We’d like to give Cervélo a pat on the back for their TestTeam initiative, whereby they've created a model for racers to give useful feedback to their sponsors which can then be used to make better products. It’s a concept that Italian clothing makers Castelli have embraced and we believe their kit is markedly improved, from top to bottom, because of it.
We’ve spent the summer in three pairs of Castelli shorts (Body Paint, Free Aero Race and Presto) and two jerseys (Aero Race and Team Castelli), and can't do anything less than rave about the fit and function of these pieces. The only bones we have to pick with the bunch is that the logos have pealed off the Presto shorts and we received a sunburn through the Aero Race jersey.
The Aero Race is the TestTeam’s go-to shirt, and it fits super-snugly, yet super-comfortably. It kept us as comfortable as any other on the hottest of days and we perceived it to be more aerodynamic than most of the skinsuits we’ve worn.
The Aero Race arms' aero fit is better than any skinsuit we've owned; so tight you can see our undershirt's embroidery through it
While we can't quantify Castelli’s claims that this top saves 10 watts over 25 miles at 25mph, which is said to equate to 40 seconds over an hour, we can say that it offers the best form fit we’ve had in a jersey or skinsuit, bar none.
Our tester can be described as svelte, at 150lb (10.7stone/68kg), and prefers as tight a fit as can be comfortably produced from a jersey – both for its perceived aero benefit and the security offered for contents of the rear pockets. Keep this in mind, as all jerseys are subject to body type and fit preference of their wearers.
The Aero Race’s fit is so tight that we went up one size from our usual small. Once a medium was stretched into it proved plenty comfortable and fit quite comfortably with or without an undershirt. There's no hiding in this jersey; if you’ve got love handles, a belly or even a third nipple, it’s going to make a ripple as the fabric conforms to it.
If you like a tight, yet comfortable fit, the Aero Race is worth a try
The front and shoulder areas of the jersey are made from Castelli’s Velocity fabric with their proprietary Prosecco treatment. This aids in wicking moisture away from the skin by causing it to spread out quickly throughout the fabric to evaporate faster.
The fabric stretches tightly when squirming into the jersey, but once you’re in it and it's adjusted to lay flat, it proves plenty comfortable. Under the arms you’ll find a textured aero fabric that breathes and manages moisture well. The Aero Race sports a tall collar to keep sun off your neck and is finished with reflective tabs on each side of the back’s three pockets.
Because of the snug fit, the three rear pockets comfortably hold a century ride's worth of food and supplies. Though they’re average sized, they hold things tighter and subsequently more securely than most other jerseys we’ve worn. The silicone lined bottom hem seemed to aid pocket stability as well as keeping the jersey from riding up your belly or back.
When it comes to downfalls, we’ll point back to the sunburn, which comically silhouetted the semi-oval shape of the mesh back fabric and our bib-straps. Some might also prefer a full zipper, but we’ll side with Castelli here for installing a ¾-length version as the fit and aero performance of the jersey would have likely suffered.