review

Castelli Mortirolo Reflex Jacket

8
£200.00

VERDICT:

8
10
A top performing winter jacket that transforms in low-light conditions
Weight: 
507g

The Mortirolo has been part of Castelli's winter jacket line-up for many years; the Reflex model is based on the same softshell design as the original but with large swathes of reflective material across the shoulders and waist. This lights up impressively in car headlights, but, unlike plenty of other high-vis outerwear, when the sun is up the fit and styling don't scream 'commuter'.

The Mortirolo Reflex looks and performs just like a high-end winter jacket should. It's made from Gore's Windstopper X-Fast fabric – a nominally windproof and water resistant material – and features a thick-pile fleecy interior lining throughout. It's very comfortable against the skin when you're only wearing a short-sleeved baselayer underneath.

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Although not technically waterproof, the Reflex's ability to shrug off rain is impressive, so much so that I never felt the need to wear a separate waterproof if I knew I'd only be out in the rain for less than an hour. Despite the fabric soaking up water, the thickness of the jacket means it takes a long time for moisture to actually make it through to the inside. This proved ideal for my daily 10-mile commute as I didn't have to fuss with packing a separate waterproof 'just in case'.

The jacket's thickness also comes in handy for fending off the cold. Castelli puts the Reflex's wearable temperature range as between 6°C and -15°C, which my experience showed to be about right. With the chest vent zips open, this range can perhaps be extended up a couple of degrees, but anything warmer and it quickly becomes too hot. For most of my riding in the past couple of months, featuring temperatures of 0-6°C, a long-sleeve wool baselayer and perhaps a neck warmer was all I needed under the Reflex to remain comfortable.

MORTIROLO REFLEX JACKET Vent 1

In normal daylight, the Reflex just looks like any other top-end winter jacket, but in low-light conditions, it positively lights up because of the reflective panels on the shoulders and waist, providing 360 degrees of visibility. Numerous comments from riding buddies and even strangers just passing by made me realise just how reflective the jacket is. It really is quite impressive.

MORTIROLO REFLEX JACKET Back

When it comes to fit, the Reflex is typical Castelli in that most people will need to go up one (if they're on the slim side) or two sizes. 'Sporty' would be a good description of the fit itself – the jacket has skinny arms, a slim cut and a very dropped waist at the rear; it's tailored to fit well on the bike, but a little awkward walking around the office or other public places. Despite the nod to commuting and practicality through the use of reflective material, the Reflex is still very much a performance-orientated bit of kit, most at home on the bike, with tight-fitting layers beneath.

MORTIROLO REFLEX JACKET on Bike

As you might expect from a brand with Castelli's reputation, the small details have all been well thought out and executed. Up front, the YKK zip is a fairly hefty number, with a large zip pull that's easy to grasp and manipulate with thick winter gloves. The chest ventilation zips are much slimmer, but then these are much more likely to be used when wearing thinner gloves.

MORTIROLO REFLEX JACKET Zip

Unusually, the waist forgoes the typical strip of silicone and relies on being elasticated to stay in place, which it does fine. Out back, there are three pockets providing enough space to fuel any long winter ride.

MORTIROLO REFLEX JACKET Back Pocket

Construction quality is spot on too – the jacket has held up to a winter's worth of daily commutes and longer weekend rides without showing any signs of wear. Despite the warnings, it's been through a number of tumble drying cycles (on low heat), and the reflective panels are still as good as new.

> Check out our guide to the best winter cycling jackets here

In summary, the Mortirolo Reflex is an excellent jacket. At £200 it's at the high end of the market, and because of the fit and performance it's likely to appeal mainly to those using it for recreational rather than utilitarian purposes. But the introduction of the reflective panels transforms it into something than can legitimately be worn seven days a week; whether that makes it worth the money is ultimately up to you.

Verdict

A top performing winter jacket that transforms in low-light conditions

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Castelli Mortirolo Reflex Jacket

Size tested: Large, Blue night/White/Reflex

Tell us what the jacket 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?

According to Castelli, the Reflex is designed so that "you can train longer in the evening or use this as your go-to piece for night rides".

Despite the reflectivity, the Reflex is still a performance orientated bit of kit and will still appeal to those using it recreationally, rather than just purely for commuting.

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

Windstopper® X-Fast fabric on front is windproof and water-resistant

Shoulders and lower back in perforated reflective fabric layered over fleece

Back in Warmer to prevent overheating

Front zippered chest vents

YKK® Camlock zipper

3 external rear pockets

Reflective tabs keep you visible in low-light conditions

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The jacket is well put together and reinforced with some fairly hefty stitching in all the right places.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
9/10

For cold conditions, the Reflex is now my go-to jacket because of its warmth and ability to shrug off a surprising amount of rain. Despite its weather-tackling capabilities, it's still a joy to wear and the fit matches up perfectly to a riding position on the bike.

Rate the jacket for durability:
 
8/10

The jacket has withstood a full winter of daily use and a number of tumble drying cycles without showing any signs of wear.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing, based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
9/10

The Reflex's waterproofing abilities was the greatest surprise. For any rides under an hour, you can be pretty certain that you won't get wet, whatever the weather. Indeed, it managed to shrug off a fully-fledged thunderstorm followed by hail on a recent commute, and I still turned up to the office dry. For longer rides in constant precipitation, water will eventually get through, but you couldn't really ask much more of a softshell jacket.

Rate the jacket for breathability, based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
7/10

Castelli giving the Mortirolo a 4 out of 5 on the breathability scale is a tad optimistic. Despite chest ventilation zips, the jacket is still reserved for the coldest days and becomes overwhelmed when the mercury rises above about 6°C.

Rate the jacket for fit:
 
8/10

Performance orientated fit that works very well on the bike, but not so well off it. Although there's space for a couple of layers underneath the jacket, these will have to be skintight in order to do so.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
5/10

As is customary with Castelli, expect to size up at least one or two sizes to get the correct fit.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
8/10

The jacket is reasonably light and slim for the warmth it provides, but it is never going to be a layer you can pack away on a ride.

Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
8/10

The fleece-lined interior is soft against the skin when wearing short sleeved baselayers underneath. The fit is slim, but never restrictive.

Rate the jacket for value:
 
6/10

Although £200 is a lot to spend, no matter how good a jacket is, the Mortirolo Reflex is excellent and the price is comparable with other high-end jackets – and less than some.

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Despite the warnings on the label, I've washed the jacket at 40°C and then tumble dried it numerous times with no signs of damage.

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

As a performance orientated jacket, the Mortirolo is excellent. That it's also highly reflective when the sun goes down is a bonus and makes it a jacket you can wear seven days a week.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

The jacket's ability to stay dry in some pretty sustained rain. The way it lights up at night is also pretty cool, and something you don't really realise until people start commenting on it.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

The typical Castelli sizing makes buying without trying first a bit more of a lottery.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? With 10-20% off the retail price, yes.

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

Very good,  does everything you could want from a winter jacket, with the added bonus of its reflectivity making it useful for extended winter rides and commuting.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 24  Height: 190cm  Weight: 69kg

I usually ride: Giant TCR  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Semi pro

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking

For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.

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