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The Castelli Prologo V Jersey brings together great breathability, strong looks, and a comfortable fit to create a very good summer cycling top.
The Prologo is now in its fifth iteration, as you can probably tell from the V in the name. Castelli claims it's the closest to the fundamental ideals of what it wants a jersey to be, with the relatively broad claim of creating 'your favorite [sic] jersey' – a big claim. But does it live up to its reputation?
Breathability is one of the main selling points of the jersey, with Castelli giving it 4/5 on its breathability scale. Here I agree with the Italian company. It has a large mesh vent running down under the arms and across the back, and the rest of the jersey is made from Stratus+, a two-layer fabric that lets heat out really well. The highest temperature I used it in was around 25°C, and it coped admirably. I would happily use this during an Italian summer.
The latest Prologo is a strong, clean looking jersey, with the red version I tested a bright and easily seen primary colour that hasn't faded at all in the six or so washes I have put it through. There is also a smart black band under the pockets, which helps it to blend into black shorts – a clever touch. There is also a shadow logo on the front, which I think looks really classy and doesn't make you feel like a walking billboard. There is also the scorpion logo on the left sleeve and central rear pocket.
Fit isn't totally relaxed but not what I would describe as a racing cut: it doesn't make you look like a kid wearing their dad's jersey but it also has a bit of give for those of us who enjoy a pint now and then. Fit is certainly Italian, meaning the large I wore was good for me – I'm normally between a medium and large for UK or US brands. Arm length is about average and certainly not an 'aero reaching your elbow' job. I approve – I find that the tan lines created when flitting between regular and aero arms can take away from the pride of the ruler-straight tan line all(!) cyclists crave.
Other features on the jersey include a full length zipper, which helps with ventilation if you need it, and a zip garage at the top to prevent chafing. There is also a strong gripper on the hem, keeping everything in place throughout, regardless of whether I have anything in the three well-sized rear pockets or additional zipped key pocket. Stitching isn't flatlock, but I didn't find any kind of discomfort even on long, hot rides.
It comes with an RRP of £80, which is about what I'd expect for a well-specced and good looking jersey. People will always say that XYZ is too much, but in this case I would be happy to pay up to £100 for something that performs like this.
So is the Prologo V my 'new favorite (sic) jersey'? Possibly. I really like the subtle look, excellent ventilation and good fit, and Castelli has certainly put considerable thought into it. There isn't a whole lot not to like.
A strong showing from the fifth generation of the Prologo jersey
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Prologo V Jersey
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's a semi-relaxed fit jersey with good moisture management.
Castelli says: 'We've kept the outstanding moisture management of the Stratus+ two-layer fabric and the relaxed Prologo fit, but we've updated the details, from the collar construction that protects your neck from the zipper to the embossed chest with the Castelli shadow logo. The design feels instantly classic, while the performance is distinctly modern'."
This is pretty accurate: it is a good looking jersey with good moisture management and some nice modern features.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Castelli lists these features:
Stratus+ 2-layer fabric actively moves moisture away from your skin
Shadow chest logo for crisp, clean construction
Mesh side panels and shoulder for cooling and improved fit
Full-length YKK® zipper
3 rear pockets plus zippered key pocket with reflective tape
Well made jersey with strong stitching throughout and decent material choice.
Performed well, moved moisture quickly and offered good ventilation.
There are some mesh areas that look more fragile than others, but even these are well made and seem strong.
Semi-relaxed fit, but without any excess to flap around.
Size L fitted as I would expect from an Italian brand.
Not featherlight, but hardly like riding in a suit of armour.
Breathability and wicking, combined with the full length zip and garage at the neck, keep this jersey very comfortable.
It's in the price band I'd expect for the quality.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Simple; washed it multiple times at 30°C without any discolouration or shrinkage.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well, it did exactly what was needed throughout, providing comfort while on the bike and managing heat sufficiently.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The design, with the vibrant colour and subtle branding really setting it apart.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing jumps out.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Castelli's fifth generation Prologo jersey has good breathability and heat management combined with a strong design and fit.
About the tester
I usually ride: Mercian King of Mercia or Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.