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The Castelli Gara Midweight Glove is a premium bit of kit for cooler, windier, damper days, and with good looks and features it justifies the premium price tag. The fit is spot on for my hands, and with the right size choice you can use a liner glove underneath without compromising the fit.
Castelli makes sizing pretty easy: just wrap a tape measure around your knuckles and there you go. At 23cm I'm on the cusp between Medium and Large. The pair tested were Large, which you'd think would be a bit loose, but no – with my hand flat, the area across the palm was stretched tight away from the skin, meaning when wrapped around a handlebar there was no excess fabric to bunch up. Finger length was correct as well, with my 9cm middle finger fitting nicely into the 9.5cm middle of the glove.
As befitting a glove designed for cooler, windier days, the cuff length is generous – from the base of the middle finger to the Windstopper outer cuff is 19.5cm, and to the stretchy Nanoflex inner cuff 22cm. This is a glove that will make apologies for that jacket or jersey you purchased without checking the sleeve length when on the bike...
The back-of-hand is Gore's Windstopper X-Fast fleece-backed fabric, which promises to block wind and shrug off light rain. The palm is a synthetic suede, with a 'microsuede' layer over the thumb for snot- and glasses-wiping duty. Castelli suggests either as a use case, so make sure you decide which hand is for which in advance or things could get messy.
There are silicone grippers on the index and middle fingers as well as the thumb, and a small padded area covering the bony bit at the base of your palm.
Branding on the black and as-tested 'Anthracite' (grey) colours is minimal – just a subtle 'Castelli' across the knuckles, which is reflective at night when hit at the right angles. There's a fluoro model for those seeking a brighter outlook. The Castelli scorpion is relegated to the grippy dot on the heel of the palm.
As someone who has a veritable drift of gloves on the garage shelf after years of trial-and-error, with a history of cold-weather misery and borderline Raynaud's Disease I come at cold-weather testing with some apprehension. Fortunately, the Gara Midweights hit the spot from the very first ride.
The fit of the large size glove on my 23cm hand meant I could wear a thin merino liner underneath on days of 10°C or a bit lower, but as it warmed up, taking out the liner gave a still-snug fit and tactile experience for shifting, braking and wandering about the bar. When operating 11-speed Ultegra levers I never had to second-guess finger position or the amount of pressure required – the thickness of the finger material and the silicone grip strips keeping me in contact with the mechanicals.
The standout feature has to be the Nanoflex inner cuff, extending 1-2cm further out than the main cuff. Depending on the number of layers worn, the inner cuff could go against the skin or over a baselayer, with the outer cuff folded back to then accommodate a first or second layer, then folded over the whole lot for a super-snug seal. The cuff length means you'll never risk showing an unsightly forearm gap, even stretched out full aero.
As the Gara is a single-layer glove, when you need to remove it there's no liner to pull inside out and require stuffing back into place. Even when hot after a hard ride or damp from a bit of rain, it felt comfortable and was easy to remove or replace.
Regarding rain, I'd say the Gara glove works in a similar to the windproof and mildly water-resistant Castelli Gabba jersey – if you can get away with just the Gabba, you probably don't need a liner under the Gara either. No, the Gara isn't waterproof and drops did soak into the fabric after a while, but if you kept moving and there was a break in precipitation for a bit, the fabric kept on with the job in hand. Well, for me anyway, and I run fairly cold.
Let's face it, gloves are very much a personal-preference bit of cycling kit. For my hands, the Garas worked with a liner at 5-12°C, on cloudy and a bit rainy days, and up to about 18°C by themselves, maybe with patches of sunshine. Those blessed with decent circulation should find the headline 6-12°C comfort range about right.
Although £50 is a hefty price tag, having used the Gara from late-summer through autumn into... more autumn, for easy and hard rides, I reckon they're worth it. Pairing with cheap, easily-stashed merino liner gloves will extend the use case even further.
An excellent choice for cooler, damper days with the odd shower, and they look good too
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Gara Midweight Glove
Size tested: Large, Anthracite
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: "The Castelli Gara Midweight Glove feels light and flexible on your hands. The fleecy backed Windstopper X-Fast fabric offers amazing protection from wind and light rain, while the extended Nanoflex inner cuff make for a super snug and flexible seal. The palm is synthetic suede with a great natural feel (there is light padding over the Ulnar Nerve) the fingers and thumb also feature silicone printed grips for better wet weather traction. A Microsuede thumb allows for glasses or nose cleaning duties. Finishing off Glove is a reflective wordmark across the knuckles. The Castelli Gara Midweight Glove is perfect for cool damp days hovering around 10c.
"The Castelli Gara Midweight Glove is the perfect mild winter or cool spring training glove. Made of windproof breathable fleecy lined Windstopper X-fast fabric with a extended Nanoflex inner cuff, it's snug and very comfortable."
It's a glove for cooler, damper days, when you want to stay warm and dry-ish between passing showers. It works. The Castelli description is spot on.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Tech Spec for the Castelli Gara Midweight Glove
The perfect in between glove.
Windstopper X-Fast fabric for warmth and wind protection
Close fitting inner cuff to prevent drafts is made of Nanoflex to repel water
Silicone grip print on thumb and fingertips
Reflective print on back of hand for increased visibility
Microsuede thumb panel for glasses/nose wipe
Synthetic suede palm with small padded section
Weight 84g pair
Comfort range 6-12c
Very well put together, as you'd expect for £50.
The Gara performs very well. To the point you forget you have them on.
After a month of use, the only issue I could spot was that some of the tiny grippy silicone L-shapes had started to peel off the end of one of the thumbs.
For what they do, they're pretty light.
Very comfy with hands wrapped around bar - there's been some thinking going on here. And the long Nanoflex cuff works brilliantly.
£50 is a lot - but you are getting a lot of performance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed - can't fault it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The Nanoflex cuff - nary a draught to be felt.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
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 Gara is a very good glove. I can't say I'm ecstatic, and for half-a-hundred-quid I might expect 'waterproof', but then it's a glove that didn't annoy me or remind of its presence constantly. And it looks good too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Charge Juicer My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, and Dutch bike pootling