Why can you never find women’s cycling kit reviews? They seem pretty non-existent or am I just being really stupid?
Either way, I decided that it was about time that I talked about how great the Gabba is. This was basically my sole jersey/jacket for the whole of winter. My other jerseys went woefully unloved.
When Castelli brought the Gabba out in 2010 it turned the cycling kit industry on its head. Never mind hot and sticky waterproofs – you could now get a breathable, windproof, waterproof jacket wrapped up in one nice soft-shell package. Soon, even pros not sponsored by Castelli were coming forward and asking for one (it was originally designed to be a pro jacket). Soon they were seen it black unmarked jackets flying around, bad weather be damned!
It’s an expensive jacket but test after test has proved that other brands struggle to make the same mark. You know you’re getting a good piece of kit when you can’t find a negative review. If you get the timings right you can pick up older models for around £100. Investing last year (prime time) mine cost me in the region of £140 but when I wore it every single time I went out. I think that’s pretty good value for money, especially when it saw me through some pretty horrific weather. It saw an awful lot of use and I stand by it being worth every penny. It has a racer style fit, which comes of being designed by and for pro riders. It was pretty breathable and the zips on the front are not pockets but vents, which help circulate air. The pockets were a good size and I often wore it as a stand alone top, maybe coupling it with a base layer or a gilet if it was cold. You can see this below. The four of us in the middle are sporting Gabbas but I’ve covered mine with a gilet (mainly because it’s got a luminous back for visibility otherwise a base layer would’ve been fine).
There are only two main gripes I have with the Gabba (women’s) and they are; firstly, the pockets have venting/netting in the bottom of them which sometimes resulted in soggy pockets when the rain was heavy. It’s intended to drain water but I did find it sometimes actually let it in (mud and grime from my back wheel). Secondly, WHY ARE THERE NO MORE COLOURS AVAILABLE! The colours are dull for women (apart from the Salmon pink…). Why can’t we have the bright green or fluro yellow that the guys have? I want to be seen but I also want to wear my Gabba!
So, leading on from this I was excited to see the new Perfetto jacket for AW16. Castelli are moving the Gabba back into their pro ranges and, for the general public, are morphing it into a jacket called the Perfetto. As mentioned previously, there are simply no negative reviews of the Gabba with many describing it as nothing short of perfect. Hence, ‘perfect’ translates to ‘perfetto’ in Italian.
The Perfetto jacket – as one may expect – is very similar to the Gabba. They’ve made a few changes, which I’m excited to try out. The material is ever so slightly thinner – so, I possibly will be needing to layer a little more this winter. The pocket mesh that I raised as an issue above is gone. This has resulted in a smaller and more restricted pocket so you can’t cram as much in. The bum flap has changed design, too. It’s much more fitted and has a gripper to keep it stuck down a bit more. If you look at the Gabba there was a lot of excess material on the bum flap, which meant it didn’t stick down too much. This wasn’t a big issue for me but it might be nice for it to be a bit more fitted. Take a look at my video above for a comparison.
To address my second issue I had with the Gabba – Castelli have branched out to include a few more colours. Is it that they’ve concluded that women don’t cycle in winter? I’m not sure but I’m happy there’s a bigger selection. They’re still not very bright but it’s a step in the right direction. You never know – next year we may get yellow.