Wheelsuckers member Gareth George was on the hunt for a new jacket that could protect him against the worst a British winter could throw at him. Having narrowed his choice down to three contenders, he eventually decided on the Espresso Due Jacket from the stylish and high end Italian manufacturer, Castelli. But is Gareth pleased with his purchase?
January. Icy roads, cold easterly winds, driving rain and sleet. Or so it used to be. Anyway, as the motto says, be prepared. With this in mind I thought it time to ditch the winter jersey and rain cape combo and purchase something more appropriate. I finally agreed on a short list of the Rapha soft shell, Sportful Fiandre no rain and the Castelli Espresso Due.
First to fall was the Rapha Softshell, mainly down to not being able to find an adequate fit for my frame - I'm 10st4 and 5'6 with a 40 inch chest. Next up was the Fiandre: I own quite a bit of Sportful gear already, so I knew the fit shouldn't be a problem. What I did find a problem with however was the single rear pocket. I carry food, tubes and tools and a phone on my rides,s o easy access is essential. This ruled the Fiandre ruled out.
Coming from the same stable as Sportful, the Espresso Due fit was perfect. I'm an XL in both Castelli and Sportful, what you would do if you are 6'4 is anybody's guess!
So, the Castelli Espresso Due it is!
My first ride out was a midweek 20 mile loop. An early start had the mercury at 6°C, so I opted for a long sleeve base layer and just the Espresso on top. After 5 miles I was starting to get cycle sweaty, but it was then that I remembered the vents. As soon as I opened them halfway I felt an immediate drop to a more comfortable temperature, which lasted the whole ride.
Next up was my 50 mile Sunday route, a slower paced ride but a test for the jackets long term comfort. The temperature had dropped to just above freezing so I opted for a short sleeved base layer with the vents closed. Even in the chillier climate the espresso performed admirably. There is absolutely no wind penetration whatsoever, the zipped cuffs stop any breeze entering the sleeves and the high neck keeps the upper body breeze proof. I truly believe that combined with a base layer and decent winter jersey, the Espresso could cope with the worst the British winter has to offer!
There is ample storage with the 3 pockets, although i would like to have seen one of the pockets zipped to protect valuables.
I'm not a lover of riding in the rain, but having no excuses I hit the country roads as soon as the first showery day arrived. Yet again I couldn't find fault with the Espresso. When I was caught in a 30 minute shower, the rain seemed to roll off the surface of the jacket. On post ride inspection you could see where the road spray had hit the rear of the jacket but only remained on the reflective strip. The rest of the surface was spotless, which made me slightly regret choosing a black jacket due to long term staining worries.
So far I've ridden 350 miles in the jacket and it's proving money well spent. The RRP is £230, but shopping around you can pick up good discount.
In summary then, if you're looking for a well made, functional, comfortable and stylish jacket, you will struggle to find a better option than the Espresso. It's not perfect, but it's not far off. A zipped rear pocket and some larger tabs on the vents would be ideal and as with most Italian brands sizing is ridiculously small. So my advice is try before you buy.
You won't be disappointed!
Editor’s Note: Since this review, the Castelli Espresso Due Jacket has been superseded by the Castelli Espresso 3 Jacket at the same RRP of £230. The Expresso 3 is available to buy online from Wiggle, Chain Reaction and Evans Cycles. The Espresso 3 comes in black or blue with different coloured trimming options and in sizes ranging from S to XXXL. Further information about Castelli's full range of cycling apparel and stockists can be found at Castelli Cafe.
Thanks to Gareth for submitting this review. Do you have a product you rate or hate? Let us know about it! Send a submission to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll provide you with some advice on what to include!
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