Castelli Gabba Rain Jersey and Pioggia 3 Shoe Cover Review
I’m the first to admit it; I’m a cold weather wuss. Being chilled, to me, is death by a thousand cuts. Even when warmed-up, any descent drops your body temperature. Thankfully Castelli has that in-between zone of cold, but not freezing, temperatures covered with the Gabba Rain jersey and the Pioggia 3 shoe covers.
Constructed from Windstopper x-lite plus fabric, the Gabba Rain jersey shields your chest from the cutting wind. In addition to blocking the wind like a 350-pound linebacker the material is water repellent. In fact, the jersey does such a good job repelling rain the rear pockets have eyelets to allow water to drain.
The sleeves use a silicone gripper to keep them in place and there’s a rear flap to keep the spray from the rear wheel off your shorts. Nothing puts a damper on a ride than a wet chamois. Nothing.
The fit is very aero – marketing speak for “snug,” so now is not the time to enjoy second helpings over Christmas dinner. Wind tunnel testing has proven that a protruding gut is a drag in more ways than one.
The Gabba collar is taller than a standard jersey collar to keep the cold and wind off your neck.
I was surprised by how snug the fit actually was when you consider the rain repellent feature. Usually that type of material isn’t as form fitting, but this jersey holds its aerodynamic shape when you’re in the drops. There are no ripples or creeping hems anywhere on the jersey.
The reason for the nod toward aerodynamics is the design had considerable input from the Garmin-Sharp boys and it shows. Not only do the features, like the rain repellant and wind blocking material, work but it looks sharp as well. In addition to the reflective piping along the back pockets there’s a large “Castelli” across the chest and on the back plus the scorpion logo on the sleeve leaving no doubt who made the jersey.
Riding with the jersey was comfortable and did all the things it was supposed to do: keep me warm in the cool temperatures. While I didn’t have the opportunity to ride in the rain, a test of pouring water on the kit did the job of repelling a simulated Mother Nature. As mentioned, the fit is aerodynamic, so this is a race-worthy piece of clothing.
A close second behind a cold, wet chamois is cold, wet feet. The Castelli Pioggia 3 shoe covers have you covered. Just like the Gabba jersey, these are good for temperatures between the mid 40s to mid 50s (that’s 8 to 14 degrees Celsius for my metric readers). The material has enough stretch to form closely over the shoe. The zipper is smartly positioned on the side of the cover rather than the rear so it won’t rub on the back of your ankle – which I’ve had happen with other brands. The cuff is snug and flexible but also soft so it is comfortable to wear against naked skin for several hours.
The one piece I would change is the bottom of the cover. At the heel are three small holes. I wonder how long they will last before they tear? An improvement would be a reinforced cut-out at the heel of the cover so the cycling shoe is walked on instead of the material cover.
Other than that nit-pic, the Pioggia 3 is the perfect shoe cover for those blah weather days.
According to feedback received from Castelli after this review was published, the material at the bottom of the shoe cover was purposely designed to tear leaving a perfect cut-out for the shoe's heel. The three small holes that are positioned triangularly prevent the cut-out from creeping wider than is necessary. RoadCycling.com will follow up when it notices any tearing in the heel and see if it expands.
Castelli Gabba WS Rain Short Sleeve Jersey $149.99 (road bike shop)
Castelli Pioggia 3 Shoe Covers $59.95 (road bike shop)
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