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The Castelli Prosecco Tech Women's short sleeve base layer is a warm, super-soft layer that's great for chilly winter rides. The fit won't be for everyone – it's best for long-bodied or tall riders – and its price will put many off too.
This base saw plenty of use under Castelli's own road gear and jerseys from other brands, and it's undoubtedly at its best with just one other layer, and on colder days.
The cut is figure-hugging without being compressive. The fabric has plenty of give, so movement never feels restricted, and since the material is so fine and thin it's ideal under race-fit kit. It adds no bulk, and is really discreet.
The neck line isn't excessively high, which is good when teaming it with a generously-collared winter jacket; too many layers there and you quickly overheat.
The Prosecco Tech is rather long in the body. For me, this wasn't an issue; I have a long torso and I like above average coverage down the lower back, onto the glutes. It's worth noting that waist tights (and even some winter bibs, such as my Gore C3 Women's Thermo favourites) actually need a longer base layer.
However, some riders may find it's too long and rolls up at the hem.
The lightweight fabric feels warm and soft against the skin; it's certainly cosier than many manmade base layers I've experience. It insulates impressively well, too, despite the short sleeves.
It wicks away moisture efficiently and dries quickly too, which further helps with heat retention. Combined with as jacket like the Alpha RoS 2 Light, it does an outstanding job in single-figure temperatures.
With regular washing, the soft feel and stretch haven't deteriorated. This is good as you don't want to be skipping washes; the fabric has a tendency to hold odours.
The £60 price is high for a base layer; you'll need to convince yourself the quality, longevity and sheer warmth is worth it. Wallet-friendly alternatives include Craft's Active Extreme X for £40 (George recently tested the men's version here) or dhb's Aeron Women's SS Merino base for £38.
Given the inherent warmth of this Prosecco (not normally a good sentence to hear...), the long sleeve version looks, if anything, more attractive – especially as it's only a tenner more.
Alternatively, Sportful's Women's Bodyfit Pro LS is also long-sleeved and a bit cheaper at £55.
While I can't fault the fit, comfort and performance of the Castelli Presecco Tech SS Base Layer, it's slightly hard to recommend, purely thanks to the price – there are plenty of alternatives that do much the same thing for much less money.
Faultless performance and comfort, but long body won't suit everyone – and nor will the price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Prosecco Tech Women's Short Sleeve Base Layer
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Castelli says: "Made to keep you dry in cool conditions, this base layer features body mapping construction with Prosecco hydrophilic treatment on the main body fabric and lighter-weight PrimaLoft® fabric aligned to the parts of the body covered by the bibtight straps."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
+ Proprietary stretch rib knit 100% polyester main body fabric with Prosecco hydrophilic treatment for maximum wicking
+ PrimaLoft® panels at waist and back where bibtight covers upper body, to reduce uneven insulation
+ Crew neck closure to fit under short-collared jerseys
+ 6°-15 °C / 43°-59°F
+ Weight:87 g
I loved it, but long torso won't suit everyone.
True to size.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy to wash, but needs it after every use; fabric really holds odours.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's very good. The fabric transports sweat away and doesn't get heavy. It dries quickly and keeps you warm.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Gets smelly fast.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's at the top end. Sportful's Bodyfit Pro Woman Baselayer SS is £50, for instance, while Assos' Assoires Women's Spring Fall SS Skin Layer is £70. Go with dhb's Aeron Women's SS Merino Base or Alpkit's Koulin Trail Tee Base and you pay £38 or £20 respectively.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Not at full price
Would you recommend the product to a friend? A rich one...
Use this box to explain your overall score
There's very little to complain about here – it does everything bar fit short-bodied riders well, but no single top can fit every body type perfectly anyway – and it's a shame it needs washing every ride. If it were a more competitive price against the legions of base layers that either match its performance or come close, it could score higher.
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…