Monday, January 11, 2016

Castelli Gabba 2

Image from Castelli

Castelli Protection:

The Gabba 2 Convertible Jacket is listed on Castelli's website under protection and rates the jacket in the 6°-18°C / 43-64°F temperature range. It is also listed under the Rosso Corsa products for performance. The jacket has the following attributes:

  • Fully aero, fully breathable and fully protected
  • Windstopper® X-Lite Plus fabric for lightweight total wind protection with water-repellent finish
  • Nano Flex fabric insert under arms
  • Storm-flap construction at back protects from wheel spray
  • Silicone gripper on waistband to limit ride-up
  • Full-length YKK® Vislon zipper with wind flap
  • 3 rear pockets with drain mesh
  • Rear reflective trim on pockets and flap for high visibility
  • Remove the sleeves for a short-sleeved Gabba jersey

  • It comes in three colors at the time of writing this review. Black, Red and Light Blue


    I thought first about adding my personal measurements, but this is something each person will have to figure out for themselves and is true for most cycling wear. This is a race fit jersey/jacket and it is intended to be very snug for optimal performance. It is not a club fit jacket for casual fit and extra warmth for a long roadside stop with a club ride.

    I am a former lightweight competitive bodybuilder that still lifts on a regular basis. Although I am not as big as my competitive days, I am still fairly stocky as it goes for performance based cycling. I am about twenty plus pounds over some of my cycling friends of the same height of 5'6". At this time I weigh 164 pounds with broader shoulders, bigger arms and larger back than my more sleek cycling friends.

    When ordering I looked at a lot of web based comments on the Gabba and decided to go with the more popular thought to go up at least one size as most of Castelli's wear seem to lean to a smaller and leaner size. I ordered a large and it turned out to be about perfect in my opinion. The sleeve length is about right for my short arms and it feels very snug through the shoulder and upper arms area. However, it feels comfortable to me and it felt comfortable during a 40 mile ride in a TT aero position on the Felt B10. It just feels like upper body compression. The jacket material seemed to give a little, but it will not give a lot so sizing is important.  


    I just got the jacket and couldn't have asked for a better day to test for this southerner. I am not Belgian or Detroit tough so a 30 degree (F) day is a cold day on the bike. Remember the jacket is rated above 43 degrees (F). The test day temperature was near 40, but the feels like was down around 30 and believe me it felt like 30. The first 20 miles was into a direct headwind rated 17 mph with gusts up over 25 mph. This was a good test for the wind protection qualities front and back as I had a good tailwind on the return.

    It is important to note that I was wearing a medium weight long sleeve base layer with a light Roubaix material, Pearl Izumi barrier tights, neck gaiter, Louis Garneau gloves and shoe covers to round out the kit for the day.


    Stepping out of the car and prepping for the ride I was very chilled all over as the wind hit me, but I have been cycling long enough to know that it is good to start cold and get warmed up before deciding if I made the wrong clothes choice for the ride. I was very chilled for the first two and half miles, but then my core started warming up and then I began to lightly sweat. The wind was not penetrating the jacket and now my concern was breathability. After a few more miles I thought I was going to have to unzip the front a little to let some of the heat escape or to let some cool air in. However, I noticed that I was not continuing to get warmer. My core temperature had leveled out and remained about that level for the remaining miles while moving. So it appeared that it is breathable and allows some heat to escape while protecting from the wind. As mentioned earlier, the fit while leaning down in aero was comfortable and did not feel restrictive.

    I stopped at a rest room at the twenty mile marker for a minute or so and I once again was chilled. After a minute warming back up on the return I was comfortable all the way back. All of the ride was at a tempo to endurance pace so the intensity was low and I was not generating heat like I would if I was really pushing the pace, but I do note now that after this ride I can pick a different base layer if I feel like I would overheat with more intensity or I could open the front zipper just a little or I could remove the sleeves.



    Final Opinion:

    I am not an official reviewer and my goal for purchasing any cycling gear is for my own use. Like most I want to make good purchases so I do a lot of research. When searching for a new winter jacket I noticed that the Gabba 2 had a tremendous amount of positive reviews, as long as, one gets the fit correct. It is not a jacket for a long casual group ride, but for those bitterly cold days with the wind whipping and you want to keep moving, this is a good jacket. Well, I am at least very glad to have it in my fall and winter collection.


    I dislike posting my own picture, but this is how the jacket fit my upper body. Forgive my expression as the chilly wind had some bite to it and I was very eager to get the car warmed up and my feet defrosted.

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