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Jerseys to keep you riding when the weather could do anything

Choosing what to wear in summer and winter is fairly easy. In summer as little as possible; in winter everything you own. But autumn and spring, those transitional seasons of unpredictable, changeable and often wet weather, are far more challenging. The last few years have seen the development of a new style of jersey that makes deciding what to wear at this time of year far less tricky.

Ever since a particularly cold and snowy edition of Milan-San Remo in 2013, Castelli’s Gabba jacket has become the de facto choice for cyclists wanting a top layer that can cope with unpredictable weather, the sort that is common through the spring. While ideal for the changeable conditions of spring, the Gabba, and its many imitators, is ideal for winter and autumn too, making it a very good three-season jersey.

>Read more: Design classic — Castelli Gabba

Defined by its figure-hugging fit (because it’s designed for racers who don’t want the bulk of a traditional hardshell waterproof jacket) with a windproof and water-resistant Gore Windstopper fabric, the Gabba paved the way for a new breed of cycling jersey that could cope with a wide range of conditions, keeping you protected from the rain and insulated against the cold, but breathable enough to cope when the temperature rises.

Castelli Gabba 2 jersey - tail

The Gabba was created when professional racer Gabriel Rasch had the idea for a waterproof racing jersey that could be paired with Castelli’s Nanoflex Arm Warmers (arm warmers with a special water resistant treatment). It proved so popular that other teams, not sponsored by Castelli, were clearly seen wearing the jacket during that snowy edition of Milan-San Remo, and social media almost went into meltdown.

Read more: Buyer’s guide - The best waterproof cycling jackets

It’s fair to say the Gabba has gone on to define a whole new category of clothing, and there are now many imitators and alternative versions. They’re classed as jerseys, rather than jackets because they offer the fit and comfort of a jersey, but some of the protection that you would have previously only got from a jacket.

Here is a look at some of the alternatives including, of course, the Gabba.

Castelli Gabba 3 — £104

Castelli Gabba 3.jpg

We have to start with the Gabba, the one that started the craze. It’s now in its third generation and is available with short, long or removable sleeves. A Windstopper X-Lite Plus fabric with a water-repellant finish is used in its construction, with Nano Flex fabric used under the arms. It aims to be lightweight and breathable, and able to protect you from the wind and rain. There’s a storm flap to cover part of your bum and silicone gripper tape in the waist band to stop it all riding up and three pockets with a drain mesh at the bottom. Originally only available in black, it’s now available in a raft of bright colours. Compared to the Gabba 2, the Gabba 3 is more aero, and the drop tail and pockets have been tweaked.

Read our review of the Castelli Gabba 2

Kalf Club Men's Softshell Jersey — £100

Kalf Club Men's Softshell Jersey - riding.jpg

You can buy a lot of softshell tops these days, most of which claim to be weather resistant, and good across a range of temperatures. I'll wager you can't buy many better than this Kalf Club Men's Softshell Jersey, though. It really does do an excellent job and I can highly recommend it.

The eVent membrane within the jersey is charged with stopping the wind, keeping the external moisture (ie rain) out, and letting the internal moisture (ie sweat) through. A lot of the time those all seem like mutually exclusive goals, so it's always a wonder to me that membrane fabrics work at all, let alone so well. I've had good experiences of eVent membrane fabrics in the past and this is no exception: the Kalf Club jersey is really impressive in its ability to regulate moisture and temperature.

Read our review of the Kalf Club Men's Softshell Jersey

Lusso Repel Corsa Jersey V2 — £100

Lusso Repel Corsa Jersey V2 - riding.jpg

Lusso's  Version 2 Repel Corsa Short Sleeve Jersey is is ideal for the spring or autumn months thanks to both its resistance to the elements and its being impressively breathable and comfortable when the temperature starts to rise. It's well priced compared to most of its direct competition too... Gabba 3 anyone?

Lusso says this new version uses a new and improved Windtex fabric, and it offers excellent levels of windproofing and, more importantly, water ingress.

Even in heavy rain the fabric continued to keep the rain out. It gets to a point where it is no longer beading on the surface, but it doesn't get through. It's breathable too and you avoid that boil in the bag syndrome until at least the mid-teens centigrade.

Read our review of the Lusso Repel Corsa Jersey V2

Ashmei 3 Season — £198

Ashmei 3 Season Jersey.jpg

Two hundred and twenty pounds is an unbelievable amount to spend on a cycling top but can the new ashmei 3 Season Jersey justify its colossal price tag? It has a bloody good go with impressive material choice, cut and attention to detail.

The key time the Ashmei 3 Season works is early spring where the conditions can be warm in the sunshine but as the afternoon turns into evening and the temperature drops you need something more than a standard short sleeved jersey.

The 3 Season is very breathable up to the high teens centigrade so you can whack out a decent pace without overwhelming it while on the flipside it's warm enough when the figures drop into single figures thanks to the fabric being very finely fleece lined to trap body heat.

Read our review of the Ashmei 3 Season Jersey

Planet X 365 Magma Convertible — £39.99

Planet X 365 Magma Convertible Jacket - riding.jpg

This is Yorkshire value-for-money brand Planet X's take on the idea of a long-sleeved rain jersey that can be easily turned into a short-sleever by unzipping the sleeves. And they've made a pertty good fist of it, especially considering the extremely reasonable price. It provides very good rain protection for faster rides. The fit is good, with a long tail, but the weight is more than some rivals.

Read our review of the Planet X 365 Magma Convertible Jacket

Santini Beta Windstopper Short Sleeve Jersey — £75

Santini Beta Windstopper SS Jersey

Santini uses a Windstopper Laminated 178 fabric, a shiny, smooth-feeling material that stops wind and light rain from leaking through, and it’s designed to cope with a 10-20°C temperature range. It’s designed to be versatile, it can be paired with matching arm warmers, and it does cope admirably in the rain, the water beading along the surface. Overheating worries are dealt with by mesh panels under the arms and a regular lycra fabric, rather than Windstopper, is used for the rear panels to aid breathability.

Read our review of the Santini Beta

Bioracer Speedwear Concept Shirt Tempest Race — £155

Bioracer Speedwear Concept Shirt Tempest Pixel 2017.Jpg

Belgium company Bioracer uses its own Tempest fabric to make a jersey that is designed for a temperature range between 5°C and 18°C, and in the company’s own words, “bridges the gap between aerodynamics and thermal insulation”. The Tempest fabric has a special treatment applied during the weaving process that forms a water repellant barrier, and because it’s woven, and not a surface treatment, it’s long lasting. It’s also breathable and fast-drying. Bioracer produces a lot of club kit and this one can be customised to match your club or team colours and design.

Endura FS260-Pro SL Classics Jersey — £99

endura-fs260-pro-sl-classics-jersey.jpg

Endura’s FS260-Pro SL Classics jersey has been tested and developed by the Movistar team it sponsors, providing valuable feedback from some of the toughest races and most demanding athletes. It’s a short sleeve jersey intended to be used with arm warmers, so you can adapt to warm temperatures and avoid overheating. The jersey is constructed from a softshell fabric with a thermal Roubaix underarm panel, which Endura claims is lightweight, waterproof, windproof and highly breathable. The fit, as you’d expect, is cut for a racer, so it's a close fit. There’s a dropped tail, three pockets and a soft lined inner collar.

Read our review of the Endura FS260-Pro SL Classics

Parentini Mossa 2 — £194.99

Parentini-Mossa-Yellow-2.jpg

The Mossa 2 is an Italian designed and manufactured race-fit waterproof and windproof jersey. Parentini uses a Windtex Storm Shield laminate fabric to make the jersey, and it is breathable and wind resistant. The updated Mossa 2 provides a slightly more relaxed fit than the previous Mossa jersey, but it’s still a close fit, there is no excess fabric to flap in the wind. Features include two rear pockets, a high collar, reflective logos and an elasticated waistband.

Gore Wear C7 Windstopper Softshell Jersey — £87.50 - £105.00

Gore Power Windstoper Softshell Jersey - riding.jpg

You’ll notice that the Gabba, and other similar jerseys, are made from Gore’s Windstopper fabric. This is Gore's own version, in a three-layer fabric that in some conditions eliminates the need for a layer underneath. It's is made for riding hard in cool conditions. The Windstopper material does a lot to keep you warm but it also breathes really well. The fit is good too, with stretch just where you need it, though our wasp-waisted tester have done with a slightly more tapered waist. The price is very high compared with similar designs.

Read our review of the Gore C7 Windstopper Softshell Jersey

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Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

46 comments

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gunswick [135 posts] 2 years ago
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Try the castelli perfetto short sleeve, its impressive. Great windproof on the front, breathable on the back especially, looks good, fits well. I got in on wiggle for £105 and wore it from 5c early morning rides to 22c afternoon rides. It coped from May 1st to September 30th in Scotland (no base layer). It complements the gabba 2 long sleeve.

For 2017 Castelli have boogered the names completely, so now the gabba 2 long sleeve is called the perfetto long sleeve or something!

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Disfunctional_T... [413 posts] 2 years ago
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gunswick wrote:

Try the castelli perfetto short sleeve, its impressive. Great windproof on the front, breathable on the back especially, looks good, fits well.

So your back gets soaked? No thanks. DWR by itself won't stop rain.

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Freddy56 [400 posts] 2 years ago
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[/quote]

I just think they need a bit more hmm style and design.  I just can't get myself to buy something yet from them eventhough I desperately wanted to. 

 

I am am into my third season in a Galibier skinsuit and although it is getting tied looking , still by far the more comfortable in my collection.

Can't  recommend them enough . 

Super to see really the choice we have now for kit. 

 

 

[/quote]

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bendertherobot [1538 posts] 2 years ago
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Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:
gunswick wrote:

Try the castelli perfetto short sleeve, its impressive. Great windproof on the front, breathable on the back especially, looks good, fits well.

So your back gets soaked? No thanks. DWR by itself won't stop rain.

Actually, on the Perfetto it's a combination of the DWR and the weave of the fabric. It does have quite magical properties and seems to keep on giving. Thing is, if your sans mudguards, it does shed it off. If you're with mudguards, it's less of an issue. And, if you're moving, your back is less likely to get it. I don't like the fit of the Perfetto, I do think that there are better products but the back is one of the stand out bits.

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riotgibbon [233 posts] 2 years ago
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The Science Goat experiments continue

on Sunday afternoon, it was really horrible weather. Rain, wind, cold, absolutely ghastly. I was delighted!

 

So, I wore the Orkaan everyday long sleeve, with a long sleeve merino base layer - I tried the mesh version before, but felt a bit cold, so this time tried the "solid" version, for extra thickness and warmth. It was light, persistent rain for 30 mins, with a bit of wind, and about 2C

As the ride went on, my forearms started feeling cold, quite cold, when moving, and suspected that they were wet. I do sweat a bit, and the forearms do tend to get the worst of it, and I end up wet there with even a good hardshell jacket that nothing gets through. When I got back, yes, my forearms were indeed wet, along with between my shoulder blades. The arms were so wet that my thumb actually went through the material. 

However, this wasn't consistent, just where I'm most likely to sweat, which made me wonder if the coldness wasn't a failing of the jersey, but it wicking away the sweat from the base layer. I also noticed that I was wearing SG leg warmers, made out of the same stuff, with nothing underneath those and that was the warmest part of my body.

so, another experiment this morning. No rain, but cold, -1C cold. I compromised on base layers, wearing a short sleeved soft-shell base layer. Just the arms of the jersey to take on the elements

 

and that seemed to make a big difference. Not overly hot, but I think that's a good thing, certainly wamer than wearing either long-sleeved base layer

 

going to lash down on the way home tonight - really get to see what's what ...

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riotgibbon [233 posts] 2 years ago
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The Goat Files, part 37 ...

rode home last night in light rain in the Stolen Goat Orkaan, about 1/2C, bit of a headwind, nothing drastic. I can't say that it feels "cold" when the moving, I'll call it "fresh", so maybe its not that  windproof, but certainly nice and warm when coming to a halt

But the rain didn't get through. I wore a short sleeved soft-shell base layer, which keeps the sweat in more than a normal one, so I could tell more where any moisture had come from. My arms felt warmer not having a sweaty base layer, which is a bit counter-intuitive, to me at least, but it looks like the nice fleecy fabric inside is enough

I was going to go out again in the heavier rain this morning,  but lost the will to live ...

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bendertherobot [1538 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes
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StraelGuy [1694 posts] 2 years ago
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That's an interesting, informative read. Very tempted...

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bendertherobot [1538 posts] 2 years ago
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guyrwood wrote:

That's an interesting, informative read. Very tempted...

I should be getting this to review in a week or so...

http://www.parentini.com/en/183/-/man

It's likely to be an improvement for the simple reason that it does without the arm 'issue' that I alluded to in my original review (using separate fabric).

In practice it's a non issue but it's a better way of dealing with it

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riotgibbon [233 posts] 2 years ago
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I went Full Goat this morning - Orkaan jersey and C&C deep winter tights, for a fairly damp and windy run through the Chilterns at dawn. Wasn't that cold outside, maybe 6-8C, and the rain wasn't heavy but intermittent, but windy enough to make it difficult to ride into the headwind. 

The SG clothes were great, really worked well in those conditions, with only a short-sleeve mesh base layer

yet to try it out in a full-on downpour though

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part_robot [304 posts] 2 years ago
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Short sleeve Mossa (the one with the black band on one sleeve) with Parentini arm warmers for me. I got tired of my damned Gabba soaking me to the core in anything but the lightest rain and plumped for the legit waterproof Mossa last year.

Took a bit of getting used to in terms of how it warms up and what to pair it with but it works so well. With a mesh summer base layer and no sleeves it's good for 13C whilst with a merino long sleeve it's toasty down to 0C. The material itself is waterproof and handles any amount of rain, and unlike the Gabba you can throw it in the washing machine without fear of any repellency washing out.

Fit-wise it's definitely Italian; the short sleeve variant is nicely snug on my skinny frame compared to the baggy-in-places Gabba. The only downside is that the zips aren't as good as Castelli's. Oh, that and it's bloody expensive and hard to get hold of...

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Twowheelsaregreat [99 posts] 2 years ago
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All of these could be expensive mistakes as by the time you've tested the jersey properly you can't return it.

Why can't shops or manufacturers have items that you can hire for say...one week for a tenner + p&p to enable us to make our decision. Blockbuster Video used to do online dvd rental. Why can't we do it for expensive cycle clothing?

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imaca [96 posts] 1 year ago
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Bought a long sleeve Perfetto for racing this past winter. Breathability is phenomenal with these new fabrics. Thought about getting a short sleeve Perfetto light or Gabba for the spring, but have used the Perfetto in temps up to 20deg and felt comfortable with collar a bit unzipped.

 

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nortonpdj [225 posts] 1 year ago
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Freddy56 wrote:
dave_t wrote:

Nope, still can't afford any of them.

Galibier's newsletter said they are bringing out one in December. Full breathable membrane jersey for under £70.  If it is as good as their membrane jacket- it is as good as ANY of the above.

 

It's called Mistral Lite, it costs 55quid, and when it stops being waterproof they re-proof it free of charge. I'm delighted with mine.

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Beaumont [12 posts] 1 year ago
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bendertherobot wrote:
guyrwood wrote:

That's an interesting, informative read. Very tempted...

I should be getting this to review in a week or so...

http://www.parentini.com/en/183/-/man

It's likely to be an improvement for the simple reason that it does without the arm 'issue' that I alluded to in my original review (using separate fabric).

In practice it's a non issue but it's a better way of dealing with it

Waterproof and breathable, when claims 10 000/10 000? Honestly I have a hard times to believe that.. everything I got with that claim (and a really great producers like Isadore, not some discount shop rubbish) is simply "water resistant" at the best and more importantly, I get cold after time in that as the moisture can´t get away quickly enough.

Never had a chance to try something like Polartec´s NeoShell, claimed 10 000 (which is okey for most of the time) / 50 000! And honestly that would feel like the best feature for me - instead of getting constantly overheated in the climbs and freeze in the downhill parts, the material like that should do wonder.. at the other hand, Sportful seems to have quality problems with seems of the pockets, so I don´t know if I would have a chance to try it this winter  2

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fenix [1188 posts] 1 year ago
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Anyone used the planet X version?

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