Castelli's origins stretch back to 1876 in a small shop in Milan founded by Vittore Gianni, a tailor who made clothes for the dignitaries, local businessmen, the Milan Ballet, AC Milan and Juventus.
Gianni made the jump into cycling clothing kitting out Alfredo Binda, who would later go on to win the Giro d'Italia on five occasions. Armando Castelli joined the company in 1935 and later purchased the company from Gianni in 1939, making more headway into cycling clothing and supplying wool jerseys and shorts to the likes of Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali. In 1978, Castelli's son Maurizio, after working for his father, broke off to form the brand we know today.
Since then, Castelli has earned quite a few industry-firsts as a brand; the first brand to manufacture lycra race shorts, first sublimated printing process for jerseys and shorts, first thermal winter clothing, first aero skinsuit, first to launch the y-cut chamois, first wicking fabric treatment; the list goes on and on.
The brand was humming along until Maurizio passed away in 1995 at 47-years-old from a heart attack while riding up the Cipressa - the famous climb used in Milan-San Remo, and while Maurizio's vision lived on, the company almost went bankrupt before it was purchased by Manifattura Valcismon, the parent company of Sportful.
Since then, the company has thrived. Today you will see riders from Team Ineos riding with the red and white scorpion on their backs and quite a few riders sponsored by other brands riding in Castelli gear with blacked-out logos.
Castelli clothing you can buy today
Perfetto RoS Light Jersey
Minimalist wind and weather protection
Gender: Men and Women | Seam-sealed: No | Pockets: 2, rear | Price: £150 / $190 / AU$263
Castelli says the Perfetto RoS light jersey is the result of sponsored riders wanting a lighter-weight version of the Gabba, and so the brand delivered.
The front panel of the Perfetto Light is made from GoreTex Infinium 203 fabric (seen on the back panel of the Gabba and Perfetto LS) and the rear is the brand's Nano Flex Light Woven fabric.
Thinner and lighter than its siblings, Castelli describes it as a 'vest with sleeves,' and it can easily be rolled up and stuffed into a pocket. It still has a drop tail, and two deep pockets complete with a designated pump sleeve, but ditches the seam sealing.
- Best cycling jerseys: short sleeve jerseys for your warm weather rides
Trasparente V Jersey
Perfect for chilly autumn and spring rides
Gender: Men and Women | Seam-sealed: No | Pockets: 3, rear, zippered front | Price: £190 / $270 / AU$TBC
With a water- and wind-proof front panel made from Polartec NeoShell fabric, the Trasparente V Jersey will keep your core warm as the temperature begins to drop so you can leave your jacket at home. The rear of the jersey is made from Nano Flex Xtra Dry for breathability and protection against spray.
The interior is brushed, so it's soft against your skin and retains plenty of warmth, while a full zip allows the cool air in when you're in need of a bit of extra ventilation.
The rear sees three deep pockets, while a zippered pocket on the chest is perfect for a credit card or a bit of cash.
Gabba RoS Jersey
The latest incarnation of the original rain jersey
Gender: Men and Women | Seam-sealed: Yes | Pockets: 2, rear | Price: £170 / $199 / AU$TBC
In 2010, the Gabba jersey changed how road riders approached wet weather. Previously the best option was a rain cape, which did well to keep the water out, but also kept your sweat inside. With the clever use of GoreTex Windstopper X-Lite fabric, it repelled water, stopped the wind and most importantly breathed. Because the fabric was made from a softshell material, it could stretch, and therefore be tailored into a tight-fitting, aerodynamic race jersey.
Now in its fourth generation, the Gabba Ros (Rain or Shine) has received major updates. The top is now made from GoreTex Infinium Windstopper with the front panel being made from a slightly heavier, denier textile and a brushed interior, while the rear-facing fabric is a bit lighter and more water-resistant.
Castelli has improved the seam sealing around the shoulders and added a covered zipper to prevent leaks. Rather than the three small pockets found on previous generations, the Gabba RoS has two larger pockets for easier access with large gloves, complete with an internal sleeve to keep your hand pump in place.
Perfetto RoS Long Sleeve Jacket
Perfetto, a long sleeve Gabba under a different name
Gender: Men and Women | Seam-sealed: Yes | Pockets: 2, rear | Price: £195 / $299 / AU$TBC
If you're flipping through the Castelli catalogue, you may have noticed the long sleeve version of the Gabba is notable by its absence. As with the previous generation, the garment does still exist but carries a different name called the Perfetto - or the Perfetto RoS Long Sleeve for the latest model. The change in name may be due in part to Castelli having to license the name Gabba from a dutch company.
The jersey features the same fabrics, construction and features as the Gabba RoS, except the sleeves come down to your wrists.
Idro Pro 2 Jacket
When they say the fabric is SHAKEDRY, they aren't kidding
Gender: Men | Seam-sealed: Yes | Pockets: 2, rear | Price: £340 / $400 / AU$730
Sometimes when the weather is monsoon-like, you need a fully waterproof jacket, and our favourite garment for the task is the Idro Pro 2 Jacket. Made with Gore-Tex SHAKEDRY technology, the waterproof membrane takes the place of the face fabric traditionally used on laminated waterproofs for a jacket that not only repels water and breathes better but is also lighter and more packable.
The Idro Pro 2 also features two external pockets, a longer drop tail, and Topo stretch inserts at the wrist, elbow and shoulder for less flapping and a more tailored fit.
It's only available in black, however, Castelli has added reflective detailing for a bit of low light visibility.
- Best waterproof cycling jackets for 2020: cycling jackets to keep you dry when the weather turns wet
Nano Flex Pro 2 Omloop Bib Shorts
Extra-long thermal bib shorts for extra warmth
Gender: Men and Women | Seam-sealed: No | Pockets: N/A | Price: £140 / $180 / AU$160
Sometimes full-length tights are a recipe for overheating, yet summer bib shorts don't quite make the when it comes to insulation, even when paired with warmers. The Nano Flex Pro 2 Omloop bib shorts sit squarely in the gap between, offering warm materials and a slightly longer leg for a bit of extra warmth.
Made from Castelli's Nano Flex Xtra Dry, the DWR treatment causes rain and road spray to bead up, while a raw-cut knee and minimal seams don't give water the chance to squeeze through. The material provides a bit of insulation, but still breathes considerably better than anything with an internal membrane.
With lay-flat bib straps, the Omloop bib shorts feature Castelli's Progetto X2 chamois for day-long comfort.
Nano Flex Pro 2 RoS Bib Tights
Water-resistant bib tights to keep you comfortable in damp conditions
Gender: Men and Women | Seam-sealed: No | Pockets: N/A | Price: £190 / $240 / AU$335
The Nano Flex Pro 2 bib tights are full-length tights with waterproof reflective splash guards over the shins and feature the Castelli Progetto X2 seamless pad.
The bulk of the garment is made from Castelli's Nano Flex fabric which is the Castelli's own version of a DWR treated textile. DWR or Durable Water Repellent is a treatment which binds to a fabric's individual fibres and creates micro-pegs; these force a water droplet to maintain its surface tension and roll off, rather than spreading out and soaking in, all without hampering breathability.
The latest iteration is called Nano Flex Xtra Dry, which sees an even tighter weave double layer construction, and greater water-repellency treatment for extra protection. If the exterior fabric wets out, it won't be in direct contact with your skin and make you cold.
Sorpasso 2 Wind Bib Tights
Cold winds are no match
Gender: Men and Women | Seam-sealed: No | Pockets: N/A | Price: £190 / $190 / AU$TBC
It's not just the rain you need to worry about when knocking out base miles through the cold dark winter, the wind can just as quickly chill your bones. To counter this, the Sorpasso 2 Wind Bib Tights feature a Gore-Tex Windstopper membrane down the front and just past the knees. The lower legs and backside are fitted with Castelli's Nano Flex Xtra Dry fabric for splash and spray protection.
On the back, the Sorpasso 2 features Castelli's fleecy soft Thermoflex Core2 fabric, with a nylon outer layer and hollow-core polyester inner it traps heat while efficiently wicking moisture away from your skin to prevent chills.
Inside is the Castelli Progetto X2 perforated chamois to keep you comfortable all day.
Nano Flex 3G Warmers
DWR treated warmers stave of light rain and road spray
Gender: Men and Women | Seam-sealed: No | Pockets: N/A | Price: Arm £38 / $60 / AU$70, Leg £60 / $80 / AU$100, Knee £44 / $60 / AU$80
Any good set of winter warmers will be stretchy, well-tailored, fleece-backed and have limited seams to prevent pinching. The Nano Flex warmers tick these boxes and take it a step further by adding Castelli's version of DWR repellant so that rain and road spray beads and rolls off the fabric rather than soaking in.
Available in arm, leg and knee guises, each of which features double-sided silicone grippers to prevent them from creeping down throughout a ride.
Tempesta 2 Gloves
Medium bulk, maximum warmth and dexterity
Gender: Men | Seam-sealed: No | Pockets: N/A | Price: £85 / $90 / AU$TBC
The Tempesta 2 Glove is one of Castelli's most popular gloves, thanks to its wet and cold protection and minimal bulk. A Hipora membrane keeps the rain on the outside, while a fleece lining is soft on the skin and prevents your fingers from becoming icicles.
The Palm sees an 'all over' silicon print for confident grip even in the wet, while a high cuff prevents the cold from sneaking in over the top.
RoS Shoe Cover
Sock-doping-approved weatherproof booties
Gender: Unisex | Seam sealed: No | Pockets: N/A | Price: £75 / $100 / AU$TBC
You can't forget about your feet when out on a winter ride, and the RoS (Rain or Shine) overshoes will keep your feet warm and dry. The main fabric is windproof and water-resistant (not waterproof), and the seams are moved to the outside of the foot where they are less exposed.
Around the ankle, Castelli uses a contoured seam to fit around this awkwardly shaped area, the tall cuff sees an internal silicone gripper to seal water out of the top, and the interior is lined with fleece to trap as much warmth as possible.
A full-length zipper and texture pull tab makes them easy to slip on and off, and a reflective heel cuff makes for added visibility.
Primaloft 15 Socks
Techy winter socks
Gender: Unisex | Seam-sealed: No | Pockets: N/A | Price: £25 / $20 / AU$44
Designed for cold temperatures, the PrimaLoft 15 sock is made from a mixture of PrimaLoft and polypropylene yarn to maintain as much heat as a bulk-free sock can.
A 15cm cuff allows ample height to overlap with warmers and tights, while a terry-cloth interior creates loft to trap heat.
Difesa 2 Cap
A Gabba for your head
Gender: Unisex | Seam-sealed: No | Pockets: N/A | Price: £38 / $50 / AU$70
Fully windproof and complete with ear flaps, the Difesa 2 cap will keep your noggin warm when the weather goes south. It's made from the same GoreTex Infinium fabric as the Gabba jersey and features a traditional bill to keep the rain out of your sunnies.
It's also available in both black and hi-vis yellow, not that it will really add much visibility underneath your helmet.
Flanders Warm LS Base Layer
Fleece-lined winter baselayer
Gender: Men and Women | Seam-sealed: No | Pockets: N/A | Price: £70 / $90 / AU$122
Layering is key during the colder months, and it all starts with a good base layer. Made from SottoZero Fleece it's not seamless, but everything is flatlock stitched to prevent chafing, and the panels under the armpits are mesh for added heat regulation.
The base layer has plenty of stretch built-in for a painted-on fit, and the flat hem at the bottom tucks into tights and bibs without bunching.
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