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?

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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!

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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 WiggleChain 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 editor@wheelsuckers.co.uk  and we'll provide you with some advice on what to include! 

 

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Comment by Middle Ringer on February 10, 2014 at 20:07

Haha yeah totally agree with you there.

Castelli = red/black/white only! ;-)

Comment by Jon Moore on February 10, 2014 at 17:20

IMHO Castelli gear should only be black, red, white or a combination of any of the 3 :)

Comment by gareth george on February 10, 2014 at 17:14

Update: I was present at the core trade show last week,and to my dismay,what did I see? The Espresso 3 Jacket on the Castelli stand. After close inspection though, the only difference I could see was that it came in a rather fetching shade of blue. Panic over.

Comment by Jon Moore on February 7, 2014 at 9:50

The Rapha gear is nice I must admit, but when I tried this on I knew it was a keeper!

In fact I have the black one and just noticed Merlins are still doing them for £160 so may get a red one too!

Comment by Dave Nash on February 7, 2014 at 9:36

There are quite a few guys in my club who have bough the Espresso Due this winter and, like you both, they all rate the jacket highly. Even in temperatures around 3°-4°C they only wear a baselayer underneath, so it can certainly handle a UK winter. I have to admit that they they look pretty bad-ass too.  The Rapha softshell is a great looking jacket though - I'm split between the two! 

Comment by Jon Moore on February 6, 2014 at 17:30

I also have this jacket which I bought just before Christmas. I was more than a little hesitant at shelling out £160 (wiggle) for it, but its now my favourite piece of cycling gear EVER. As Gareth says, its fine in all weathers and the zips on the cuffs/chest to add/remove ventilation are great.

The only faults I can find are the lack of zipped pocket (as already mentioned) and the cuff zippers are a little tricky to use with gloves on. I have caught the liner in them a few times and had to stop and use a gloved hand teeth combo to free them!

In any case, this is one piece of kit every serious cyclist that feels the cold should get.

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