Castelli Nanoflex kneewarmers combine two handy functions, keeping your knees both warm and dry. Their only downside is a slightly awkward seam.
Castelli's Nanoflex is a water repellent range of garments based on their Thermaflex material but with silicone filaments added to the surface. These filaments are what keeps the rain out, causing it to bead on the surface and be moved away by the wind.
Heavy drizzle, road spray and riding through fog have little impact on these knee warmers and you'll remain dry for a very long time. Eventually the wet will break through as the fabric gets overwhelmed but it'll take a good soaking before that happens.
Unlike waterproofing treatments the silicone filaments aren't washed away in the washing machine. They are attached to the surface and are part of the material so the performance throughout their life should remain a constant. The care instructions recommend a cool 30 degree wash and not to tumble dry as the silicone isn't a fan of too much heat.
Right then, we've established they'll keep you dry but are the Nanoflex knee warmers worth paying thirty five quid for?
They're Castelli so that does carry a bit of a premium but thankfully they do have the performance to back that up. The fit is very good with a large size staying put on my 55cm upper thigh, a silicone gripper holding the top in place while elastic takes care of the bottom.
The inner is a fleecy lining Roubaix style that is very soft to the touch and keeps your knees warm even when the rain eventually gets through. The Thermaflex fabric does exactly what the title suggests, flexes and moves with your leg while travelling through the pedalling motion.
One whinge though is the seam that runs up the rear. On rides over a couple of hours the seam would start to rub the skin on the back of my knee, which was quite irritating. They aren't articulated at the back of the knee either which does cause the seam to bunch.
Manufacturing wise it's all good. The stitching is good quality and after plenty of wear and machine washes there is no sign of an fraying.
There are three colours available, red, white and black, in sizes from small to extra large.
So are they worth £35? Yes I reckon they are provided that seam doesn't annoy you.
Great wet weather performance and wonderfully warm but the seam placement could irritate.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Nanoflex Kneewarmer
Size tested: n/a
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?
Pro performance knee warmers aimed at riders who train in all weathers. The fit is good and stretches with the constant pedalling motion.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Silicone nano filaments cause water to bead off of the surface to create a water repellent material.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performance is great and they fit well. The water repellency is impressive and they should last a good few seasons.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The water repellent performance, warmth and build quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
That irritating seam.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes when they weren't rubbing.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A glance on the forums and speaking to club mates sees the majority of users don't suffer with the seam so its probably a case of try before you buy.
If they are comfortable on you they are some of the best performing knee warmers on the market
About the tester
Age: 34 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Ribble Winter Trainer for commuting, Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Sarto Rovigo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.