Castelli's Gabba waterproof jersey needs little introduction. Since it came out in 2010, it has taken the pro peloton, and non-fairweather cyclists by storm. And that's fair enough really, who wouldn't want to make their bad weather riding a bit more comfortable?
A quick recap: The Gabba is made from Gore X-lite plus, a lightweight windproof fabric with water-repellent properties. It's designed by and for pros, so the fit is tight and racy. It has a storm-flap at the rear to protect the rider from wheel spray.
We're on the new and improved version now, imaginatively called Gabba 2. The biggest difference, and improvement, is the introduction of a wind flap for the full-length zip, keeping more wind and rain out than the previous version. The eyelets in the rear pockets have been replaced with mesh fabric at the bottom of the pockets for better drainage.
Other features have remained the same: the aero fit, reflective piping on the three pockets, full-length zip, high collar and gripper hem.
I guess by now it'll be clear that pros like this one for racing in foul conditions, but where does it fit in for those not racing? I like wearing it in any weather that doesn't involve sunshine: any combination of cloudy, windy and rainy. Even though it won't keep you dry in anything more than a shower, it will still keep you warm by virtue of it keeping the wind out. That collar is great at keeping you snug, and the storm flap keeps off the worst of the grime thrown at you from your rear wheel.
For me, it's best worn with a baselayer – the windproof material isn't the nicest next to skin. When it's a bit colder, it works well with windproof armwarmers, like Castelli's Nano Flex ones. Temperature range is a tricky one as it depends on wind and rain, but I'd say from about 8 degrees up.
Last time we reviewed the Gabba, in 2011, there was nothing like it on the market. Mat predicted that other manufacturers would be trying to copy it. That they have, in droves: Nalini, Gore, Endura and stolen Goat are among the brands that have a windproof jersey in their range.
Of these, I've only used (and reviewed) the Nalini, which is more towards the waterproof jacket end. Of the two, I prefer the Gabba. Jez has both a Gabba and a Stolen Goat Orkaan (which he reviewed), and reckons the latter out-Gabbas the former.
All I can say is that the Gabba 2 is a cracking all weather jersey, and I recommend to anyone riding in bad weather, even if it costs a fair bit.
The Gabba's claimed weight is 260 grams, though the size Large I tested weighs 304 grams on my scales. It's available in sizes Small to Triple XL, in black, red, yellow, green and blue, and is also available in a women's version.
Still a cracker, even if it's not cheap
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Make and model: Castelli Gabba 2 jersey
Size tested: 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?
We invented the Gabba as a no-compromise race piece. We didn't expect it to be a huge commercial success, but we did expect it to give our pros an unfair advantage. We were mistaken on both accounts, especially the latter, because practically every pro went out and bought a Gabba and covered up the logos. And nearly every competitive company has come up with a copy. But the other pro riders still want this one. This one piece will change how you dress for cool conditions.
Products like the Gabba jersey define Castelli: innovation, performance, and creating products that change pro racing and make you more comfortable. The original Gabba has taken the peloton by storm since its introduction in 2010, with most pros buying or begging their way to the must-have piece for cold-weather racing.
Based on pro rider needs, created to offer a tangible competitive advantage and developed in a no-compromise pursuit of performance, this jersey represents the essence of who we are.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
o Fully aero, fully breathable and fully protected
o Nano Flex fabric insert under arms
o Windstopper® X-Lite Plus fabric for lightweight total wind protection with water-repellent finish
o Storm-flap construction at back protects from wheel spray
o Silicone gripper on waistband to limit ride-up
o Full-length YKK® Vislon zipper with wind flap
o 3 rear pockets with drain mesh
o Rear reflective trim on pockets and flap for high visibility
The construction oozes quality.
It keeps me warm in foul conditions, thanks to its windproof and water resistant properties.
It's not the lightest if you're comparing to other jerseys. It's lighter than a jersey and waterproof though.
Fits like a glove, keeps me warm with much less boil-in-the-bag than a waterproof.
£150 is not cheap for a jersey, even one that is windproof and waterproof. The Stolen Goat Orkaan that Jez reviewed here, and liked a lot, is considerably cheaper, as are offerings from Gore and Endura, though we haven't tested those. Still, it's made by Castelli, and it's damn good.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It does what it says on the tin, keeps you as comfortable as is possible in foul weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I don't have to think about what to wear in bad weather.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Can't think of anything.
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
There may be cheaper alternatives on the market now, but Castelli's Gabba is still exceptionally good at what it does: making riding in bad weather a lot less miserable.
Age: 36 Height: 1.78m Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Cannondale CAAD10
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,