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The Castelli Rossa Corsa Espresso Gloves are an exceptional pair of bike mitts for those who like to combine breathability with padding.
As with almost everything cycling-related, what may be one person's perfect will be another person's hell. Mitts, despite their apparent simplicity, are no different.
Personally, I like mitts with tons of padding and so the Espressos are ideal as they have that in abundance. There are four pads across the bottom of each finger, another on the thumb, then three sitting across the bottom of the hand, one circular pad in the middle of the palm, and a long thin one running from underneath the little finger down to midway down the wrist.
Each pad is gel and the seams allow the hand to move easily without any kind of restrictions – something that heavily padded mitts sometimes suffer from. On each pad there are silicone grippers to maintain grip regardless of the conditions, and these work impressively well, even in the wettest conditions.
The pads do a good job of damping bumps from the road, no doubt helped by the 'Castelli Damping System'. This is basically one much firmer pad that sits in the middle of the bottom of your palm and protects key nerves by damping vibrations in that area of your hand most heavily in contact with the hoods. There was a noticeable difference when I was riding on bumpy north Kent roads compared with other gloves I have used.
On the top Castelli has used a 'textured mesh with stretch and recovery' which has the obligatory Castelli red showing through the black upper when stretched. This material is very effective when it comes to breathability and wicking, making them a great choice for hot weather rides.
Elsewhere, Castelli has included a microfibre panel for wiping sweat or glasses, and has also considered the gloves' robustness, including a slightly thicker material running from the forefinger down the wrist and up the thumb, with an even thicker suede material on the inside of the thumb and forefinger where you're most likely to grip the hoods.
There's a pull tab between the two middle fingers to help when taking them off – something that I believe should be a legal requirement for mitts in 2019.
With an rrp of £40, they're undoubtedly an expensive pair of mitts, but given their performance this actually seems quite reasonable. When you compare them to the Hirzl Grippp Tour SF gloves, which come in £4 more expensive, they don't have quite the same level of grip but have considerably more padding. The Assos Summergloves_S7 are the same price at £40 and offer slightly more breathability, but don't have the same level of padding.
I was very impressed with the Rossa Corsa Espressos. As somebody who loves padding on their mitts, they suited me down to the ground. Some may want to have a little more road feel, but for those who don't you can't go far wrong with these.
An excellent pair of mitts for those looking to take the bite out of bumps
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Rosso Corsa Espresso Gloves
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
A performance road mitt for those who are looking for padding in addition to breathability.
Castelli says, "When Castelli set out to improve one of their best gloves they focused on making the glove easy to get on and off, which they achieved with high-stretch engineered material and an easy-open cuff. For improved cushioning against road vibration, they added the Castelli Damping System to enhance comfort and protect the key nerves in your hand. The thumb wipe area features a soft microsuede. Castelli made this classic even better, and it's sure to be a favourite."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Castelli Damping System (CDS)
High-stretch cuff for easy on and off
Gel padding and silicone grip add comfort and control
Textured mesh with stretch and recovery
15°-30°C / 59°-86°F
A well-made pair of mitts, with strong stitching holding together a good choice of materials.
Performed very well throughout, offering some of the best padding I have found on a pair of mitts, combined with excellent breathability.
The gloves are well made and likely to last for a long time thanks to the extra material in areas most likely to wear away.
The medium size I tested fitted exactly as I would expect.
Supremely comfortable mitts that combine breathability and wicking with excellent padding on the palms.
Expensive for a pair of mitts. However, when you consider their rivals in the same price bracket, they are about right.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy, popped them in the machine at 30 degrees without any issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well throughout the review. The CDS system works wonders and the pads offer incredible protection while still allowing full movement.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The CDS system is really impressive and takes the punch out of road bumps and potholes.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You can compare them to the Hirzl Grippp Tour SF, which come in £4 more expensive; they don't have quite the same level of grip but have considerably more padding. The Assos Summerglove_S7 are the same price and offer slightly more breathability, but don't have the same level of padding.
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 overall score
These are possibly the best pair of breathable and well-padded mitts I've used. Their ability to take the bite out of almost every bump combined with excellent breathability makes them hard to beat.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.