used in the Alpha. Any view on the similarities in fit between the two (given that the Alpha also has a nano fabric (warm rather that lite)?

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steviemarco [236 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Great jersey but sizing is awful. I have a Gabba size L fits perfect but I had to get the Perfetto in an XL. It's deffo a try before you buy or you'll be waiting for the post man with the next size up.

Avatar
bendertherobot [1429 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
steviemarco wrote:

Great jersey but sizing is awful. I have a Gabba size L fits perfect but I had to get the Perfetto in an XL. It's deffo a try before you buy or you'll be waiting for the post man with the next size up.

 

Worrying! I've just ordered the XL based on my usage of the Alpha in XL.

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bendertherobot [1429 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
maldin wrote:

This sounds a lot like Sportful's SS no rain top - lightweight windproof protection on the front and arms and a very breathable water repellant back. Both can be stuffed in a jersey pocket if necessary. 

Are these two as similar as they sound?

 

As they sound, yes. As they are, probably not. The ratings on Wiggle show the Perfetto to be a bit more "hardcore" but up to decent rain events, the Sportful less so (particularly on insulation). The Perfetto is primarly Gore WIndstopper 150 and the Sportful Windshield. I'd actually expected more similarities given that they are from the same group of companies.

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Kevin G [1 post] 1 year ago
0 likes

I have had one for about three weeks now and it is "perfetto" for this time of year. It is certainly close fitting and a medium is tight on me at 172 cm and 60 kg, but the material is stretchy and it fits well. The wind proofing is very good as tested against a gusting Mistral wind even though it does not have a flap behind the zip. The windproof sleeves cover the cold "gap" that you get between the top of an arm warmer and and a gilet. I have worn it with a light undervest and arm warmers in temperatures between 10 to 20 degrees without overheating. It also kept me dry in a shower. The pockets are a good size but the elastic round the top although it prevents anything from falling out also makes it a bit difficult to get stuff out whilst you are riding. The Sportful equivalent does not have pockets but a zip to access your jersey pockets, so not as practical. The only other minor points, you need to sit on the flap that covers your bum to keep it in place and there is no zip garage. But certainly my go to jersey at the moment before it warms up.

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steviemarco [236 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
maldin wrote:

This sounds a lot like Sportful's SS no rain top - lightweight windproof protection on the front and arms and a very breathable water repellant back. Both can be stuffed in a jersey pocket if necessary. 

Are these two as similar as they sound?

 

 

 

There factories are right next door to each other so probably the same top re branded?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avatar
bendertherobot [1429 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
steviemarco wrote:

Great jersey but sizing is awful. I have a Gabba size L fits perfect but I had to get the Perfetto in an XL. It's deffo a try before you buy or you'll be waiting for the post man with the next size up.

Yep. As a Gabba XL and Alpha XL man with a 40.5 chest the XL Perfetto much smaller. Mind, it does look like it does on Matt (i.e. race form fit) so I may just give it a go.

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maldin [146 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

double posting

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Exup [45 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Also have a look at the Gore Oxygen Windstopper Short Sleeve. Similar to this new jersey i.e. lightweight Gabba & race fit.

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bendertherobot [1429 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
steviemarco wrote:

Great jersey but sizing is awful. I have a Gabba size L fits perfect but I had to get the Perfetto in an XL. It's deffo a try before you buy or you'll be waiting for the post man with the next size up.

Stevie, if you have a moment, could you measure it for me?

My XL comes up at just under 20 inches pit to pit then tapers really sharply into a mere 15 inches at the waist. Which is fine, other than it being advertised to fit a 36" waist. 

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lukea-d [58 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

Sealskinz do a water-repellent short sleeve designed for warmer days. £75 too.
https://www.sealskinz.com/UK/cycling-apparel/white-red-short-sleeve-jers...

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fenix [634 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

Sealskinz looks interesting - but not keen on either of those colourways.

 

White will get grubby and the black is too dark. 

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dreamlx10 [192 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

It is a great jersey, I wore it for the first time on my commute this week. I went for the medium,only being 5'6", but it is very close fitting. It does feel very good on the bike though with no movement or flapping at all, off the bike I do look rather chubby though, which may just be me !