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CastelliWS Balaclava


Item # CST0683

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Item # CST0683

WS Balaclava

Blowing sleet won't keep you inside when you have the Castelli WS Balaclava.

  • Castelli's fleecy balaclava for harsh winter days
  • Stretch fleece lets you cover your mouth, nose, and chin
  • Windstopper X-Lite panel on front cuts through the breeze
  • Fleece wicks moisture and dries to retain warmth

Tech Specs
MaterialWindStopper X-Lite, [backing] fleece
Recommended Usecycling
Manufacturer Warranty1 year

What do you think about this product?


>Rating: 5


I've used it several times

Yes, this thing works. Love the Windstopper X-lite to kill the wind chill + the fleece for comfort/wicking/warmth. Used (so far) down into the mid-30s wind chill w/ no problem. Also like the fact the neck/ears are all covered. Agree somewhat w/ other reviewers noting lack of breathing holes, but not a showstopper for me.

>Rating: 4

warm and windproof, hard to breathe

I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
True to size

This fits nicely over my head and remains snug - the fleece and windstopper fabric do their job well. However, I'm going to subtract a star because it is hard to breathe through the windstopper fabric covering the mouth. I 'm not going to pull the fabric up and down, as some people have suggested, as I agree with others that this would defeat the purpose. Instead, I'm going to commit sacrilege and heat up my soldering iron so that I can put 4-5 holes in the fabric where my mouth is covered. the heat from the soldering iron will melt the edges of the holes so that they don't fray, and that should solve the problem. Having said that, Castelli should figure out a nicer solution to the problem, similar to what Gore has done with their balaclava.

>Rating: 5

Excellent piece of gear for cold weather

I've used it several times
True to size
Size Bought
One size fits all
5` 5"
109 lbs

This is a very warm balaclava with lots of room in the face, nice fleece. It is one size fits all and would, for me, be a little big worn alone under the helmet. But it works great over another, more tight-fitting balaclava, and I use this Castelli piece to move back and forth for nose and mouth ventilation both road and mtb riding. I highly recommend it although it would probably be a more perfect fit on someone larger than me.

>Rating: 2

I. Can't. Breathe!

I've used it several times
True to size

Maybe it's the shape of my face (high cheekbones, small nose), but if I cover my nose with this I can't get any air (it's like having a plastic bag up against my face.) Sure it's windproof, but also airtight. It doesn't get too cold in the San Francisco bay area (rarely below freezing), but having to ride with my nose and mouth uncovered kinda defeats the purpose in my estimation. I have an Assos balaclava that works better for breathing (but isn't windproof), and one from Capo which is great except that it is fragile as hell, and one from Gore, which is windproof and easy to breathe through -- and mostly worn out. Of the three I recommend the Gore. I had to stop using this one after two rides. Not recommended for people with button noses. Your mileage may vary.

>Rating: 5

When its really cold outside

Gearing up for deep winter riding is kinda tricky; balaclavas included. There are basically two kinds: Light ones and heavy ones. Light ones (like my favorite Matrix 2.0 by LG) are -very- useful for riding on dark, cloudy days in temps in the 40s and even the low 50s (esp during long fast descents). With these lightweight B/Cs, I wear them with the bottom just covering my chin so I can breathe fully through my mouth while riding at full tempo. This facilitates breathing of course but also drinking water and the need to spit (reality, esp in the winter). Heavier ones, like this one, are very useful for riding in sub-40/45° weather. But at this point, the material is so thick you can't breathe through it. And if you drop it down below your mouth, your nose freezes. It presents a dilemma for those of us who train through the Winter. Solution? In sub-40° weather, you could: (1) Use a WS barrier cap plus a cycling mask (e.g., Castelli Viso). But for some people cycling masks tend to shift or slip down (when you turn your head). (2) Use Gore's universal balaclava with mouth holes (see review). Or (3), for hard riding in super cold weather use this excellent WS balaclava by Castelli pulled below your mouth - combined with- a wool buff (neck gaiter). I recommend ones by Smartwool or Rapha. Pull the buff up over your nose. That way your nose stays protected also. When climbing, pull the buff down (Alberto Contador does this). When descending, pull the buff up. It is possible to breathe through wool (nearly impossible through WS material). Also, this way you can drink from your water bottle (still important in cold weather!). Prepare and dress right = ride with pleasure in the Winter.

>Rating: 5


That this is too windproof is to the credit of Castelli as this greatly helps here in the Windy City. You can always pull the mouth cover down to breath easily through your mouth. This is great for when the temps drop below 32 and the wind kicks up. Now all I need to find is a decent pair of gloves. Anybody know of a pair?

Gore makes some great winter gloves...dealing with foul weather is where they excel. Giordana & especially Assos makes outstanding (winter) bike wear. Check out Assos products on the Competitive Cyclist.com site (affiliated with B.C.). You can get more info from one of their great gurus' that are dedicated to cycling!

Try a pair of neoprene gloves from either Castelli or Capo. Totally wind proof and warm.

Not sure I want to pull the mouth down on my balaclava, defeats the purpose... this product is a throwaway. If it doesn't breath, it shouldn't be designed to cover breathing holes. Do not leave in a young rider's crib - suffocation hazard.

Deep winter glove recommendations: Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier WxB. Or Pearl Izumi Pro AmFIB lobster glove. Or from Castelli... their new 4.3.1 glove.

Regarding Dr. S/Sheet's very valid point about not being able to breathe through the material of Castelli's WS balaclava (you can't), please see my review above on 12/26/15.

>Rating: 2

too windproof!

Too windproof... I cannot breath though it when my mouth or nose is covered, like I can with my PI balaclava. Because no air can pass thorough when I exhale the warm air vents out the sides and onto my sun glasses, which of course steams them up. The neck cover is a nice touch, and it is warm -- and if you wear it with a light bandana you can breath though, you can keep warm. Apparently this is a problem with any super warm balaclava - I was just looking for a bit more ear warmth.