Castelli Alpha RoS Jersey Review
The Castelli Alpha RoS jersey is more than a cycling jersey, it’s a light jacket that’s so crammed with features, I tried to pick just five that make this one so well suited to everything from cool, wet days to cool windy days.
Scroll down if you like to read and look, or click “play” on the video if you’d rather watch…
Now some folks might say that “Castelli cycling kit has been authenticated at the highest level of performance and conditions by professional and elite cyclists around the world”. And they’d be right. But here’s what I say…
Mix in a base layer and even add a short sleeve jersey, and you just extended the Alpha RoS jersey’s usability by a whole bunch more. To set a goal post, I rode this on a sunny but chilly-willy cold day in the Fall at 7C degrees. The wind was blowing something fierce (always a signal around here that by tomorrow things will be nasty), which dropped the temp another couple of degrees down to “below my threshold for most rides” 5C. With the TV weatherman as my source of this one, I can honestly say that over just a long sleeved base layer, I stayed warm enough to complete a nice 2 hour ride. Granted, I did a fair amount of climbing, and I never stopped long enough to let my body cool down, but the Alpha RoS jersey and long base layer combo kept me as warm as I’d be wearing a full jacket and a couple of layers underneath.
Anecdotal? Yes. But one thing I’ve learned over the years of wearing more kit than a lot of guys will ever own (not to brag – but I think it’s relevant that in 15 years I’ve tested a whole lot of cycling kits), is that the proof is always on the ride. I’ve seen a few items go well above expectations in performance, and a few go way below too.
But this jersey falls in that first category, and even if it’s billed as a “jersey”, it really performs like a light jacket. That’s likely the result of so many cool features that I decided to call out 5 as my favourites, but once I got started, I soon found a few more as well… so let’s take a closer look.
The vest-like extra layer sewn into the front of the jersey offers a big range of heat management possibilities.
The name “RoS” stands for “rain or shine” – in that it’s intended to be worn over a wide variety of weather conditions. Kind of a cool concept from a brand that’s set the bar for high-end technical cycling kit. From their pro team sponsorships and feedback from guys like Alberto Contador and Chris Froome, not to mention the guys doing all the work to support these Grand Tour king-pins, Castelli has developed one of the deepest lines of technical gear around.
A few clicks around the Castelli website here and it’s easy to find yourself wondering just which jersey/ jacket/ bibshorts/ tights combo will be ideal for your local conditions. My guess is that the RoS line is in response to this depth – and an effort to simplify choices by designing a few gear pieces that will cross over many types of conditions and temperatures.
Just like the Alpha RoS Jacket I reviewed here, this one features an extra layer sewn into the front – almost like a light weight vest that can be zipped up or down (worn open or closed) to help regulate body temperatures while riding.
The main fabric is Gore Windstopper 150 on the front of the body and sleeves. It’s pretty light, completely windproof, very breathable, and very water resistant – that’s according to the Gore website. According to me, it’s also very windproof, and highly water resistant, and breathable enough that I never felt overheated or like I was wearing a plastic bag – I think we’ve all had that feeling. To see just how water proof it is – watch to the end of my video review for the very tough “PEZ Sink Test”. The back of body and sleeves is Castelli’s NanoFlex material – and four-way stretch poly blend that’s been coated with their secret sauce to make it very water repellent, while remaining highly breathable. It’s this combo of fabrics that no doubt makes this jersey so comfortable when it comes to keeping your temps in a comfy range.
The main zipper is actually curved slightly off-center for a reason – to avoid the bulk of two zippers sitting on top of each other. But it also helps block any cool air that can sneak through those big teeth (it happens).
The waist stays in place from sound design logic and a smart application of materials. The waist band itself is around 3 inches thick, and made of stretchy heavier gauge material that holds its form and won’t roll under itself or bunch up. The rear section extends down far enough to add some extra coverage over yer butt, and only uses a small amount of silicon gripper to hold it there. The front section is cut higher to allow the jersey to fall and sit in place in the natural riding position. And they’ve thankfully left out the silicon from the front, because the design allows it to move freely over top of bibs, and pretty much whatever is underneath – so once again that unsightly bunching in the front is eliminated, making for a more comfortable fit.
Overall styling gets an update too – these epaulettes in contrasting fluo yellow area also waterproof tape to cover the seams at the shoulders.
Onboard stowage is almost as good as Business Class, with three deep and stretchy pockets that’ll hold gloves, bars, arms and pretty much any extras you’d want with you. There’s also a handy zippered pocket on the side that’s perfect for keys and coffee cash.
The rear pockets also have these vents/ drainage holes – just in case you get caught in a downpour and don’t feel like hauling extra water.
And then there’s perhaps my favorite of all the features – that beautiful high collar that Castelli does so well. This one might be there best yet – still nice and tall to fully cover your neck in front, but cut out with a soft and warm extender flap in the back that perfectly covers your head below the helmet when in the riding position.
Overall it’s a nice piece that’ll cover you in a lot of weather conditions. Price is listed at US $249.99, and they’re available in black, gray, and the blue I tested here.
– Thanks for reading
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