On hot days a superlight jersey can do wonders for keeping you comfortable. Although dubbed ‘climber’s jerseys’, these two pieces work just as well if your typical ride’s elevation profile looks like The Netherlands. Here I examine the nitty gritty of the Castelli Climber’s Jersey 2.0 and the Rapha Pro Team Climber’s Jersey – and declare a winner.
Both are fairly light: 100g for a large Castelli and 120g for a medium Rapha (both shown here on the same 185lb/84kg rider).
The Rapha feels softer and silkier to the touch, but the Castelli breathes better on the front by a wide margin. Put it to you this way: I have yet to unzip the Castelli jersey, even when slogging slowly up long, steep climbs.
Both jerseys have pockets with structure and substance, which may sound like a silly thing to say, but numerous hyperlight jerseys – including previous attempts by Castelli like the Ultraleggera Jersey I tested in 2012 – have hyper-stretchy pockets.
The Rapha looks better off the bike. It’s tight but not shrink-wrapped, and not completely see-through. The Castelli looks like a fully aero baselayer, which is kinda what it is – plus pockets and a zipper.
The Castelli is cut better for on-bike position. When on the hoods or in the drops, the shoulders and sleeves are nearly wrinkle free. The Rapha is cut more for standing upright. Lean forward and the arms bind just a little.
|Price||US$129 / £71 / AU$TBC||US$195 / £130 / AU$210||Castelli|
|Looks||Shrink-wrapped aero baselayer||Tighty whitey||Rapha|
|Ventilation||Did I forget to put a jersey on?||Lightweight, but still a jersey||Castelli|
|Fit||Aero cut for on-bike||Slightly more relaxed||Personal preference|
|Wicking/drying||Immediate||Better than average||Castelli|
|Pockets||Very little sagging||Little to no sagging||Rapha|
Bottom line, if hot-weather performance is your priority, then the Castelli Climber’s Jersey 2.0 is your best bet.