Long live the king.
When it comes to the original Gabba, it's so effective as the king of weather-resistant race jerseys that the only conundrum we had in purchasing one was whether to pick up a long- or short-sleeve model. The convertible option eliminated that dilemma, and the Men's Perfetto Convertible Jacket updates that versatility with improvements in areas that—frankly—we didn't think could be improved. The Convertible Perfetto is, basically, a Gabba-plus, beginning with the same race-fit, weather-resistant features that made the Gabba so damned impressive and pushing those properties to further extremes. The king is dead; long live the king.
Of all the things Castelli changed, we're happy to report that it stuck to the zip-off sleeve model pioneered in the Gabba Convertible Jacket. The ability to remove the sleeves effectively makes the Perfetto Convertible a three-season jacket. Castelli claims it can handle temperatures ranging from 43 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit, but with smart layering and the sleeves on, it extends easily into the 30s. On the in-between days of late fall and early spring, the sleeves stow easily in one of the rear pockets, ready for action when needed. The zippered joint also extends over the shoulder in a raglan cut, keeping the zipper off of your skin and providing generous overlap with the jersey's short sleeves for increased protection.
The sleeve construction remains virtually unchanged, but Castelli did do some serious tinkering to the Perfetto with the biggest change manifesting in an improvement to the Windstopper X-Lite Plus fabric's water-repellent finish. The change addresses a relatively minor complaint that many of us have with the Gabba—namely, it does tend to get a bit stifling during race efforts and interval sessions. That's not an issue that most other inclement weather gear needs to address, because most other inclement weather gear isn't cut for racing. Since the Gabba is, we were able to push it to its limits in the most demanding situations. The Perfetto effectively extends those limits; we look forward to testing them in the sodden races of early spring.
The Perfetto's improved water-resistance and breathability are only noticeable during hard efforts in questionable conditions, but Castelli also made a few readily apparent changes to how the jersey fits. First, the brand refined the fit, further eliminating unnecessary material at the usual flap-points for an even more streamlined ride. Castelli also revisited the extended rear storm flap, making it more of a flexible material (similar to Nano Flex) that lies flat rather than blousing out. The rear pockets were also tidied-up, with the drain mesh relocated to three laser cut holes instead of an accordion construction between the pockets and the jersey itself. This contributes to the lower profile storm flap's fit, which in turn improves the overall profile of the jersey.
With the exception of the stretchy Nano Flex inserts in the underarms, the Perfetto's body is made from Windstopper X-Lite Plus fabric. Windstopper X-Lite Plus has 1.4 billion impossibly small pores per square-inch that guard your microclimate jealously. They don't let wind in, but they do let moisture and water vapor out. This claim isn't just based on vague marketing copy, though—the science behind Windstopper X-Lite is measurable in a rating called CFM, which stands for cubic feet per minute, used to measure the volume of air that passes through a fabric in, you guessed it, one minute. In order to be considered truly "windproof," a fabric must register a CFM of equal to or less than 1.0. Windstopper X-Lite Plus actually beats this rating, so you're guaranteed a top that is literally classifiable as windproof.
While the Windstopper membrane is impressive, the Perfetto's key defining element is its race-minded fit. The sleeves are forward-oriented and the chest features an abbreviated fit compared to similar offerings from other manufacturers. The Perfetto feels a little tight across the chest while you're standing, but your body fills it out perfectly while stretched out on the bike. Compared to the Gabba, it sits even closer to your chest and stomach, eliminating the pregnant hippo look that so many of us despise in kit designed for cold or inclement weather.
The Nano Flex underarm inserts offer increased stretch and ventilation, helping to bridge the gap between cold-weather base miles and interval efforts or early spring, when the weather can change twice during the span of a single race. The collar is articulated to eliminate looseness while you're in the saddle and the front zipper features an external flap. The Gabba's reflective stripes are replaced by Castelli branding on the storm flap, which is one of the few embellishments to an otherwise refreshingly minimalistic design.
- A versatile cycling jacket for three-season racing and training
- GORE's Windstopper X-Lite Plus resists the weather and breathes
- Race fit cut is more like a jersey than a winter jacket
- Revised storm flap better handles wheel spray
- Laser-cut mesh drains in the three rear pockets
- Reflective branding adds visibility in inclement conditions
- Perfectly embodies Castelli's ethos of minimalist construction and unrivaled functionality