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The Castelli Spettacolo RoS gloves are very good cold-weather gloves that are comfortable and keep out the worst of the weather – while still retaining a slimline, non-bulky build. The wrist guards are also a nice touch but can be an issue if you wear a watch. Designed for temperatures down to 3°C, these look to challenge the gloves in our best winter cycling gloves buyer's guide, though at north of £100 the price is on the prohibitive side.
Castelli has designed these gloves for the kind of weather you tend to see in the 'shoulder seasons' – the transitional seasons of autumn and spring. I found them warm enough for almost everything a British November could throw at me, and while they're not waterproof, they offer more than enough resistance against showers or light rain.
Castelli has used a stretchy outer shell on the backs that offers both water- and wind-resistance. The water-resistance is good enough for most rides at this time of year, but these gloves aren't designed for heavy rain, and if you are looking for hardcore weatherproofing, you'd be better off looking elsewhere.
However, I found the wind-proofing to be very effective. I wore these on several cold and windy rides and my hands stayed warm and comfortable throughout. This comes partly from the good choice of material on the upper, but also from the PrimaLoft Gold insulation that sits beneath it. It isn't the amount of insulation you would choose for sub-zero temperatures, but the material's quality makes it extremely effective. The gloves are rated by Castelli as 3-12°C, and my experience suggests that's about right.
So, with the Spettacolo RoS gloves being neither waterproof nor ideal for freezing conditions, you might ask: 'Just what is the point of them?'
Well, the reality is that these really are exceptional gloves for this time of year. That's because the temperature doesn't generally drop below 3°C and there isn't as much rain as later in the year – so why design something that has to cope with freezing temperatures and heavy rain?
Instead, Castelli has designed them specifically for this range of conditions and has not worried about more extreme circumstances. This way, Castelli has managed to create a slimmer glove, because it doesn't need to be more insulated – and it's more breathable, because it doesn't need to be as weatherproof.
It's a very effective solution. Not only do they protect you from the autumnal and early-winter elements, they're also comfortable and their lack of bulk means their dexterity is good too.
Castelli hasn't included any extra padding on the palms but the gloves' insulation means there is naturally more padding than you'd find in summer gloves, which allows them to be more flexible. I wore these on long and rough rides and had no issue with comfort at any point.
Castelli has also added some strategically placed silicone webbing for grip, which works very well. Again this is well-thought-out, with the silicone only added where it's really needed, so your hands don't feel constrained by a stiffer material. The silicone offers good grip, even in the wet, which is crucial at this time of year when weather conditions can change quickly.
The touchscreen inserts on the tips of the thumbs and forefingers worked well. The only time I had any issues was when the screen was wet, but that screen doesn't tend to work well in the wet anyway.
I have mixed opinions when it comes to the wrists. The gloves have a zip that runs along the back from the forefinger to the end of the cuff. This makes it very easy to put them on and take them off, and the long cuffs offer fantastic protection against the elements.
The downside is that if you wear a watch, you may not be able to fully zip up the glove. It's not the end of the world, but it is a bit annoying. The tight fit of the wrist guards meant it didn't matter what watch I wore either, as there was no chance of fitting any of them under a zipped-up glove.
The gloves have an RRP of £110, which is a lot of money in anybody's book, though you can find them for a good deal less – but the quality they offer for riding at this time of year goes some way to justify the price.
You could compare them to the Sportful Fiandre Gloves that Mat took a look at a couple of years ago and which are currently the same price. They have broadly similar characteristics, especially their lack of bulk, but the Sportful gloves do let some water in through the palms. Liam reviewed the Shimano S-Phyre Winter Gloves in 2018, but they are more winter-focused and don't offer the same wrist protection.
Overall, these are very impressive gloves well designed for riding in autumn, early winter and spring. What may have been considered to be weaknesses by some have been embraced by Castelli, resulting in gloves that are warm, grippy, dexterous and breathable. However, they're not ideal if you wear a watch when you ride.
Very well-thought-out gloves that are comfortable, flexible and keep the elements at bay – but they are expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Spettacolo RoS gloves
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
The ultimate glove for long rides in cool to cold conditions, the Spettacolo RoS offers warmth, comfort and splash protection with our easy on/off zip construction.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Rain or Shine product made to excel in both wet and dry conditions
PrimaLoft Gold insulation for warmth
YKK® water-repellent zipper for easy on and off
Engineered silicone print for optimal grip
Water-repellent fabric for protection in wet conditions
Touchscreen insert at fingertip
Very well made, with a lot of thought about the materials combined with strong stitching and strategically placed grip areas.
Very good for autumn, early winter and spring, with impressive breathability, good warmth and comfort.
They seem like they would last; I wore them in some fairly rough conditions without any noticeable impact.
Very good, comfortable and flexible while tight enough around the wrists to keep out the weather.
Very comfortable because of the balance between weatherproofing and breathability.
These are expensive, no two ways about it. However, they are very good gloves.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy – I chucked them in at 30°C without issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, they are implicitly designed for this time of year and it was difficult to find fault with them.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The slimline design combined with the dexterity they offer.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The wrist area when wearing a watch – you can't do them up properly!
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You could compare them to the Sportful Fiandre Gloves that Mat took a look at a couple of years ago and that are currently the same price. They are broadly similar to the Castellis, especially their lack of bulk, but the palms do let water in. Liam reviewed the Shimano S-Phyre Winter Gloves in 2018, but they are more winter-focused and don't offer the same wrist protection.
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
A very good pair of gloves for 'shoulder season' – autumn and spring – that give you enough protection from the elements without sacrificing dexterity and breathability. However, they are very expensive.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
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.