@CastelliCycling Climbers Jersey and Inferno Bibs
Ted Burns of @veloeur infamy is more than a cyclist. Ted is also part of the driving force behind NorCal Cycling News, contributes race coverage to VeloNews, CyclingNews and he also happens to be my older medium sized brother. So, while riding in the Low Country Soup last week we had the opportunity to put some Castelli Warm Weather threads through their paces. Given Ted’s a punctual pro writer it would figure his review showed up within 3 hours of the initial request. The WTFKits XL version of this review is coming this week. Give him a Follow on Twitter @veloeur and tell him he’s never getting his Fugazi albums back from me. Ever.
My brother at @wtfkits showed up to our family vacation in South Carolina with a fancy package for me to check out. Castelli had sent kits for review, and since he’s a size BIG, I was delegated to put it the medium size run through the paces.
Castelli had sent a black Climber’s Jersey and the Inferno Bibshort. The shorts had a lot of white on them, which made me a little dubious. I’m not big on trying to look like a Euro dude, but after putting them on, the combination of black top and black/white shorts made me look thinner and tanner than I am in real life. I can’t argue with Castelli there.
The first thing I noticed was the lightweight material. It wasn’t your usual club style grade kit. I don’t think I’d be comfortable buying this as my race kit unless I was racing full time again or lived where it was a lot warmer. It’s not that I pick kits based on how well they hold up to crashes, but I’m a CX guy now, and my kit needs to hold up to some abuse.
When I first slipped it on I was all like - “I feel hot!” My first impression was deceiving and proof that I can’t be trusted with children or valuables. After I slipped it on and headed out for a ride, in the balmy 92-degree South Carolina humidity, I started to appreciate the kit material. The kit held up well to the rain, which hit us every single ride we went out on. Both the jersey and the bibs stayed tight, didn’t get baggy, and dried out quickly as we rode.
I only notice a bib’s chamois if there is something different about it. If the chamois is oddly placed, thicker, or thinner than normal it will stand out and make me grab my nether region in an ungainly way for the entire ride. This was a seamless experience which made me think Castelli knows what they are doing and have been through this rodeo before. At first it felt a little tight on the “twig and berries” but this abated quickly after we started riding.
Both the bibs and the top fit me perfectly. I’m a 155-160 lb medium and find sometimes kits can come in a little short on the arms or legs. This wasn’t a problem with either the Climber Jersey or the Inferno bibs. In fact, the sleeves were one of my favorite features, and I didn’t have to do my usual thing of cutting off the seams because the sleeves were too right or too short. It was a similar situation with the bib. They both have some cool compression technology going, sans gummy stuff, which kept it nice and snug on your limbs. My first impression of the bib straps was “Too tight!” but that evaporated once I was on the bike.
I noticed something interesting with the jersey on a cooler day back in my hometown of Madison, WI. The Climber Jersey fit quite a bit looser in cooler temps, so much so that I could feel my phone and food swinging on my back during a ride on a day that only hit 78 degrees. I’m not sure if the jersey stretched or was always this loose and I didn’t notice it due to the humidity and rain. Regardless, I thought this was a good sign for bigger riders and something that would keep it relegated to summer use in my wardrobe.
The Castelli kit fit tight but in a good way. My man boobs were well hidden and I’m pretty sure my calves looked bigger. I liked it so much I put it through several washes so I could wear it a few times on the South Carolina trip. If I lived in the south, or warmer climate, I’d totally use this for a custom kit. It wouldn’t be my first choice for cross and I’m sadly probably going to have to save it for warmer days but it’s my favorite piece at the moment.