In 2013, Castelli introduced us to the first iteration of what would become a springtime staple in the peloton. Since then, it has become a hot commodity for when the European weather gets too extreme for even the hard men of the north, and there is tale of teams sponsored by other clothing manufacturers who clandestinely wear rebranded versions of it. We're referring of course to the inimitable Gabba, and we're pleased to now offer Castelli's new, updated model, the Gabba 2 Jersey, with Long Sleeves. It's little wonder other pros wanted to get their hands on what Roger Hammond called ""the best bit of kit I've ever worn."" As self-sponsored cyclists, though, we don't have to worry about upsetting sponsors or team branding, so we get to enjoy Hammond's recommendation right off the rack.
The Gabba 2 embodies Castelli's ethos of minimalism in construction by using as few fabrics and seams as possible. With the exception of the stretchy Nano Flex inserts in the underarms, the entire jersey is made from Windstopper X-Lite fabric. Windstopper X-Lite has 1.4 billion impossibly small pores per square-inch that guard your microclimate jealously. They don't let wind in, but they do let moisture and water vapor out. This isn't just based on vague marketing copy, though. The science behind Windstopper X-Lite is measurable in a rating called CFM, which stands for cubic feet per minute, used to measure the volume of air that passes through a fabric in, you guessed it, one minute. In order to be considered truly ""windproof,"" a fabric must register a CFM of equal to or less than 1.0. The Windstopper X-Lite fabric actually beats this rating, so you're guaranteed a top that is literally classifiable as windproof. It's also treated with a water-repellant finish, so it keeps the warmth in and the rain out while wicking moisture from your skin.
Gore-Tex's Windstopper is amazing stuff, but you can find that in almost any manufacturer's top-end line these days, which means that the new Gabba 2 had to stand out in some other way. With Castelli's Italian heritage, that could only mean two things: sexy aesthetics and uncompromising fit. The fit truly defines the jersey, but it's worth noting how Castelli's artful minimalism informs the Gabba 2's looks, too. The jersey is primarily one color, but the barest hints of Castelli's signature red and a tastefully-sized scorpion logo on the upper sleeves and center pocket provide highlights for all three variations. Even the cyclists here at Competitive who typically eschew form for function admit that attractive details like the contrasting collar lining actually help motivate them to get out for those cold-weather, base-building rides.
Castelli paid equal attention to the jersey's cut. The sleeves are forward-oriented and the chest features an abbreviated fit compared to similar offerings from other manufacturers. This makes the Gabba 2 feel a little tight across the chest while you're standing, but your body fills it out perfectly while stretched out on the bike. It sits close to your chest and stomach instead of hanging down, eliminating the pregnant hippo look that so many of us despise in kit designed for cold or inclement weather, and the more forgiving stretch of Windstopper X-Lite means that it moves with you rather than restricting you. The Gabba 2 is to traditional winter garb as the burgeoning trend of short bodied, double vent suit jackets with high, round armholes are to the boxy tents that passed for U.S. men's wear in the 1990s.
The Nano Flex underarm inserts offer increased stretch and ventilation, which can be further supplemented with red-zippered vents on the chest. The collar is articulated to eliminate looseness while you're in the saddle, the front zipper overlaps for an additional seal, and the hem has a silicone gripper element that ensures the jersey won't ride up. The lower back includes three pockets with mesh drains and two horizontal strips of reflective trim to help keep you visible to motorists on the overcast, drizzly days when you'll really appreciate the Gabba 2's weather-resistant qualities.
Castelli recommends the Gabba 2 for use in temperatures ranging from 43 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, but we find that the high 50s start getting a bit warm for this jersey, especially when hammering through intervals or during short, hard efforts like a cyclocross race. Its peloton-worthy cut, insulating characteristics, and low claimed weight do recommend it for racing, just in the mid-50s and below. Recreational cyclists or riders building low-intensity base miles will find that this jersey works comfortably into the low-60s.
The Castelli Gabba 2 Jersey - Long Sleeve - Men's is available in six sizes ranging from Small to XXX-Large in the colors Black, Drive Blue, and Yellow Fluo.