The jacket has an excellent balance of waterproofing and breathability. There's no clammy boil-in-a-bag sensation when pushing hard, yet it still kept me toasty and warm through some pretty unpleasant conditions. Of course, there are limits: you'll want a proper hardshell for extended endurance rides through the heavier and sustained rainfall, and it'll need a base layer for when the temperatures get properly frigid – but all that still leaves a huge window where this jacket is just the ticket.
Lack of sensible colours to choose from
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The story goes that the Castelli Perfetto long sleeve gained its name because so many people kept calling the Gabba, its predecessor, 'perfect'. Now, this might sound like the Castelli marketing machine in action, but through all my rides testing this jacket, I have been very impressed.
The Castelli Perfetto ROS long sleeve jacket comes in a range of different colourways with a variety of far-out patterned designs. The one on test here is the simple navy and red option, but you can look through the others on Castelli's website.
Castelli Perfetto ROS long sleeve jacket: construction
As soon as you hold the jacket in your hands, it's immediately clear that this is a very high-end garment. The stitching was impeccable and the materials used feel like a blend between a standard long-sleeve jersey and that of a rain jacket.
Initially, I was slightly concerned that it may have a slightly synthetic feeling on bare skin, but after putting in some rides with just a short sleeve base layer underneath, it soon became apparent that the inside of the jacket is soft, warm and comfortable on the arms.
The soft liner material of the collar makes for a comfortable fit when fully closed and helps prevent draughts from shooting down your front – without the need of committing to a buff.
To further boost the breathability beyond just what the fabric itself is able to shift, there are additional vents down the sides of the jacket. These are lined with the same fleecy material as is in the collar, enabling moisture o escape whilst also isolating you from the direct wind chill.
Castelli Perfetto ROS long sleeve jacket: the ride
The Castelli Perfetto ROS long sleeve jacket is self-proclaimed “foul weather racing equipment” with that message emblazoned on the rear corner of the jacket. Putting a message like that on a piece of kit is a bold move, and something you would only do if you know it would live up to that message.
Despite the rolling West Oxfordshire fog and persistent drizzly rain, my upper body remained completely dry and warm as the water stayed firmly on the outside of the of the jacket, before rolling off or evaporating.
Castelli says that the jacket only has a water resistant treatment added to it but I found it to be on a par with some rain jackets I've previously owned. In heavier, sustained rain, the Castelli Perfetto ROS ends up eventually getting overwhelmed.
But with the wind resistance and breathability of the fabric, you at least stay warm and free from clamminess – which is often preferable to the alterative offered by traditional hard-shell jackets. That said, hardshell jackets do still have a place for low-intensity riding in the driving rain (and also their capacity for being made packable) – but for a large chunk of wet weather riding, the Perfetto is, well, perfect.
Once the rain began to stop and the temperature rose slightly, I was able to simply unzip the side panels on the jacket to cool down a little as I upped my efforts. The fleecy lining did indeed do a good job at taking the edge off cold breezes, too.
Whilst the Le Col Aqua Zero long sleeve jacket, for example, is another excellent product, it doesn't possess the same side ventilation panels like the Castelli Perfetto ROS equivalent. Similarly the Rapha Brevet long sleeve jersey also lacks this feature.
The storm flap in front of the zip, as well as the high collar, helps to ensure that the wind is kept well and truly at bay.
In comparison to other products that I’ve previously owned, the elasticated waist featured in the Castelli Perfetto ROS means that the jacket doesn’t ride up and stays firmly in place – the fit is so good it almost feels as though it's been tailor made.
If, like me, you prefer to have the cuffs of your gloves over your jacket sleeves, then you’ll also find that the cut and finish of the sleeves is also excellent. For those who prefer their sleeves over their gloves, I'm sorry but this one for you.
One important aspect to note with Castelli products is that their jerseys and jackets are always a closely-cut, race-style fit. With that in mind, I have previously found with their products that I need to size up from my usual size medium to a large.
I did just that with the Castelli Perfetto ROS long sleeve jacket and found that the fit was absolutely spot on.
Castelli Perfetto ROS long sleeve jacket: value and conclusion
All in all, the Castelli Perfetto ROS long sleeve jacket is an outstanding product that I would struggle to pick faults with.
The use of Gore-Tex means that it’s fantastically waterproof, dry and snug – which when put together means that it sets itself apart from its competitors on the market.
Le Col says that their AquaZero long sleeve jersey ($200.00 / £170.00) will perform a similar duty, although I would argue that you do stay drier in the Castelli Perfetto ROS.
Due to the close, aero fit, the product is best suited to riders looking to push the pace during the winter months, if you’re looking to hit the ground running in the new year.
If you’re tackling a longer endurance ride where a more comfortable fit is important then you may want to consider the Rapha Brevet long sleeve jersey instead of this one – although it would need pairing with a hardshell jacket in inclement conditions.
The price is high, with $249.99 / £220.00 being a lot to spend on a long sleeve jersey or jacket. However if you plan on getting out on your bike whatever the weather this winter, it becomes a small price to pay for staying warm, dry and visible during your winter training.
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