Why do the pros wear black jackets when the weather turns against them-which it has a lot this year? Because many of them are wearing the Gabba from Castelli with the logos removed so as not to upset the team sponsors. The Gabba range was developed in conjunction the the Garmin/Cervelo pros and inspired by team rider Gabriel Rasch-hence the name. There are several different versions from gilets to full jackets and they are available in stylish black or an eye wateringly bright yellow.
As I ride every day in all weathers to work and back I went for the eye wateringly bright yellow version. One thing I have learned over the years is that when it comes to quality winter kit spend as much as you dare as it really does make a difference. A good jacket or decent pair of winter tights can make the difference between a ride being a cold miserable experience and a surprisingly enjoyable one.
So onto the jacket. Lets get the biggest issue out of the way first-the price. £185 is a lot of money by anyone’s standards for what appears to be a simple garment so is it worth it? In my view yes. This jacket is so good you might actually ride your bike more than if you didn’t own one. The fabric is a very soft and stretchy soft-shell from Gore called Windstopper X-Lite Plus. It is remarkably breathable with some simple but well place zip up vents if you over heat. The cut is very fitted-more on that in a minute- so if you pull down the YKK zip to cool off it does not flap about in the breeze or inflate like a balloon. The fabric sheds water very well so well the pockets need drains, and appears to be impervious to wind. By layering with an appropriate base layer it should be good for a wide range of temperatures. So far I have used mine from 4-12 degrees Celsius with either a short sleeved base layer or longer one for chilly days.
Other nice details are the dropped tail to keep your backside dry but you do use mudguards dont you? The hem is lined with scotcthlite tape for added visibility. If we are being picky and at £185 we need to be a bit more reflective detailing would be nice. The pockets in the back have little holes in the bottom to work as drains so good is the waterproofing. There are vented panels under the arms to let heat out and the seams are not sealed so it couldn’t be described as fully waterproof but I can’t see even the best waterproofs out performing this.
There are two other issues with the jacket. First of all is sizing. I wear a large and at 5ft 8″ and 11 stone I’m no Clydesdale so try before you buy. The other issue is availability. These jackets are hard to get so if you see one and you really want one buy it. We have some more coming but they are in very short supply.
So its expensive, no frills, a very snug fit and hard to get hold of. None of that stops this being a superb garment. Its rapidly becoming my favourite bit of winter kit. Buy one, you wont regret it.