The Castelli Gabba Jersey has been my most worn piece of kit this this past fall and winter. It is a very functional jersey that can work as a cool weather wind-blocker, a wet weather outer layer, or, when paired with a warm base-layer, a cold-weather jacket.
I originally bought the short-sleeve Gabba Jersey last winter, along with the Castelli Nano Flex arm warmers to pair with the jersey for wet rides or cold days. This was a great choice for days when the temperature started low and warmed. I used this strategy at a gravel race that started in the 20s and finished in the low 60s. With a short sleeve base-layer, I was a little cold at the beginning, but as the temperature rose, I could unzip the jersey and remove the arm warmers for thermal regulation.
Besides the wide usable temperature range, there are other outstanding features of this jersey that appeal to me. The fit is trim and snug without being overly restrictive. It has a nice cut while in the riding position, meaning it’s not going to be a drag when you get up to speed. The three rear pockets are deep, but they hold items tight and keep them from being an annoyance. The pockets have vent holes for water drainage on really wet rides. In addition, the tail has an extension to protect from wheel spray. The zipper is smooth and easy to use, even with gloved fingers. The high collar shields the neck when the zipper is pulled all the way up. They are offered in high-viz colors, but even the black features a good amount of reflective piping for low-light conditions.
The Gabba 2 collection also offers a long-sleeve jersey and a convertible jacket. The convertible jacket features zip-off arms, but is rated slightly higher on the warmth and wind-resistance scale, making it a little more geared towards colder rides.
Castelli’s temperature ratings seem to be on the high side for these jerseys/jackets based on my usage. As mentioned, I have worn the short-sleeve Gabba in temperatures that dipped into the 20s. Castelli rates the short-sleeve Gabba 2 for temperatures between 50 and 65 degrees. I feel it is more appropriate for 35-55 degrees.
As with most Castelli jerseys and jackets, this is trim, race-fit, so be sure to size up. I am 5’11” and around 175 this time of year, and the XL fits snug.
Also, as is typical with Castelli, the Gabba is well-constructed. There is no fraying of the stitching after many miles of usage, even in less than ideal conditions. I have put this thing through the wringer, especially on muddy dirt road rides. The black doesn’t show dirt, and the longer tail’s extra coverage has me reaching for it on those bad weather/bad road days. Even used often in such an environment, the jersey looks brand new.
The Gabba was developed in close collaboration with former Pro Gabriel Rasch. Castelli now claims that half of the peloton uses them. Watching wet races such as last year’s MSR shows this is not an exaggeration. Even non-Castelli-sponsored teams can be seen blacking out the logos to use this jersey on nasty days. That’s quite an endorsement.
Though it may not seem it now, the end of winter is approaching. Because of that, there are currently some good deals to be found on these jerseys. However, that doesn’t mean you will get little use out of it this year. It will be a nice companion for cool spring and fall rides. And it’s great to have when spring showers pop up. I think you will find it one of the most widely functional pieces in your kit as well.
– Alex (Steak Sauce)