The Castelli Rosso Corsa Secondapelle gloves offered a real draw when I first saw the manufacturer's description, but when they arrived I was concerned that their minimalist design wouldn't be up to the job. My fears have proved unfounded, though, and they are possibly the most comfortable gloves I've ever had the pleasure of sticking my hands in.
The fabric is very lightweight, with a minimalistic feel. The way you put them on takes a bit of getting used to, as you have to push your hand into a relatively small opening that then clings around your wrist once you're wearing them. After a couple of goes, you realise they're not going to split down the sides and almost forget you were so concerned, though I do still take a bit of extra care when putting them on and taking them off.
There's a little tab on the palm/finger interface, which helps to ease the gloves off, though I still found myself pulling the fingers off one-by-one because of the close fit. This hasn't been a problem with the thumb, which is cut slightly too large for both of my thumbs, although it hasn't posed any issues in terms of comfort, the gloves just don't cling to my thumb as they do to my other digits.
Once on, the gloves feel very natural. They've been comfortable for hour-long commutes through to four or five-hour weekend rides. There are no lumpy pads, just a soft, tactile palm material and ultra-lightweight fabric on the back of your hand. It's easy to forget you're wearing them.
Inside, there are minimal seams, which also adds to the overall comfort. The palm grips well on a range of bar tapes and also did a good job on the mountain bike. The Secondapelles are so comfortable in fact that, although I'd taken to wearing no gloves while riding, they've convinced me to give mitts another go. They're not made for cold climates, but I did find the extra material welcome on "summer" 7am commutes when the temperature was below 10°C.
Not only do the gloves perform well, they're stylish too. Castelli kit can sometimes be a bit 'shouty', with big logos and text, but these are very quiet in their design. The logos on the back of the hand are screen-printed with a satin finish, which incorporates the Castelli branding without changing the sleek look of the gloves. They've washed very well too, without fading or the logos peeling, despite some pretty long and sweaty rides.
Their overall design makes these gloves very, very small. Those on test are a size large, yet I'm still trying to find them after coming back from holiday; they're small, black and bunch up to the size of a plum, which has made them disappear into the mass of hats/gloves/overshoes that populate the understairs cupboard. They come in white, red and fluoro too, so maybe a brighter colour would help here...
I've often wondered about the benefits of spending more than my usual sub-£15 on a pair of gloves, and these Rosso Corsa Secondapelle mitts have convinced me that the extra investment is worthwhile.
Minimalistic looking lightweight glove that feels fantastic
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Make and model: Castelli Rosso Corsa Secondapelle Glove
Size tested: Large, Black
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: "With extra-lightweight fabrics and minimal construction techniques, this glove will feel like a second skin. It is destined to be your most comfortable glove."
These are clearly aimed at the racing cyclist looking for a tight-fitting, aero glove. Secondapelle means "second skin" and that's how these feel.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
High 4-way stretch fabric
AX Synthetic Suede palm
Pull on /off tab
No sew construction on palm pads for added comfort
Sizes S-2XL - these are designed to be very snug, choose your standard size.
Weigh 23g (Pair)
The stitching, as with the rest of the glove, has a lightweight approach - there's clearly been a design decision to make these as simple as possible. There are no extras, such as the usual towelling on the thumb, but I can't say it's something that I missed.
Because there are no securing straps on these gloves, the method of putting them on involves a process that is fairly alarming to start with. I was sure they were going to split but I've not had any problems. They've been chucked in the washing machine with the rest of my cycling kit too (30° "outdoor clothing" wash), without any problems. Will be interesting to see how the lightweight construction fares in the long-term.
22g for the pair? They weigh absolutely nothing!
These gloves feel incredibly comfortable, the thickness of the palm material is spot on and the omission of any lumpy gel pads makes them good for long periods of use. The close-fitting material on the back of the palm stays in place and feels much more natural than wearing gloves with a thicker fabric. I did find that the thumbs were cut slightly on the large side for me, though I was once accused of having tiny thumbs so this may not be an issue for others.
They have an RRP of £40, but they're currently available for less than £30, which I think is a decent price for an item with such a quality feel. More expensive than your Aldi/Lidl equivalents, but in my experience much comfier.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, nothing to complain about in terms of how they function on the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The feel and the fit. I've not worn gloves that have been this comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fear of tearing them when putting on/taking off - though my worries have proved to be unfounded thus far. The cut of the thumb (might be my child-like thumbs though). They bunch up quite small when taken off, making them difficult to find if you're somewhat lazy about your kit husbandry!
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
The only negatives are explained above; apart from that, these have performed very well, feel fantastic and have a minimalistic look.
Age: 33 Height: 183 Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Kinesis Racelight T My best bike is: Cervelo S2
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking