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The Castelli Prosecco R Women's LS Base Layer really does help keep you dry. What it lacks in insulation it makes up for in versatility thanks to a pretty unusual design and a great cut. It's rather expensive, though.
Castelli makes it quite clear on its website that the primary function of the top is to handle moisture rather than provide insulation. A few years ago this would have meant instant dismissal but, with so many high-performing jerseys and jackets available now, moisture control probably trumps insulation in desirable properties of a baselayer. However hard I worked, the Prosecco just didn't seem to retain the sweat that I was producing; most of the moisture sat between it and my outer layer.
While many baselayers immediately feel snug and warm against the skin, the Prosecco didn't. In fact, for the first few wears it felt quite prickly. It was only after about four washes that it began to soften. Once I'd got it to this point I was making use of it on and off the bike – the design is pretty funky and hiding it under a jersey all the time seemed wrong. It's great for running and walking in, too. Once I'd cut the label out there was zero irritation from the seams, so it's a comfortable fit.
The manmade fibres mean that odours do cling rather. It rarely got more than a single use before it was in the washing basket, though to be fair, this is the case with all of my non-merino baselayers.
The cut definitely gets a thumbs up from me: perfect length in the sleeves, just enough tapering at the waist and a decent length at the rear to provide a little more protection for the lower back. Although there isn't a huge amount of insulation here, it would certainly suit any women who like to use waisted shorts rather than bibs and want to ensure that their baselayer stays tucked in at the rear.
The Prosecco doesn't come cheap, particularly given its 'moderate' insulation. By comparison, £40 could get you a polka dot design dhb merino baselayer. However, if you are a bit of an outdoors addict, like loud kit, appreciate the mentioned fit and have the money to spend, then it may well appeal. You can certainly get warmth, style and versatility for less, though.
Decent baselayer that works well on and off the bike, but there are certainly cheaper ones out there
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Prosecco R Women's LS Base Layer
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
According to Castelli, the Prosecco LS base layer is a 'mid-weight option'...'made to wick moisture away from your body while adding a moderate amount of insulation.
'This all-around base layer can be used under a short-sleeve jersey to extend the comfort range to those first cool fall days, or even under a full jacket for your intense cold-weather training sessions.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Prosecco mid-weight fabric to keep you dry with a bit of insulation as well.
Cut to fit under any Castelli jersey.
Castelli comfort range 6˚-18˚C.
Functions well in terms of moving moisture away from skin.
Has had a lot of use during the test period, excessive washing has not faded it or caused visible deterioration.
Great feminine cut without being too tight anywhere. Good length at rear.
I would normally wear medium but have been testing large. It was a little looser than I would like but not excessively baggy. If you can, try before you buy.
Took a few washes to lose a prickly feel against bare skin, great once 'softened'.
Expensive when compared to other options (that will also offer better insulation).
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Fine, no problems at the recommended temperature of 30 degrees.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It makes for a great baselayer together with a high performing jersey or jacket, keeping you dry.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Decent length in lower back. Great for off the bike too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Only the price tag really.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
No directly comparable product because of the focus on moisture control over insulation, but price tag is steep, even with versatility taken into account. Merino might have more appeal for many, and this dhb one makes the Prosecco look very expensive.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, on and off the bike.
Would you consider buying the product? Not at full price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? One with money to spare, yes!
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a great top that is not restricted to use on the bike, but its price restricts it to a 7.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…