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Prior to getting the jersey in black, I'd bought the same on sale in white. The material was surprisingly heavy. But the company advertises this as a cool-weather short sleeve jersey. So that's how I've fit it into my cycling wardrobe. And I like it. On days in the low-to-mid fifties, I wear a short sleeve wicking base layer, then the jersey with arm warmers, and I carry a windbreaker-like layer in a pocket for descents. That setup works well. It is somewhat form fitting, but not nearly like the vacuum packed feel you get from some of the aero summer jerseys. I wear a medium in North American sizes. And as with all the Euro jerseys, I bumped up to a large with this Castelli jersey. I own other Castelli short sleeve jerseys. But this one fits my torso especially well. No explanation there. This particular cut just happens to fit my dimensions well. The sleeves have no grippers, so they're comfortable on the arms with arm warmers. But they won't be loose without. The large band of the waist gripper in back holds things in place when you load up the pockets. And the full length zipper on this Castelli jersey isn't half bad. It seems to be improved over the zippers in other Castelli jerseys I own. There's also a flap under the front zipper to help keep out drafts. And the lighter weight fleecy material feels good against the skin. The only odd thing I note is that the black jersey I recently purchased appears to be made of a slightly lighter weight material than the white one I originally purchased. I'm not sure if any inconsistency has since been worked out. I manage the difference by wearing either a heavier or lighter base layer. And when you start ditching the base layer, you know spring has sprung!
Here's what I found good: the bibs fit great and the cut is comfortable; Gore's sizing chart seems to be accurate - I'm 5'9" and have a 32" waist, and the medium is spot on; The leg grippers really work well at keeping the bottom hem in place; it's a high quality Lycra they use for them, too; and the reflective tabs stitched into the seams are subtle and unobtrusive.
Things I found less than impressive: the name Gore gives to this particular insert, PowerMan, is somewhat overly ambitious a label to describe the quality of foam used for this pad. I found it less than substantial for medium to longer rides (their OZON insert, however, is top notch); although good quality, the material used for this garment is no heavier, or has no better thermal qualities, than your summer bibs. There is some added protection from cooler weather over the knees, as far as the insulating properties of moisture evaporating Lycra can provide. But I feel the range of use for this bib is limited to those transitions between early to mid spring and mid to late fall, when the variation in temps are shifting throughout the day. You may as well get some leg warmers to fill those gaps and have some thermal bibs or tights at the ready for winter.
Are these bib knickers what I'm looking for?
Great knickers for riding in cool or cold weather. The whole garment is made from a brushed, fleecy material that stays warm and dry during and after exertion. The knees are also covered with a wind and water resistant material. Seems effective. Below the knee they have wide cuffs (no gel-like grippers) that do all right holding things in place, with some minor bunching at the joint. The cuff makes this knicker a little longer than, say, the Gore 3/4 knickers. But I prefer that for the cold weather. Obviously, they won't feel like your second-skin summer suit when you're out of the saddle or pinning it on a long climb. But summer is over for the year.
How's the insert?
This is a good insert, better than many I've tried at this price range. It's not Garneau's top of the line pad. But it's shaped well, tapered at the edges, perforated for helping evaporation and, most importantly, sports a multi-density padding that really does work on longer rides (which some others claim about their inserts but in practice isn't true). It's substantial and comfortable and keeps protecting pressure points after the miles start ticking off.
Is the sizing chart right?
Believe it or not, yes! Now I can say I own well-fitting cycling garments in sizes small, medium, and large. Euro sizes are well known to run small for physiques of the Americas. But I can't tell you why Garneau would take it down not one but two notches from there (Are we North Americans getting that chunky?). I'm just over 5'9" and weigh just under 160lbs - pretty average/medium. For brands like Castelli and Giordana, I wear a large for both jerseys and bibs. However, the bibs I own from Gore and Pearl Izumi fit right with a medium. But when I flipped my nose at the Garneau sizing chart and got the mediums for these knickers, I paid the price and found myself with something baggy in the crotch, long in the legs and loose in the straps. I have a 32" waist. The Garneau sizing chart tells me to get the smalls. I finally did and they fit great.
This jersey has a great fit when you finally settle on the right size. The sizing chart suggested I was within the margins of a medium. It arrived and was way too small. The large fits me perfectly. So take the recommendation of going up a size seriously. I'm a medium in American sizes and a large in Euro sizes. That has been consistent across a number of brands, including Castelli, whether it's a bib short, jersey or jacket. The fit of this jersey is trim but comfortable. The neck and cuffs fit snug and keep out drafts. It has a nice soft feel due to the fleece inside. Very comfortable to cycle in when it gets down below 60, say. Generally, Castelli's weakest element of their garments are their zippers. This one works well so far, but it doesn't appear to have gotten any special attention from the Design Dept. I got the cool superman blue with red trim. A relatively understated design for Castelli, which I like. One of the few jersey's of theirs I feel comfortable wearing in public.