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Castelli's Endurance Women's Jersey is a great addition to its summer range. It's a jersey that doesn't have 'race', 'aero' or 'pro' in its title but still offers exceptional performance and comfort – and it could be a hit with more than just the target 'endurance' rider market.
It's often a battle to get sufficient testing of warm weather jerseys done in a four-week testing window, with the UK not generally renowned for blistering hot weather. June 2023 has reversed this trend though. Back-to-back, hot and sunny days has meant plenty of wearing and washing for both the Endurance Jersey and Shorts that I've been testing. It's fair to say that both have been brilliant.
Just like the colour – uniform throughout – a single type of material has been used for the entire jersey. Castelli's ProSecco Air Donna fabric is probably best described as a stretchy mesh.
It's not quite transparent – the weave is just short of being open - so you can't see what's underneath. There's a decent percentage of Lycra in the fabric (13%, according to Castelli), so it accommodates a variety of body shapes well, without compressing in any way.
The medium size I've been testing offers the intended 'relaxed' fit. There's plenty of length in the body, certainly more than average, and the sleeves are generous enough to be teamed with arm warmers, should you need to. Their raw cut gives a clean finish and I've had no issues with it slipping out of place, even with warmers.
The neckline is dropped at the front – low enough not to warrant a zipper garage at the top. The absence of a garage at the bottom doesn't seem to have irritated any of my shorts - the plastic zipper base has no sharp edges. It's a smooth-running zip, so lowering it while riding is no problem and there's a short guard at the top to prevent the zipper causing irritation.
I personally found the waist hem to be on the generous side in terms of girth. In addition to this, the band of (open-weave) elastic is in line with the rest of the fit – somewhat 'relaxed'.
If I didn't take care to load my pockets evenly, the jersey had a tendency to slide slightly off-centre. For longer rides, when it wasn't having to cope with aggressive movements in and out of the saddle and I'd packed out the pockets with balance in mind, it wasn't noticeable. This is a niggle rather than a flaw, more of a feature that comes with the jersey's intended purpose.
While Castelli market the jersey specifically as an 'endurance' top, I'd say it lends itself to pretty much any kind of riding this side of racing. Versatility is always a good thing if you want to get your money's worth out of kit, and I'd say gravellers will appreciate this jersey just as much as roadies.
It sits comfortably directly on the skin – I didn't experience any kind of itchiness or pinching. It can equally accommodate a base layer for slightly cooler weather. In both cases, the fabric is exceptionally breathable and any sweat dries out pretty quickly.
For an impression of what it can handle without a base layer, I rolled out for an 180km Audax at 7:30am when it was 18 degrees. It was just right at this time and I still felt comfortable by midday when it was 26 degrees. The fabric was wicking well and, while I could sense moisture on it, it never got saturated – it was continually wicking and drying.
There's nothing worse than poorly placed pockets on a jersey, especially if you are using it for an endurance event. Thankfully, in my opinion, Castelli has the placement spot on. You don't need to be super flexible, or have the ability to ride without hands, in order to reach into the depths of any of the pockets. I easily stuffed in a cased smart phone, gilet, brevet card plus heaps of snacks and could access everything without issue.
The zipped valuable pocket is great for keys, with a smooth-running zipper you can pull down with just one hand too, which isn't always possible and which I find a real pain.
The Endurance Jersey's styling is toned down, but not without consideration. Three figure-flattering strips break up the solid colour and add stability to the jersey by preventing stretch where they sit. They sit alongside darts in the fabric, which add shaping to the jersey's body.
At the rear, in addition to a reflective 'CASTELLI', there are two reflective flashes at the base of the lateral pockets.
Unsurprisingly, the combination of hot weather and sweating with polyester and Lycra has meant that the jersey has gone in the machine after pretty much every outing – it holds odours well! And to date, it isn't showing any signs of wear. Indeed, the overall construction and finishing is excellent and I have no concerns about durability... a good thing when you've paid £120.
Castelli kit will never be cheap, but the company's reputation for quality is well-earned – and the Endurance Jersey is no exception. Santini's Colore Riga Jersey is £30 less and Emily found it very similar in terms of performance.
Manufacturers will hopefully continue to increase the number of non-race specific options – after all, not all of us want our gear 'aero' or 'pro'. Perhaps the surge in gravel riding will help here too. More options spanning the budget spectrum would be good.
Overall, I can't fault Castelli's Endurance Jersey, which proved a great addition to my wardrobe for the hottest June on record. It performs well on more than just long-distance rides, feels lovely and I think it looks great.
A comfy, top-performing, warm-weather jersey that isn't aero-, pro- or race-fit... Thanks Castelli!
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Endurance Women's Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Castelli says: 'The jersey is for all-day comfort, carrying capacity, temperature regulation, sun protection, and aerodynamics for the longest endurance rides and events.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
ProSecco Air Donna fabric on body and sleeves for maximum airflow and cooling
Raw-cut sleeve ending lies flat for comfort
Ultralight mesh elastic gripper
Three rear pockets
Reflective stripes on pockets
YKK® Vislon® zipper
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Put it through a 30°C wash with all my other cycling kit and there were no issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Perfect for long days in the saddle - breathable, good carrying capacity and comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Relaxed fit and a food body length.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At over 100 quid it's very much at the upper end of the price scale. Santini's 2023 'relaxed' option is £90 and Van Rysel's Women's Short-Sleeved Cycling Jersey Racer is just £34.99, which is even less expensive than when we reviewed it last year.
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 overall score
Quality and practicality with comfort and performance.
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…