Winter cycling tends to involve a lot of compromises in kit choice, but the Rosso Corsa label on Castelli's Spettacolo Gloves is an assurance that those compromises don't have to affect one of the most vulnerable parts of your body: your hands. The Spettacolo balances bulk with bar-feel, striking a Rosso Corsa-approved balance of insulated warmth while still maintaining the ability feel your hoods and shift levers. This balance is important because operating shift and brake levers requires a certain amount of digit dexterity, but once your hands get cold on a ride, the only way to warm them is to stop riding altogether.
The Spettacolo owes its relatively slim construction to Castelli's material choices. The outer material is GORE's Windstopper X-Fast, which comes from the same family of anti-weather fabrics used in the revolutionary Gabba/Perfetto series. The Windstopper shell is paired with a Polartec fleece lining. This design doubles-up on low-bulk insulation rather than plumping-out with a single layer of fluff. The wind- and waterproof GORE outer layer means that the lack of high-loft fill doesn't result in cold hands 10 minutes into a two hour ride, because it preserves your microclimate so the insulation isn't constantly playing catch-up.
Castelli recommends the Spettacolo in temperatures ranging from 35-55 degrees Fahrenheit. Many of us typically find that Castelli's recommended temperatures err on the side of caution by tending toward the warm side, so we often use items like the Gabba or Perfetto in weather several degrees lower than Castelli's recommendations. However, when it comes to winter cycling gloves, we don't like tempting fate by ignoring those prescribed limitations; as mentioned above, once you cross into cold-hands territory, it's a pain in the ass to get back to comfort.
The synthetic leather palm is finished with a silicone grip pattern, which helps maintain grip in the kind of damp conditions where the waterproof Windstopper shells really comes in handy, and the fingertips terminate in touchscreen-compatible inserts. Chances are good that the insulating Thermoflex cuff will be under a winter jacket's sleeve, but Castelli leaves nothing to chance by ensuring that, even if you're long-of-limb, any exposed wrist gaps are minimized.
- Winter cycling gloves that balance bulk with bar feel
- GORE Windstopper X-Fast fleece is wind- and waterproof
- Polartec lining adds an additional layer of insulation
- Synthetic palm with silicone grip maintains grip
- Touchscreen-compatible fingertips
- Stretch cuff extends insulation to reduce gaps
- Castelli's Rosso Corsa represents the zenith of Italian cycling craftsmanship