Castelli Climber’s Jersey 2.0 vs Rapha Climber’s Jersey

BikeRadar Battle: Lightweight jerseys for hot days

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.

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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.

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The castelli climber’s jersey 2.0 uses the aero cut of castelli’s race jersey with whisper-thin mesh material

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.

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The rapha climber’s jersey feels silky, but doesn’t breath quite as well on the shoulders and chest as the castelli

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.

  Castelli  Rapha  Advantage
Weight 100g 120g Castelli 
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
Overall     Castelli
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Bottom line, if hot-weather performance is your priority, then the Castelli Climber’s Jersey 2.0 is your best bet.

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The castelli climber’s jersey 2.0 is probably better worn with white bibs straps…