Castelli Espresso Due Jacket  £230.00

9/10

Superb windproof and water-resistant jacket for the cold weather; a premium product at a premium-product price

Weight 530g   Contact  www.saddleback.co.uk

by Mat Brett   December 12, 2011  

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I know what youre thinking, and youre right: £230 is a big old wedge of cash to spend on a bike jacket. But then the Castelli Espresso Due is a really high-quality piece of clothing with some excellent cold-weather features behind its cool looks.

The Espresso is made from Gore Windstopper X-Fast fabric. You probably know about Windstopper, and even if you don't, the clue is in the name. This fabric blocks out cold air completely so you can build up your warmth inside. This version has the added advantage of being very stretchy too.

Windstopper is highly water-resistant too. Rain beads up on the surface and rolls off. Unlike a waterproof, the Espressos seams arent sealed so theyll leak eventually, but I've used this jacket when it has rained on and off or a few minutes at a time and it hasnt let anything in, and it doesnt soak up the damp on those misty-morning rides.

The inner face is a deep fleece and it adds plenty of insulation. Castelli give this jacket a temperature range of 0-10C and Ill go with them on that... depending on what you wear underneath, obviously. I've had just a base layer under it on milder days, a base layer and jersey for colder ones and it performs equally well either way. If you do start to overheat, the fabric lets a lot of moist air escape and you get two long, zipped vents on the sides as well as the full-length front zip to adjust the climate inside.

There are vents around the back of the shoulders too and at the wrists. The wrist ones are zipped, providing a snug fit on your forearms without making it difficult to get the jacket on and off, but when you open them up during a ride they provide a surprising amount of cooling; they're really effective. Like the front zip, these are good quality ones from YKK and they lock in place wherever you set them.

As an illustration of the performance you get here, I went out on a group ride in this and immediately realised that I'd misjudged the weather; it was warmer than it looked out the kitchen window and I started to overheat. I couldn't go home and change so I just opened all the vents. I stayed comfortable for the whole ride, despite some big hills and some big efforts.

The Espresso comes in what you might call a performance cut close to the body without any excess to flap about in the breeze. Itll suit racing whippets well and even if youre not particularly skinny, that probably wont be a problem because of the amount of stretch you get in the fabric both lengthways and, especially, widthways. Thats one of the best things about this jacket: it fits snug without feeling limiting. I've heard people say that Castelli's sizing is small but I took a medium here I usually take a medium, sometimes a large and it fitted fine.

A few neat little details set the Espresso apart from the crowd. Around the back of the shoulders, for example, the arms are attached to the inner mesh liner rather than to the outer body. That gives them a certain amount of float, providing you with extra ease of movement when you reach forward to the handlebar. The arms are anatomically cut too so theres not much creasing around the elbow when youre in a bent-armed riding position.

You also get a soft, water-resistant Thermoflex extension on top of the collar. You can fold it inside if you like, then bring it out for a little extra coverage in really cold weather. Its a useful feature. And as well as the customary three pockets in the lower back, you get another in the chest thatll take a phone or an MP3 player an iPod Classic fits in there a treat and a port allows you to run the cable up the outside if you like.

Verdict

Superb windproof and water-resistant jacket for the cold weather; a premium product at a premium-product price

road.cc test report

Make and model: Castelli Espresso Due Jacket

Size tested: Medium

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's own take on it is this: "Designed for the rider looking for luxury and performance in a winter jacket with our highest level of attention to the little details. Like the shoulder articulation system that allows phenomenal fit in every riding position, or the MP3/phone pocket and the wrist zippers that make it easier to interface with your gloves, this jacket shows the cyclist-centered functionality that drives our product creation."

It uses high-quality materials and boasts some cool features. It's aimed at the sporty rider.

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

The Windstopper X-Fast is a soft shell fabric that sheds rain and dries quickly. It's also stretchy and very breathable.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

It's very well made.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Superb performance across a range of autumn/winter temperatures

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

The Windstopper fabric and the high quality of workmanship will stand the test of time.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

It's not that I'm particularly bothered by the weight of training clothing, but less weight and bulk does make for increased comfort and ease of movement.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

You couldn't make out much of a case for this being cheap, but when comparing prices bear in mind that this is a really stretchy Windstopper whereas many other windproof jackets don't stretch at all, and that can make a big difference to the fit and comfort.

The Gore Bike Wear Oxygen SO jacket we tested last year is considerably cheaper at 150 but it doesn't boast as many useful features or as much temperature regulation.

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

Superbly.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The comfort across a range of temperatures.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price... and that's about all.

Did you enjoy using the product?

Very much so

Would you consider buying the product?

Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend?

Yes

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

If we were averaging the marks out, this should get an 8 overall, but it really is a class act and that's not the way we mark stuff

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg  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: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,

 

7 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

My recent experience w/ Castelli kit is that it's massively overpriced in the UK. Just got the Mortirolo Windstopper Jacket for Christmas -- it was listed at £175.00 at wiggle, and $180 at competitivecyclist.com (a difference of about $100!). Thankfully Santa lives in America. Wink

I've seen price discrepancies with vests, jerseys, bib shorts, etc.

(Similarly, my stepmother was recently searching for a turbo trainer for my dad, and I sent her the recent cycling plus reviews. The winning model retailed for the equivalent of $750 in the UK, and $500 in the USA. We're getting ripped off here! 50% more expensive is more than pushing the limits of the minor differences in currency values, shipping costs, purchasing power, etc.)

posted by amc654 [29 posts]
13th December 2011 - 0:10

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Ouch very overpriced imo, who do they think they are, Assos ffs? lol

posted by Karbon Kev [652 posts]
13th December 2011 - 9:38

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In general, the Castelli clothing we've reviewed on road.cc has been top quality: innovative designs often using high-end fabrics. It's never just a Castelli version of a more-or-less standard design.

It would be relatively quick and cheap for them to run up a generic range, dap a scorpion logo on it and boot it out the door, but that's not what they do.

posted by Mat Brett [1721 posts]
13th December 2011 - 12:40

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Thinking I don't see a great deal of difference between this & the much more reasonable Endura Windchill jacket, or am I missing something?

posted by BuiltForComfort [28 posts]
13th December 2011 - 14:13

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The devil is in the detail. The couple of things I've bought from Castelli are just incredibly well thought out (small details that just add that bit of convenience/comfort over everything else).

It is a pain that the price is so high in the UK though.

posted by racingcondor [105 posts]
15th December 2011 - 9:18

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Looks nice, wouldn't fit my little rotund body...as expensive as some Assos and Rapha, but a lot less than some other Assos and Rapha...but certainly the UK/Ireland prices are way off the mark. I bought a Garmin 500 with the HRM and Speed/Cadence sensor from BikeINN...total cost was €212...cost for the head unit alone in Ireland €250...pays to shop around....same would apply here...

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

The _Kaner's picture

posted by The _Kaner [322 posts]
15th December 2011 - 20:11

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BuiltForComfort wrote:
Thinking I don't see a great deal of difference between this & the much more reasonable Endura Windchill jacket, or am I missing something?

yes I use the windchill, and I also use(d) a more boutiquey jacket for twice the price. Needless to say the windchill has all the "devil is in the detail" features of the ripoff italy version. plus some extra features to boot. I wear the windchill every day from sepember to march and its perfect in every way, and actually looks cooler too!

posted by wyadvd [112 posts]
16th December 2011 - 13:46

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