I have always liked to ride my bike all-year-round and have tried many different ways of dealing with transitional weather. Dressing for summer and mid-winter are generally pretty straightforward, but it gets a lot harder in the spring and fall. Both in my hometown on the west coast of North America and here in Japan the weather can be very unstable during the off-season. The mornings can be cold with rain showers and yet be warm and sunny before lunch. It has always been a bit tricky to dress for the changing conditions and everyone seems to have their own strategy. Always preferring to wear the minimum possible when riding I decided to try the Castelli Gabba WS Jersey.
While it is race shaped and has a similar weight to a regular off-season jersey, it uses Castelli’s Gabba and Nanoflex fabrics for better than normal weather resistance. I have found that it is pretty much wind proof and can comfortably withstand short rain showers or road spray (although the seems are not taped and do eventually let some water through). It does have a slightly high collar and seems pretty good at keeping wind out when zipped up. As I do not generally go out in the pouring rain for long rides on my road bike the moderate water resistance was fine for me, and when I did get rained on the wind resistance combined with an inner layer still kept me warm enough while moving. The jersey itself seems well made but is on the small side for fit as are most Castelli offerings. Both of the fabrics seem to breathe well.
What about my arms? Well, I already had Castelli Nanoflex Arm Warmers made of water-resistant material that seem to do enough to make inclement weather comfortable.
As for the temperature range, I have found that mixing up base layers and arm warmers can give this jersey a very large temperature range. Wearing a simple wicking inner I have found it comfortable from 15-20°C. Add a short sleeve warm inner and arm warmers and I have been comfortable at 8-15°C and with a long sleeve warm inner, wind-stopper SS inner and arm warmers I have been able to ride down to 0°C without discomfort. It is probably important to note that I tend to be bothered less by cool weather than most people, and these temperature ranges change a bit if there is significant rain involved.
Overall I am very happy with the jersey and I am happy to have it as part of my off-season arsenal. I would recommend it to anyone who does not really like wearing a jacket in changing weather or prefers a race cut jersey for those fast flat land winter rides.
There are two colour options (black or fluoro yellow) and there is also a long sleeve version available that is a bit better in cold weather.
- Good all-round weather resistance for a jersey
- Covers fall and spring conditions well
- Well made
- Race cut for reduced wind resistance
- Rather expensive
- Only two colour choices
*the image used in this post was taken from castelli-cycling.com