Windproof cycling jersey review

What's the difference between a Castelli Gabba and a Gore Windstopper jersey? What makes Sportful Fiandre and dhb Rain Defence unique? We passed a selection of jerseys to staff riders for testing...

In this group test, our Team Wiggle riders give their feedback on five key jerseys from the 'Foul Weather' range. Jerseys that are perfect for slightly inclement spring weather.

You can find out more about our staff testers in the bio section at the end of the review feature.

 

The Castelli Gabba 2 Jersey

Castelli Gabba 2 Cycling Jersey

The Castelli Gabba 2 Jersey was arguably where the concept of the 'foul weather jersey' originates from. Castelli's 'Foul Weather Race Wear': it is designed to offer close-fitting race performance, but with protection from the elements. The Gabba took the cycle industry by storm when it was seen during the 2013 Milan-San Remo Classic. The distinctive (then all-black) jersey was used by even non-Castelli sponsored riders; to provide protection from the horrendous sub-zero conditions. Since that race, the Gabba has become a legend - a sell-out product that other clothing producers have looked to replicate and develop; this makes the Gabba (now the Gabba 2) a great benchmark for this group test.

Fit and feel (How does it fit you? Is the fabric heavy/light? Is it warm?)

  • Rob Jarman: "The Gabba is nearly my perfect autumn/spring jersey; I would reach for it for most when the temp is 10-15'C (with arm warmers), with any inkling of colder winds or a chance of rain. It's also perfect for pre-post work rides, when the temperature can differ 10C over the space of a few hours. In keeping with the Castelli RossoCorsa line, this jersey was built to perform in the pro peloton, and fits as a race jersey. Tight, fitted and aero with no hint of flapping."

Breathability (Did you work up a sweat? Did it wick away?)

  • Rob Jarman: "In spring/autumn conditions, the windproof properties of this jersey excel. The stormflap, high-cut collar and long tail rear hem help to keep out the wind and rear wheel spray; yet the zipped chest vents, and Windstopper X-Lite fabric allow your torso to breathe. The fabric combination of the Windstopper and Nano Light fabrics, mean that you're well shielded from cloudbursts, but this is far more breathable than a water-resistant shell jacket. The flap at the rear rides up occasionally - this could be my fit, but I found myself pulling the jersey down occasionally."

Durability (How is it lasting with continued wear testing and washing?)

  • Rob Jarman: "Overall I cannot fault this jersey, it really has been a revelation. It has kept its shape and colour through multiple washes, I’m getting ready to re-proof it after 6 months but to this point I do not feel that the performance has suffered."

What do you wear it with?

View the Castelli Gabba 2 Jersey at Wiggle

    Castelli Gabba 2 Cycling Jersey

    Castelli Gabba 2 Cycling Jersey

     

     

      Gore Bike Wear Oxygen Windstopper Short Sleeve Jersey

      Gore Bike Wear Oxygen Windstopper Jersey

      The Gore Bike Wear Oxygen Windstopper Softshell Short Sleeve Jersey is possibly the most innovative and versatile jersey ever produced by fabric specialists Gore Bike Wear. Utilising WINDSTOPPER material to protect your core from the cold, it is great worn either with just a base layer, or as a third-layer jersey.

      Fit and feel (How does it fit you? Is the fabric heavy/light? Is it warm?)

      • Ed Tibbitts: "Deceptively warm, with great Windstopper properties. This has a soft feel thanks to the brushed fabric lining, while the carefully chosen windproof panels protect your core. Really like the hip pockets for stashing used energy bar wrappers."
      • Tim Wiggins: "It's more of a relaxed cut than other jerseys within this line-up; which means it works well as a third layer - over a base layer and lighter weight summer jersey. It doesn't feel heavyweight though, and although the fabric is protective, it doesn't weigh you down"
      • Shane Banks: "This is a slim fitting jersey, however it still offers space for me to layer up underneath. The jersey is relatively light weight, and I have tended to use it on cooler, but not cold days; I would say autumn and spring are its natural seasons, as there's no insulation or fleece lining."

      Breathability (Did you work up a sweat? Did it wick away?)

      • Ed Tibbitts: "The placement of panels is key here. Frontal panels are windproof, to protect you from the elements; then the rear sections and under the arms are thinner and more breathable, to allow sweat to wick away. Well designed and functional."
      • Tim Wiggins "Considering the protection is provides, this is highly breathable. The Windstopper fabric is placed just in the areas it's needed, to give your core and shoulders protection from the wind chill. The rest of the fabric is a more breathable, lighter weight material"
      • Shane Banks: "In terms of breathability, I've found it to be excellent. A few early season mountain bike races certainly tested this aspect, and with a mesh base layer it easily coped with my sweat build up. With heavier base layers pulling moisture from the skin the Windstopper jersey still remained comfy and dry so I didn't suffer any chills."

      Durability (How is it lasting with continued wear testing and washing?)

      • Ed Tibbitts: "A well-made jersey: expect this to continue to perform longer than you expect."
      • Tim Wiggins: "There was an on-going joke in my old cycling club, that a guy had a 15 year old Gore Bike Wear jacket, and it still worked well. I reckon the same is true for most Gore apparel; this is built to last"
      • Shane Banks: "From previous experience of Gore Bike Wear, they make products built to last. It's safe to say this jersey doesn't let the side down. A whole season of mountain bike use; from early spring races and MTB sportives, into summer evening rides and then into autumn MTB events, and it is still as new."

      What do you wear it with?

      View the Gore Bike Wear Oxygen Windstopper Softshell Short Sleeve Jersey at Wiggle

      Gore Bike Wear Oxygen Windstopper Jersey

      Gore Bike Wear Oxygen Windstopper Jersey

       

       

      The dhb Aeron Rain Defence Jersey

      dhb Rain Defence Cycling Jersey

      Made to perform like a jacket, but with the fit and feel of a jersey. The dhb Aeron Rain Defence Jersey (Short Sleeve and Long Sleeve available) are a race-ready piece of all-weather apparel. Giving you the protection you need, to perform at your best.

      Fit and feel (How does it fit you? Is the fabric heavy/light? Is it warm?)

      • Ed Tibbitts: "A close fittting aero cut; tight to the skin, with no flappy areas. It has the feel of a heavily protected jacket, suitable for the worst conditions. I choose to add a thin base layer underneath to help the skin breath, and add a little more warmth depending on the temperatures."
      • Harry Staley: "With a stretchy, light fabric, and slim aero cut; this jersey is right at home on slimmer riders. With long arms and a short body, it's a 'racey' design - so I recommend going a size up if aero isn't your everything."

      Breathability (Did you work up a sweat? Did it wick away?)

      • Ed Tibbitts: "Easy to work up a sweat. The high level of protection means wicking isn't this jersey's best quality, but it still wicks better than any waterproof jacket."
      • Harry Staley: "Breathability is good, but at higher intensities, dampness is noticeable. This is testament to the warmth rather than lack of moisture management. With a base layer underneath, the jersey is comfortable down to around 5 degrees."

      Durability (How is it lasting with continued wear testing and washing?)

      • Ed Tibbitts: "A well-made jacket from quality materials. Stands up well to abrasion. Good protection from the elements."
      • Harry Staley: "The Rain Defence jersey offers impressive protection. Completely windproof, with an impressive amount of water resistance. Waterproofing deteriorated slightly after the first few washes; but once treated, it copes again comfortably with an over an hour of light rain."

      What do you wear it with?

      View the dhb Aeron Rain Defence Short Sleeve Jersey at Wiggle

      dhb Rain Defence Cycling Jersey

      dhb Rain Defence Cycling Jersey

       

       

      The Sportful Fiandre WS LRR Jersey

      Sportful Fiandre WS LRR Jacket

      The Sportful Fiandre WS LRR Short Sleeve Jacket was created by the Italian brand after extensive feedback from their professional sponsored race teams. The riders were calling out for a short sleeve top that would provide almost full waterproof protection, but breathe like a jersey... sounds like a challenge! Sportful created the Fiandre WS LRR Jacket to fit the bill, and it's a great execution: with a high-cut collar, long drop-tail rear hem, and longer arms than a normal short sleeve top; it provides taped-seam weather protection, whilst allowing your body to breathe and ventilate.

      Fit and feel (How does it fit you? Is the fabric heavy/light? Is it warm?)

      • Tim Wiggins: "The Sportful Fiandre WS LRR Jacket is just that - a jacket. This is designed to be worn as a third layer really, and provide considerable protection. However, it fully warrants a place in this group test, because it fits and feels like a jersey. The high cut collar keeps out the rain and wind; but it can be unzipped for heat release. The long sleeves (down to the elbow) provide significantly more warmth than most; but allow your lower arms to work like cooling ducts. The long rear hem then provides protection from rear wheel spray; while it is cut to keep the feel of a race jersey. Impressive."

      Breathability (Did you work up a sweat? Did it wick away?)

      • Tim Wiggins: "The 'Light Rain Resistant' fabric from Gore Windstopper (which gives this jacket its name), is incredibly breathable for its protection level. Pair this with water resistant arm warmers, and you've effectively got a waterproof top; but one that breathes and ventilates better than any jacket I've worn"

      Durability (How is it lasting with continued wear testing and washing?)

      • Tim Wiggins: "I was worried about how well this would wash - with its taped seams and water resistant fabric. I should have - it washes extremely well. To get the most of it, put it through a wash-in waterproof machine wash to reinvigorate the WS LRR fabric."

      What do you wear it with?

      View the Sportful Fiandre WS LRR Short Sleeve Jacket at Wiggle

      Sportful Fiandre WS LRR Jacket

      Sportful Fiandre WS LRR Jacket

       

       

      The Castelli Perfetto Light Jersey

      Castelli Perfetto Light Cycling Jersey

      The Castelli Perfetto Light jersey takes the Castelli Gabba technology; a water and wind-resistant fabric, and pares back the insulation level. The result, is a jersey that is close-fitting enough to race in; breathable enough for the summer; but, protective enough for damp early season rides. For the British springtime, the Castelli Perfetto Light Short Sleeve Jersey is perfect.

      Fit and feel (How does it fit you? Is the fabric heavy/light? Is it warm?)

      • Tim Wiggins: "I wrote a detailed review of the Castelli Perfetto Jersey earlier this year; it is one of best fitting and best feeling jerseys that I've worn to date. The GORE Windstopper 150 fabric used on the front, sleeves and shoulders provides notable protection from wind; while the Nano Light fabric used on the rear helps protect your back and core from chilling rear wheel spray, and downpours. Light, yet impressive protection - in a race-cut jersey"
      • Martin McKinlay: "The fit is, as you would expect from a race-inspired jersey, quite tight; which meant I went for a Large. This size-up worked perfectly though; it fits perfectly in the all right places; especially on and under the arms - minimising any chance of drag on flapping material. The grippers on the inside of the sleeves help to keep arm warmers firmly in place, and allow you to multi-layer. Another great feature carried over from the Gabba is the lower back section, which covers you right down to the saddle; preventing water seeping into your bibs after it beads down your back. The flaps over the top of the pockets keep your valuables dry, but note that there is not a zipped rear pocket."
         

      Breathability (Did you work up a sweat? Did it wick away?)

      • Tim Wiggins: "Both the Gore Windstopper 150 fabric and the Nano Light fabric are designed to be more breathable than most windproof and water resistant fabrics; and they deliver. This keeps you protected in the early morning, but when the temperatures rise, it also allows your torso to breathe"
      • Martin McKinlay: "The highlight of the jersey is of course the way it prevents the elements from reaching you. During the New Forest Spring Sportive, the wind was icy cold and the rain was in that annoying drizzle state; neither of which bothered me whilst in this jersey. Despite appearing as a firm barrier, not once have I felt over-heated either; due to the Nano Light Pro fabric, which is highly water repellent and stretchy, but has no membrane to inhibit air exchange."
         

      Durability (How is it lasting with continued wear testing and washing?)

      • Tim Wiggins: "This jersey had a lot of use and abuse throughout the last season. From MTB riding to 'Spring Classic' rides; however, it seems to be dealing well with the wear testing. I normally just wash it on a standard 30'C machine cycle, and have once 're-invigorated' the fabric with a Nikwax Tech Wash, to bring the waterproofing back to life a bit"
      • Martin McKinlay: "The jersey has stood up impeccably to everything thrown at it. It's happy to be chucked in the washing machine at 30 degrees, and has to date shown no signs of wear or ill fitting."

      What do you wear it with?

      View the Castelli Perfetto Light Short Sleeve Jersey at Wiggle

      Castelli Perfetto Light Cycling Jersey

      Castelli Perfetto Light Cycling Jersey

       

       

      Meet the staff testers

      Ed Tibbitts

      Ed Tibbitts - Team Wiggle

      • How I ride: I mostly stick to road riding, and plan at least 1 big trip each year to ride somewhere new; sometimes abroad. I've ridden everything from technical MTB routes in the snow, to hot summer criterium races and 200km+ days in the mountains. I enjoy testing myself and always improving on the bike.
      • Height and weight: 178cm. 69kg.
      • Size: Medium

       

      Harry Staley

      Harry Staley

      • How I ride: Short and sharp is the best way to describe my riding - I'm more at home in a circuit race, than a sportive. I use the same gear for commuting as I do for racing, so I value, durability, speed and race-ready performance are my demands.  
      • Height and weight: 180cm. 60kg.
      • Size: Extra Small

       

      Rob Jarman

      • How I ride: "I'm a perennial sufferer of cold conditions; I wear leg warmers when the temp reaches 16C, and I run a triple glove system in the deepest of winter conditions. I ride for fun, chasing down lamp posts and sprinting for signs. Since having children I've transitioned from endurance to grabbing a couple of hours as and when I can, and working that time as hard as possible, in a totally unstructured way.
      • Height and weight: 188cm. 75kg.
      • Size: Medium

         

      Martin McKinlay

      Martin McKinlay

      • How I ride: "I'm a seasoned triathlete, concentrating on Olympic and Sprint distance events. Throughout the season I hone my riding by entering Crit races, TT's and duathlons."
      • Height and weight: 181cm. 78kg.
      • Size: Large

       

      Shane Banks

      Shane Banks - Team Wiggle

      • How I ride: I ride and race on the road and MTB (cross country), and dabble in cyclocross riding. You could say I'm a jack of all and master of none! If I had to choose one bike I'd take my mountain bike; as that's where my passion for bikes first sparked.
      • Height and weight: 180cm. 60kg.
      • Size: Medium

       

      Tim Wiggins

      Tim Wiggins - Team Wiggle

      • How I ride: Endurance riding - whether that's 500 kilometres in a day on a road bike, or 12 hour days on a cyclocross bike; it's all about the search for distance and metres climbed. Live to Ride. Ride to Live.
      • Height and weight: 181cm. 69kg.
      • Size: Medium