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Castelli's Perfetto RoS Women's Jacket really does deserve to be in the 'Rain or Shine' collection; it's a great bit of kit for cool days when you really don't know what the elements will throw at you.
The Perfetto RoS is a unique looking bit of kit with its frontal vents, 3/4 zip flap and absence of any real hem. I've had plenty of comments about it while testing, all positive. In terms of performance and fit I'd say it's a halfway house, something between a jersey and a jacket, fulfilling the role of both in many aspects.
I've been testing a medium, a choice based on Castelli's size chart, and for me the fit is snug around the upper arms and shoulders, with much more room at the waist. Try the jacket on without sitting on a bike and you might think it doesn't fit so well – it doesn't have the length in the body of the Alpha RoS 2 Light I've also reviewed – but get on a bike and it sits much better.
It has the length and fit of something more akin to a race jersey (rather than a jacket). The fabric isn't bulky, and the stretchier panels under the arms guarantee an unrestricted fit and feel.
Sleeve length is good – plenty long enough, even when you are stretched out on the bike. There are no real cuffs here, so a longer glove can easily tuck under them.
The collar is well judged too. It's protective yet comfy when zipped all the way up. There is a Castelli toggle on the zipper, making it easy to locate and use, but this isn't the case with the vent zippers – a bit more dexterity is needed to work them.
I do have a gripe with the drop at the rear, though. On Castelli's website (and in our photos) it looks a decent tail that will hold its position and protect the lower back.
In reality, the lightly elasticated hem does very little to hold it in place and there is no silicone gripper, so it tends to curl up to sit under the pockets, even more so if the pockets are loaded.
A flap like you get on Castelli's Diagonal Thermal Jersey would be much more functional in my opinion – I like coverage on my lower back and the Perfetto didn't offer that for me.
It may not be an issue for everyone, though, indeed Rachael didn't seem to be bothered by it in her review on our sister site, but it's worth noting if you are considering investing.
Castelli suggests a performance window of 4-14°C for the Perfetto, which I'd agree with, though it needs support at the lower end. I found that with two baselayers underneath, in temperatures around 3-5°C, I was perfectly warm enough. If you want to ditch a baselayer in milder temperatures, bear in mind that the fabrics aren't the cosiest against the skin.
The jacket does breathability exceptionally well; it's great if you're looking to train intensively with intervals and efforts – so a build-up of heat, followed by recovery, and potential cooling. The cut, as well as the fabric, has a big input here. The open sleeve-ends and absence of any real hem at the waist, plus the zipped vents, all help with airflow. I was quite picky when it came to the baselayer I used with the Perfetto: long in the body and sleeve – I didn't want any draughts on my skin.
The Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper fabric is extremely water resistant. It's not fully waterproof – it's more for protection against showers on otherwise dry rides – but nevertheless, for such a breathable jacket, it's impressive.
The shoulder seams are taped on the outside and the zip is covered by a water-resistant flap (apart from at the very bottom). It's perhaps worth pointing out that I have only been testing the jacket for five weeks, so I can't really comment on the longevity of the waterproofing yet.
Rather than the conventional three-pocket setup, Castelli has opted for two pockets on the Perfetto, one with a pump sleeve. For me, this is a real disappointment – I'd rather have three pockets available to separate stuff out, even if I don't make use of them all the time. They aren't quite as easy to reach as those on the Alpha RoS 2, either – they sit a little higher up the back – though they are far from inaccessible.
There is a reflective panel just below the rear pockets which is effective, albeit a little small.
The jacket comes in five different colours: Brilliant Pink, Light Black, Dark Blue and Marine Blue, as well as the Celeste on test. A good range of blend-in to stand-out options.
At £200, the Perfetto RoS Jacket is a substantial investment, although it comes in a lot cheaper than some: Rapha's Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket is £270, and Castelli's own Alpha RoS 2 Light is £225 (and the non-Light version is £280). The Assos UMA GT Ultraz Evo is even more at £290.
It's a fair bit more than dhb's Aeron All Winter Softshell, though, which is claimed to be suitable for similar temperatures and costs £115.
The Perfetto RoS is a great jacket to reach for if the weather looks very unpredictable. Its breathability, versatility and style justify the outlay – if you can live with the drop at the rear and the two-pocket setup.
Great all-round performer, though its two-pocket setup won't appeal to all
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Perfetto RoS Long Sleeve Women's Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Castelli says, 'The Perfetto RoS is the one jacket that does everything well. We initially designed it as a cool-weather training and extreme-weather race piece for our pro riders, but in reality it excels in many conditions thanks to its full wind protection, great fit through stretchy fabrics, and best-in-class breathability.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Castelli exclusive GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ WINDSTOPPER® 205 Warm brushed water-resistant fabric on front-facing surfaces
- GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ WINDSTOPPER® 203 Stretch on rear-facing surfaces for extra stretch and breathability
- Taped shoulder seams for extra rain protection
- YKK® Vislon® zipper for easy sliding, covered for extra wind and rain protection
- Zippered ventilation opening on side of chest
- 2 rear pockets with pump sleeve are easily accessed with gloved hands
- Gabba-style dropped tail with large black reflective panel
- 4°-14°C / 39°-57°F
- Weight:261 g
All good apart from the rear drop, which does not sit well.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy: 30 degrees, no softener. It hasn't deteriorated in terms of performance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As Castelli claims, it 'does everything well', with breathability top of the pile.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of protection for the lower back because of the drop folding in and up.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's not cheap, but you can pay a lot more for all-weather winter jackets from Rapha (£270) and Assos (£290). However, you can spend much less on the likes of dhb.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, the rear drop issue put a spanner in the works for me.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
The jacket really does perform well in most conditions and its breathability is impressive. However, if paying £200, I'd like every box to be confidently ticked and, for me, a couple weren't: the issue with the cut at the rear, along with only two pockets. It's very good, but it could be exceptional.
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…