Editor's Note: This article was written by Sean Bird of Art's Cyclery. The original posts can be found here and here.
Lowdown: Castelli Mondiale Bibshorts ($300)
The Castelli Mondiale bibshort is an undeniable upgrade to your cycling wardrobe. Even though it carries a substantial price tag, the Mondiale's value shines through. Instead of purchasing two average bibshorts, go with the Mondiales and don't worry about flimsy, itchy, stuffy bibs.
Progetto X2 Air chamois, seamless bottom design is comfortable, aerodynamic, and stylish.
Lackluster silicone leg gripper. However, depending on the rider, bib short length will vary and influence the leg gripper's might. Expensive.
Review: Castelli Mondiale Bibshorts
Castelli, an icon of Italian design, creates cycling apparel for the world's elite riders. UCI World Tour team Cannondale Drapac relies on the Italian manufacturer for kit that's stylish and enhances performance. Castelli's Mondiale bibshorts are positioned as the pinnacle of luxury. These are for cycling performance junkies eager to train hard while sporting sleek and stylish kit.
In the Mondiale, simplicity allows for functionality, which is what every road cyclist wants and needs. Castelli's Mondiale bib shorts remind me of a buzz cut, a simple, airy, low-maintenance hairstyle. The very first thing you notice about the Mondiale is the seamless bottom. Slipping into these bibs for the first time is comforting without any hint of chafing.
These are for cycling performance junkies eager to train hard while sporting sleek and stylish kit.
The Mondiale bibs also breathe well. Interestingly, Castelli only rates the Mondiale to 77 degrees. However, as temperatures soared-especially with summer approaching on the Central Coast-we managed to remain surprisingly refreshed. Miniature holes on the bib backing did wonders for moisture transfer.
Lastly, the Mondiale Bibs are low maintenance. In fact, they provide maintenance. Castelli has included a lowered front panel, which allows for simplified restroom access.
The three factors that can make or break a pair of shorts are the chamois, the seams, and the leg gripper. Castelli's Progetto X2 Air chamois makes you feel like you are sitting on a memory foam pillow. This chamois kept sit bones and perineum happy even after many intense hours in the saddle. Also, after numerous rides and washes, it has not deteriorated. As previously mentioned, Castelli's Mondiale has a seamless bottom, which made for exceptional chafe-free comfort.
We're ambivalent about the silicone leg gripper on these bibs. At the end of lengthy adventures, there was not a substantial indentation from a clamping cuff. The trade off is that the hems move up just a bit, especially since the Mondiales run a bit shorter. No discomfort resulted and for those not eager to cultivate razor-sharp tan lines, this is not an issue. Individual rider thigh length will also influence the holding power of the leg gripper.
Castelli's Mondiale bib shorts fit snugly, but are not as encasing as an aerodynamic race cut bib. Typically, our testers wear a size large bibshort. However, for Castelli bibs, extra-large was the right size.
Castelli's Mondiale bib short is a prime addition to the wardrobe of elite, performance roadies. When searching for functional, comfortable, no-nonsense bibs, stop, drop, and commit to the Mondiales.
For more information please visit www.artscyclery.com.
Continue to page 2 for the Castelli Perfetto light short sleeve jersey review »
UCI World Tour team Cannondale Drapac relies on the Italian manufacturer for kit that's stylish and enhances performance.
Lowdown: Castelli Perfetto Light Jersey ($160)
The Castelli Perfetto Light short sleeve jersey serves an extremely specific purpose. As a streamlined version of the overwhelmingly popular Castelli Gabba, the Perfetto is sure to experience heaps of rave reviews and plenty of success-and it deserves every bit of it.
The Perfetto balances a range of characteristics: race ready, versatile, waterproof, and windproof, yet still breathable. Great for mild to warm climates and humid weather.
Pocket accessibility, especially for a foul-weather garment, is not great, especially paired with cold-weather gloves. Expensive.
Review: Castelli Perfetto Light Jersey
The renowned Gabba jacket, choice of the pro peloton for inclement weather, has finally been succeeded by the Perfetto, a lighter, sleeker version. Italian for "perfect," the Perfetto was designed as a jacket for early fall and late spring. Being surrounded by all sorts of lofty claims, and developed in conjunction with Pro Tour riders, the Perfetto is an impressive piece.
Like a Kentucky waterfall, the Perfetto is business in the front, party in the back. The Perfetto's purpose, like the Gabba before it, is protection from both light water and wind. Castelli places Gore Windstopper fabric on the Perfetto's front panel and sleeves. However, in the back, breathable and moisture-wicking Nano Light fabric prevents overheating. Protect the front, where the business of hammering into the wind happens, and lighten the rear.
California's Central Coast proved to be a perfect testing ground for the Perfetto jacket. Cool, foggy mornings quickly turn warm once the fog layer disintegrates. Throughout the test, especially during late-spring riding, the Perfetto excelled. We wore the Perfetto as a jersey, with only a base layer underneath on the coolest days. For sessions that begin around 50 degrees and finish in the 70s, nothing compares. Instead of wearing a base layer, light jersey, and vest, then shedding layers, the Perfetto is a one-stop shop.
Additional functional elements include the raised collar, a necessity for early-morning chills, and an extended tail, which is great on wet rides. However, for most saunters, you can comfortably tuck the lengthy tail up, since it is not necessary in dry conditions.
The Perfetto's one downfall is its pocket accessibility. Fortunately, it does include pockets, which is atypical for a wind and waterproof jacket. However, the Nano Light fabric's material contours to the body and provides little pocket structure. When paired with cool-weather gloves, that means you need to put in a lot of effort to negotiate access.
As a light jacket, the Perfetto offers supreme comfort. While it's technically a jacket, the Perfetto's high-performance cut and construction make it move and behave like a jersey, offering a tailored fit.
When combining different fabrics into one garment, Castelli did their homework. The front of the jacket sports a Gore Windstopper fabric. Castelli claims it's 25% lighter than that of the Gabba. It allows freedom of movement without sacrificing comfort in chillier situations, rapid descents, or windy afternoon rides. The back of the jacket utilizes a Nano Light fabric, which doe a wonderful job of ventilating all of that extra heat out the back of the jacket.
Fit is uniquely Castelli. As a jacket, the Perfetto offers a trim, race-oriented design-it's certainly meant to be snug. If you plan to wear the Perfetto as a jersey (which we recommend) wear your true jersey size. Our tester wears a size medium jersey, which was perfect for the Perfetto. Its fit was tight, but still comfortable in an aggressive riding position. If you plan to wear the Perfetto as a jacket, with a jersey underneath, you'll probably want to bump it up one size. In wet climates, this is the way to go.
For early fall / late spring riding, Castelli's Perfetto Light short sleeve jersey is an awesome alternative to the Castelli Gabba. With Gore Windstopper fabric in the front and Nano Light fabric in the rear, the Perfetto offers wind protection, breathes well, and prevents overheating.
For more info please visit www.artscyclery.com.