Castelli call themselves representatives of the finest in Italian quality and performance cycling clothing.
The brand traces its roots back to 1876, when designer Vittore Gianni was making fine clothing in Milan. He started making cycling clothing in the 1910s for five-time Giro champion Alfredo Binda. In 1948, Maurizio Castelli was born, and he grew up following the races of Fausto Coppi, who always wore Vittore Gianni clothing.
After a brief cycling career, Maurizio created the Castelli brand in 1974, making the first lycra shorts used for racing and available to the public, the first coloured shorts, the first synthetic winter clothing, the first waterproof membranes – the list if “firsts” goes on. He died in 1995, cycling up the Cipressa climb, close to the end of the Milan0-San Remo course – but his innovation lives on…
What does the “finest Italian quality and performance” feel like to ride in?
My cycling club, RedhillCC, recently upgraded their racing kit supplier to Castelli – so as a proud member and supporter of my local riding fraternity – I’ve been spending a great deal of time encased in said finest Italian quality, as have my club mates.
Our kit is a custom designed version of the “Free” bib shorts, and then for women there is the custom “Team jersey”, whilst my male club mates can choose between the “Aero Race” and “Team” jersey. The stitching and construction is the same as the kit available to buy, our version simply has RedhillCC logos on.
The kit’s gone down a storm. The chamois on the Free shorts is one of the best I’ve ridden with, though this was hardly a surprise as my expectations were already raised by the comfort I already have in my Castelli Perla shorts I’ve owned for over a year.
I’m also really impressed with the leg grippers – Castelli have used a wide band in a soft fabric which means that unlike many pairs of bibs I’ve worn, these don’t give me that unfortunate ‘sausage leg/muffin thigh’ that puts many women off lycra.
The jersey is of a pleasantly thin material that would not become stifling on a harder ride. Personally, I won’t be racing in it as for time trials I favour a skinsuit, but I’m comfortable wearing this for a training ride and even in the colder months with a base layer underneath and arm warmers.
My male club mates have come back with equally positive reviews, with riders saying the chamois is really high quality and the vibrant colours Castelli have been able to print have also been applauded.
The aero race jersey, which is said to save 10 watts when riding at 40kph, not only looks smart but stays close to the skin in racing, which is an advantage both in the marginal gains world of saving energy and in the more notable increased comfort.
And for winter?
Our club kit is all summer race focused, which we’ve added warmers to for winter riding and racing, but Castelli’s quality promise runs through the entire range. Particularly popular amongst colleagues here at Evans Cycles is the Gabba Windstopper Longsleeved Jersey. This one is still an aero fit, but with waterproof windstopper material. The pockets are closed with “storm flat construction”, which gives extra protection from spray and a silicone gripper stops the jersey from riding up.
If extra protection against the rain is on your shopping list, Nanoflax items and Diluvio accessories could be up your street.
Nanoflex material has been developed by Castelli to be water resistant as well as stretchy, comfortable and breathable and they make a range of kit including ever handy arm and leg warmers in this fabric.
Diluvio gloves and overshoes use technology similar to that used to make wetsuits, with neoprene keeping out the water. These items don’t favour breathability, instead creating a layer of warm air insulation. This can result in sweaty hands, but the idea is that these are warm, sweaty hands, as opposed to cold and numb ones.
Here are some of the most popular Castelli items we’ve got available:
Castelli Velocissimo Team Jacket – £131.24 (was £174.99)
This highly breathable windstopper jacket is form fitting, and great for winter riding where you still want to be cutting through the air at a reasonable speed.
Castelli Nano Flex Bib Tights – £109.99
Nanoflex material is water resistant, as well as being both soft and stretchy – grippers keep the legs down and there are some reflective patches.
Castelli Nano Flex Leg Warmer - £49.99
More nano-flex accessories to keep the winter rain from your skin, these are water resistant and will keep you dry in light to medium downpour, but it’s not 100% waterproof.
Gabba Windstopper Longsleeved Jersey - £184.99
The Gabba windstopper will keep you warm and cosy on cold days, and the yellow version is the most stylish high viz we’ve seen to date.
Castelli Diluvio Overshoes – £39.99
The diluvio overshoes use wetsuit technology to keep all water out, transforming your feet to miniature radiators as your own body heat stays inside.
Castelli Squadra Long Jacket – £39.99
This waterproof packs up tight to slip into a jersey pocket, but provides protection when you need it.
Castelli Leggera Women’s Jacket – £48.99 (was £69.99)
Like the Squadra, the Leggera is a packable waterproof to keep you dry and comfortable, without weighing you down.
Castelli Women’s Tenerissimo 2 Tight – £66.49 (was £94.99)
These tights are made for autumn or spring riding, and use thermoflex material to keep you warm whilst not hindering movement.
Castelli Super Nano Donna Women’s Glove – £34.99 (was £49.99)
The Super Nano gloves provide minimalist protection, allowing for easy movement whilst still keeping you warm.
Castelli Women’s Transparante Women’s Jersey FZ – £111.99 (was £139.99)
This breathable windstopper is splash proof and designed for winter days on the bike, using x-light stretch fabric for a warm but snug fit.