20 April 2011

What do the experts have to say?

Passionate about cycling, all of BicyclingHub.com's staff rides in and vigorously tests our products so that we may continue to offer professional advice and excellent customer service. But don't just take our word for it: we also publish product reviews from experts in the field and everyday cyclists who can testify to hours of saddle-time logged in pursuit of finding the best gear that keeps you riding in comfort AND style.

Scott Mars from Crossbikereview.com has generously shared his thoughts and opinions on several go-to pieces of cycling rain gear, below.

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Castelli Goccia Jacket
Product review by Scott Mares, Crossbikereview.com. Published August 30th, 2010.
"The Castelli Goccia rain jacket is the best pure cycling rain jacket that we have tested so far...Both commuters and racers will love this jacket and it's one that you will have for years to come."

We Liked

Once you pick up the Goccia rain jacket you can tell immediately what it is made for. The fabric will inspire confidence even when the dark clouds appear in the sky and threaten to open up. For those mystery-weather days when you never know what Mother Nature is going to throw your way, you still have that same feeling of protection just by putting this Castelli jacket in your jersey pocket. With the Goccia, the wearer will feel like they have a suit of armor protecting them from the elements. The vents on the Goccia jacket are very big with zipper pulls that are easy to grasp offering a wide variety of venting options ranging from just above the elbow to mid-chest. The vents and zipper pulls are cleverly designed and functional to boot.

When compared to most rain jackets, the Goccia zipper pull tabs for the vents are very large, which is a really cool thing. This translates to easily reaching and grabbing the zipper pulls during a ride while wearing gloves. Gone are the days of blindly searching for the zipper pull while trying to hold your line! Dislike having to stop your ride to open vents? Well that is no longer an issue with this jacket! Don't have fenders? No worries as the Castelli Goccia rain jacket has a long extended tail flap that will keep your back side nice and dry form the biggest wheel spray you can imagine. Castelli's designers added velcro cuffs on the sleeves to quickly pull and tighten to keep the water out. The cuffs also have elastic in them which keeps a nice seal on your wrists. This velcro/elastic combination works very well against combating the elements.

...With the additional reflective stripes on the Goccia you can indeed get black and still be visible in traffic. We see a lot of rain jackets and its all comes down to two things: staying dry and being seen. In addition to the fluorescent fabric, the Goccia jacket has more reflective marking on it than any other rain jacket we have tested or seen on the market. The arms have large reflective racing stripes that start at the shoulders and wrap around the length of the arms to the wrist. I would estimate that 20% of the surface on the back is reflective. Castelli even included a loop at the back vent flap for a blinky light for extra visibility. The fit of the Goccia jacket is spot on. This was a real bonus as most jackets are cut while the model is standing up and walking around. This jacket is actually cut a little different and fits much better than any pure cycling rain jacket so far. The Goccia is priced at $100, which is an excellent deal for a double laminate jacket with a ton of features that was locally designed in Portland, OR! Cant beat it!

We Didn't Like

Initially Castelli gave us a black Goccia jacket for evaluation. We thought it was cool looking until we got out on the road and realized that we were the same color as the pavement. Even with the additional reflective striping, we would also like to see the Goccia offered in fluorescent pink or a light blue which are both easier to see in overcast and rainy conditions.

The Final Say

The Castelli Goccia rain jacket is the best pure cycling rain jacket that we have tested so far. This jacket has a ton of things that were done right, including lots of reflective material, big zipper pull tabs, great fit and breathability. You should definitely get one and keep it in your race bag. Both commuters and racers will love this jacket and it's one that you will have for years to come.

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Showers Pass Soft Shell Trainer

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Castelli Sottile Jacket
Scott Mares from Crossbikereview.com says

"The Castelli Sottile is the perfect 'go to' jacket when the skies are overcast...Get your hands on a Sottile, and you may be arm wrestling to see who gets to wear it that day.."

We Liked

The stretchy T-Core LX fabric is very unique. I have only seen a handful of companies that are offering rain jackets with this type of material. In the Portland rain, this fabric performed very well offering plenty of breathability and wind protection. While there are no zipper vents on the Sottile, the jacket is vented with mesh fabric in the armpits. Most cyclists are used to having big zipper vents to undo during a ride and this jacket does not have that. However, when caught in a downpour, this jacket will definitely protect you. The high tech Sottile offers a very lightweight and packable rain jacket for a mere $80. While there is no reflective piping on the Sottile, tthere are 2 reflective tabs on the back of the jacket located near the seams which gives added visibility. According to an online Italian-English dictionary, "Sottile" means "thin, delicate, slender, slim, small, sharp, fine, subtle, and slight." Weighing in at 3.3 oz, those words sum up Castelli's smart new cycling rain jacket in more than one way.

We Didn't Like

The fabric is so lightweight that it can easily get caught in the zipper. The tiny side pocket zipper tab is also hard to find and grab with gloves on.

The Final Say

The Castelli Sottile is the perfect "go to" jacket when the skies are overcast. When space and weight are a premium on race day, this jacket packs small enough that it doesn't occupy an entire jersey pocket. Castelli's designers did an excellent job creating a membrane material that truly breathes, even in post-rain humid conditions. Get your hands on a Sottile, and you may be arm wrestling to see who gets to wear it that day.


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