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Castelli's Women's Aero Pro Jersey offers excellent breathability and a very comfortable fit. It's perfect for hot, fast rides, and the fabrics and construction are convincing support for the aerodynamic claims – though its transparency won't be to everyone's liking.
Castelli has featured the Aero Pro Jersey in its range since 2016 – this is the sixth revision. The biggest change from the previous Aero Pro is the 'CFD (Computation Fluid Dynamics) analysis of wake flow in the riding position for fabric and seam placement.' No wind tunnel testing here, so I can't comment on the validity of Castelli's claims, but if it's good enough for Ineos Grenadiers there must be something in it.
Following Castelli's size chart, I tested a medium and found the fit spot on, so I'd say stay true to size. The fabrics are soft and giving and accommodate lumps and bumps without issue. It's just what you'd expect from anything being sold as 'aero' – a very snug fit.
When you're riding, the fabric around the arms and neck sits smoothly against the skin for minimum drag. It can bunch a little at the front, but not excessively so, and it's dependent on your position on the bike.
I did experience some 'swinging' if the pockets were unevenly loaded; the fabric is exceptionally soft and giving and the silicone only sits at the rear hem so isn't as effective as some.
The combination of ultra-lightweight, stretch-to-fit fabrics does leave very little to the imagination. In the name of testing, I did several baselayer-free rides, and can confirm it offers protection from the sun. If you opt for the Ivory that I tested, you'll probably want to team it with bibs that have white straps, or waist shorts.
Given how thin the fabric is, it's not surprising that the Aero Pro's most tangible, impressive feature is its breathability. At the rear, it's as close to a string vest as a jersey can get – this panel doesn't hold any moisture at all. It was simply perfect for the recent temperatures in the low 30s.
It's not restricted to those few scorching days of summer, either; the jersey arrived for testing in the midst of some cool weather – classic British summertime – and it works well with a baselayer in the high teens.
The neckline is well judged for aerodynamics – low enough to help you feel airflow in hot weather and not wrinkle up when you are on the drops with your head lifted. There is a zip guard at the top but no garage, but it doesn't strike me as necessary since the collar sits so low. The zip has a decent size toggle and runs smoothly.
The rear has a decent drop to it, with that silicone strip placed a couple of centimetres up from the lower edge. The three rear pockets utilise this drop to create storage with decent depth. They are well placed – easily accessible on the go. Given this is effectively a race garment, it's not surprising that there's no zip pocket. I rarely use a zip pocket anyway, so didn't miss it.
The sleeves are raw cut and, like the rest of the jersey, very accommodating without squeezing. They are slightly longer than typical, and longer than I'd like really, but that's just personal preference.
I've tested a few of these sorts of jerseys that claim to offer outstanding breathability with aerodynamic fabrics and construction, and they've all come in at over £100.
Cheaper still is Lusso's latest aero jersey, the Hebden, for £70. We'll have a full review of that one soon.
I'd say the Aero Pro is a great option if you take your training stats seriously, or you're participating in competitive events as an individual (no club/team kit) or just getting serious about time trialling but not ready for the full skinsuit investment. I'm not saying it's limited to this, but it'll certainly get plenty of use if you dabble in these things in addition to simply appreciating high performing, comfortable kit for your rides.
Lightweight, comfortable, breathable jersey for those willing to pay for aero gains
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Aero Pro Women's Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Castelli says: 'Castelli designed the Aero Pro Women's Jersey to be the most aerodynamic jersey for road racing, while also packing in loads of practicality and comfort making it a great choice even if you never pin a number on.
The jersey is engineered for aero efficiency for speeds between 30 – 55kmph. This is thanks to Castelli's CFD-based seaming and wind tunnel fabric testing. The shoulders are constructed to air flows easily over them. Velocity Rev2 fabric on the front and sleeves also means air slips off the suit, while the elbow-length cut makes for an even slippier design.
The fabrics are all high stretch with excellent moisture management making the jersey supremely comfortable. The back of the jersey is also made from a 3D mesh fabric for breathability.
The Aero Pro Women's Jersey is complete with 3 rear pockets providing ample storage for long days in the saddle, and a drop tail design which helps hold the pockets in place when loaded.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-CFD-based fabric placement and seam construction
-Engineered for aero efficiency at 30 to 55 km/h
-Airflow shoulder construction
-Velocity Rev2 fabric on front and sleeve
-3D mesh back for breathability
-Elbow-length stretch sleeves with raw-cut edge
-YKK® Vislon® zipper
-Drop tail allows perfect pocket placement while keeping jersey fitting well at waist
Thoughtfully designed and very well made, as would be expected at this price tag.
Exceptional breathability, so great performance in hot conditions. We've no way to measure the aerodynamic benefits but given the fit, fabrics and lack of seams in certain places, it's easy to believe that there are some. I did experience some 'swinging' round when the pockets were loaded unevenly.
After a month of very regular use, all the stitching is still intact and the fabric looks good too, despite being very flimsy.
The Ivory version on test has acquired some stubborn grease marks around the pockets.
Stay true to size.
Compared with other high-end aero jerseys from the likes of 7mesh and Assos, it's pretty reasonable.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I did find myself using more than just a basic detergent for the Ivory jersey I was testing; it's not really compatible with changing a tube or carrying out roadside mechanics. Turquoise Green or Agate Blue might be easier options, requiring the basic non-bio, 30 degree routine. The fabrics haven't deteriorated, though, and it's smelling fresh after every wash.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Did it shave off seconds? I wasn't in a wind tunnel checking. It feels great when riding and offers first class breathability in hot weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit and breathability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Could be more stable with weighted pockets.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Cheaper than other high-end jerseys claiming similar aero properties, such as the 7mesh Skyline at £200 and Assos Dyora RS at £145. However, cheaper options are available: Lusso's latest aero jersey is only £70, for example.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, the fit and comfort were good.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, if I was looking for an aero jersey.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they were training and racing with purpose.
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a high-quality aero jersey with impressive breathability. I couldn't test its aerodynamics, but the fit and construction make it a convincing option for those who want to make gains here. Overall, it's very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…