The winter heat wave is becoming a part of the season as just as much as turkey and candy canes, especially for those living in our part of the world, Southern California. Even if November and December have you inside on the trainer, the early January and February days may have you pushing aside the arm warmers and gillet for the lightweight climbing gear. In that role, Castelli has updated their Climbers Jersey with the version 2.0. The new design brings the weight down to 83 grams. That’s a deck a playing cards for reference. Though the search for shedding grams has waned in the recent years of ultra-light everything, the lightness is welcomed when the temps get to egg-frying.
I had an opportunity to enjoy the last Italian heatwave of the season and did so in splendor, pairing the Climber Jersey 2.0 with a set of Castelli’s Inferno bibs, a similarly lightweight, race-cut bib. After a 4 hours of white stone gravel riding on 25 mm tires through old Roman roads, lesser bibs would be chaffing, bunching and holding heat against the skin, but the Castelli kit was weightless, the collar-less jersey an especially appreciated addition.
“When wearing Castelli, you become the Italian car- Hopefully more like Lamborghini and less like Fiat.”
The kit was highly appropriate for early October conditions in Italy. Just coming off a record-breaking summer, the dryness was noticeable and the Tuscan sun reminiscent of California. That is where the similarities end. For the uninitiated, all roads in Tuscany, a northern region of Italy, home to the L’Eroica vintage bike race, are of two types – uphill or downhill. For those that have driven this area and only remember flat, wide open valleys between medieval hill-top towns, I assure you that, by bike, the ups and downs far outweigh the flats. In this setting, the kit was at home.
Italy holds a special place in Castelli’s history, the roots of the brand trace back to Italian tailor Vittore Gianni in 1876. Gianni made his first cycling clothing in the 1910s for the five-time Giro champion Alfredo Binda. Throughout the 20th century, the Castelli brand would go on to decorate the backs of high profile cyclists including Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi, and eventually becoming the official jersey supplier of the Giro d’Italia; Castelli’s Italian history is significant. In another homage to Italian racing history, the “Rosso Corsa” moniker of Castelli is a shout out to the red international motor racing color of cars entered by teams from Italy. When wearing Castelli, you become the Italian car- Hopefully more Lamborghini and less Fiat.
Sizing and Footnotes
Both the Climbers Jersey 2.0 and the Inferno bib are race-cut, and Castelli is the most racey of race cuts. At 6’2, 155 pounds, my fit deviates from the typical Euro-pro. I found that extra large bibs and a large sized jersey worked well. Even arms over head (in victory salute, obviously) kept the section between bib and jersey covered. When leaned over in a tuck, the front section was taught and without excess material. The bibs feature resilient leg grippers that kept in place throughout the ride, leaving a crisp tan-line, just the kind we like around here. Speaking of tans, it is recommend you wear sunblock before you wear this kit. The material is quite thin. I didn’t, and didn’t notice any sunburn, but fairer skin tones may do well to heed this recommendation that comes from Castelli, especially on those blistering summer days, when the winter heat wave has been replaced with the summer heat wave. Are you sensing a theme? Time to stock up on the ‘summer’ gear. ($129/jersey, $229/bibs)