What every cycle kit needs to contain
The Castelli Gabba 2 is a soft shell, Wind Stopper jacket upgrade from the Gabba 1 (of course) that really is a piece of kit you need to add to your cycling wardrobe.
The chart above shows the outside temperature on my test ride. Down to minus 2, in the UK typically as cold as it gets, and for most cyclists as cold as you want to be out riding in.
As their logo suggests, the Gabba is designed for foul weather. And every last detail has protection in mind. After a 2 hour ride in minus 2, the only reason I stayed out was my core was a nice temperature. My hands and feet felt like they were going to drop off (unfortunately I did not have my Belgium Booties on!)
Before we get into the detail of keeping us warm, there is the detail of comfort. This really is a nice fitting piece of kit and although a tighter fit than their previous Gabba, it is not restrictive at all. The neck has a really nice lining that takes away sweat. The cut and stitching has the consideration of comfort and protection from the wind.
Even the black jacket will offer something for motorists to see you. Even if it is just the logo on the arms.
On the chest, the vented openers are much easier to open one handed than on the Gabba 1. And is a quick way to allow in some much needed air conditioning without having to open the front zip and suffer from an aerodynamic disadvantage of a flapping jacket.
The main zip on the front now has a protective flap over it, eliminating wind through the zip and the danger of lowering your core body temperature.
The Gabba 2 is so smooth that the cold seems to bounce straight off it. Aero development means the wind will pass on by. So not only will it keep you warner, it will make you faster.
The technical properties of the Gabba use Wind Stopper from Gore. Designed for outdoor active lifestyle it offers maximum breathability. So the fabric actually allows for moisture vapour to easily escape. If you have ever ridden in a fully waterproof jacket you may have got as wet inside as the elements would have made you after you build up your mini furnace inside. The Gabba 2 really does protect you from this and keep you drier. When it is cold outside there is nothing worse than being hot and sweaty inside. Once your ride pace slows down you can suddenly drop in core temperature.
Castelli Rosso Corsa
The jacket has the Rosso Corsa stripe on the chest. And for those of you who do not know Rosso Corsa is the red international motor racing colour of cars entered by teams from Italy. Castelli use this badge for their products dedicated to speed and performance. Speed gained by aerodynamics and reduced weight, but also speed achieved through helping the human body to perform at its maximum potential. Castelli design Rosso Corsa products can help with blood flow, muscle support and temperature regulation, as well as to smooth the air flow around the body in real world situations. But theory means nothing so Castelli then test and refine, test some more, and refine some more, on the road with our test pilots & professional riders from Garmin Sharp Team and of course we test in the wind tunnel too.
Bearing The Badge
To bear the Rossa Corsa logo, a product must represent a categorical breakthrough in technology; so when you wear a Rosso Corsa product, you know you’re getting an unfair advantage. Thousands of hours have been spent figuring out ways to save thousandths of a second at every stage of the race. This dedication isn't new this has always been part of the Castelli legend.
Cold Vs Wet
In the cold the Gabba 2 performed. -2 degrees with 2 base layers and no signs of bing cold. How does the soft shell perform in the wet?
Test in the rain
Unfortunately when you go out for a ride and it is wet, you can not decide on how much rain is likely to come down on you. My first wet ride test in the Gabba 2 I think was in one of our newly named storms. Storm Dennis or something like that! 5 minutes in the rain was coming sideways. And it didn't stop. To be fair, the jacket kept me dry underneath for about 15 minutes. But the rain unfortunately was full on, and the Gabba 2 is not a rain coat. When I got back the base layers war wet on the shoulders and arms but the body was mostly dry. And it is all about looking after the core. I'll try and find a more appropriate amount of rain and re-test.
Castelli Gabba 2 Vs Gabba Windstopper (Original)
I have been riding using the Gabba 1 since 2013. And it has been used at least two times a week. The jacket has been the core and default choice for most weather conditions. Used all year round the jacket really has lasted and earned the price point paid. The Castelli Gabba 2 has improved in many ways. From the covered zip on the chest to air flow in the back of the jacket, easier zips to open, improved waistband and a better cut. The fabric has developed and offers more warmth and wind protection.
Like most activewear you need to wash it cool. But I have found with the Gabba 1 now and then it needs to go into a hit cycle to remove the odour of hard cycling and performing. And it has survived this treatment and continued use. I am looking forward to overusing the Gabba 2 just as much. If not more!
Castelli Gabba 1
The Castelli Gabba 2 comes in a long sleeve or short sleeve version.