Better than Castelli Gabba? Wet weather racing jackets on test

During the 2013 edition of Milan-San Remo, the weather was horrendous. Many of the pro peloton could be seen wearing a black jersey to fend off the foul conditions. That jersey was the original Castelli Gabba.

If a pro rider is willing to be fined for wearing a piece of kit not supplied by a sponsor and which is in breach of UCI regulations, we can infer that it must be seriously good. Other manufacturers have rushed to develop products to compete with the Gabba and match its performance in awful weather. In response, Castelli has launched an updated version, the Gabba 2.

Here, CW tests a wide range of potential alternatives to see whether any of them have succeeded in surpassing Castelli’s benchmark.

Castelli Gabba 2 jacket

Castelli Gabba 2 jacket

£180

Score

Vermarc Aqua Zero

Vermarc Aqua Zero

£101.99

Score

B’Twin Aerofit 900 jacket

B’Twin Aerofit 900 jacket

£49.99

Score

Gore Oxygen WS long sleeved jacket

Oxygen WS long sleeved jacket

£139.99

Score

Sportful Fiandre Light WS Jacket

Sportful Fiandre Light WS Jacket

£165

Score

Santini Reef Rain Jersey

Santini Reef Rain Jersey

£139.99

Score

Capo Lombardia DWR long-sleeve jersey

Capo Lombardia DWR long-sleeved jacket

£159.99

Score

Rapha Pro Team Softshell Jacket

Rapha Pro Team Softshell jacket

£200

Score

Verdict

We did this test in the hope of finding a superior and cheaper alternative to the Gabba, but Castelli has raised the bar with the Castelli Gabba2. The Rapha Softshell is considerably less breathable than Castelli’s benchmark jacket, while the Santini and Capo didn’t fit quite as well. The Gore Oxygen and Sportful Fiandre were lacking in the tail.

Top tips for riding in wet weather

As for value, the B’Twin Aerofit was by far the cheapest jacket on test, yet performed very well — if you are on a budget, we would strongly recommend it.

>>> The best cycling overshoes

Water-resistance was good across the board, but all these jackets eventually succumbed when worn in prolonged rain. The next challenge for manufacturers is to match the fit and breathability of the Gabba while improving on its waterproofing.

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