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Castelli Essenza Jersey



Good looks and effective wicking and breathability – a top choice for rides when it’s under 30°C
Good looks
Effective wicking and breathability
Great up to 30°C or so
Better options over 30°C
Huge zip pull can be annoying

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Castelli Essenza Jersey is a good-looking summer jersey that works well on warm summer days. The polyester and wool mix material wicks effectively and breathability is good, and it really only loses out when the temperatures are north of 30°C – which is in line with Castelli's claims and doesn't happen that often in the UK.

Looking for a jersey? Check out our best summer cycling jerseys buyer's guide, and our best cheap cycling jerseys buyer's guide if you're on a budget.

> Buy now: Castelli Essenza Jersey for £65 from Merlin Cycles

I was able to test the Essenza across a wide range of weather conditions this summer – when conditions veered from insane heat to extreme downpours in the space of a few days.

2023 Castelli Essenza Jersey - collar back.jpg

I discovered that the Castelli was well suited to conditions in the middle of that, and that it was most comfortable in temperatures from 20-28°C or so – or exactly what you might expect on a typical summer's days in Britain. The jersey offered good wicking, breathability and ventilation, all of which helped on warmer rides.

2023 Castelli Essenza Jersey - back.jpg

This is down to the material used, which is a mixture of polyester and wool throughout. This mix means it doesn't operate at quite the same level as straight polyester when the mercury begins to rise, but for most of the weather you're likely to encounter in a regular British summer it is pretty much exactly what you want.

2023 Castelli Essenza Jersey - hem.jpg

The material itself is more relaxed than others I have used and offers a comfortable fit around your body's regular contours. I wouldn't call the jersey's fit aero, but rather 'tailored', which fits in with Castelli's own description and is the kind of fit where people know you're serious – but that you're not on your way to your local time trial. I found this just what I was looking for during my regular summer rides, helping to cut through the air but not feeling you're totally constricted by a skin-tight aero fit.

2023 Castelli Essenza Jersey - sleeve.jpg

The breathability is further helped by the full-length zip, which is very easy to operate thanks to the frankly massive metal zip pull. This is useful in many ways, as it's both incredibly easy to use and unlikely to break any time soon, but it is a little annoying, especially when you're riding on rougher surfaces. It's not that it's so heavy it hurts when it taps you on the chest, but it can get a little irritating.

2023 Castelli Essenza Jersey - chest logo.jpg

The jersey's design is very simple, which I appreciate. Castelli went through a stage a few years ago where it was all massive logos and garish colours, but this comes in four fairly neutral colours – Bordeaux, light black (isn't that, er, grey?!), the desert green we tested and blue fog – with the only branding a small badge sewn on the chest and another on the back middle pocket. There is also a small reflective Italian flag on the lower back, which doesn't add much in terms of reflectivity but does look good.

The three rear pockets were big enough for everything I tend to carry in summer, and because this is Britain that includes a rain cape. The pockets were fine and kept everything in place well, but as with many modern summer jerseys, there's no zipped security pocket, which may or not be important to you.

2023 Castelli Essenza Jersey - pockets.jpg

The jersey stays in position thanks to a subtle gripper that worked very well, with no riding up even when the pockets were empty.


The jersey's £140 RRP makes it one of the dearer ones we've looked at recently but the Essenza isn't the most expensive in our review roster.

Ben liked the £147 Velocio Men's Signature Jersey, which has a slightly more aero cut and some impressive sustainability credentials.

The MAAP Evade Pro Base Jersey 2.0 is even more expensive at £165 and Steve was wowed by its cut and fit – if not its salty price. It also has good eco credentials but isn't quite as light as the Castelli for summer riding.

The Castelli Endurance Pro Jersey 2 is less expensive than either of these and I found it great for hot-weather rides.


Castelli has done a very good job with its Essenza jersey, especially for rides around 25°C. Yes, the over-large zip pull is a little annoying, but that wouldn't have a bearing on whether I choose to wear it or not. Breathability is good, the wicking is very effective and I appreciated the understated aesthetics too.


Good looks and effective wicking and breathability – a top choice for rides when it’s under 30°C

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Make and model: Castelli Essenza Jersey

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the product is for

Castelli says: This premium-level summer-weight wool blend jersey will make you a believer in performance wool and fine Italian tailoring.

Classic tailoring with natural fibers meets modern performance in the Essenza Jersey. The poly/wool fabric is as light as a modern synthetic fabric but with great moisture management and a natural look and texture. The logos are applied embroidered patches, the metal zipper pull is a quality detail, and even the internal elastic is colored to match the jersey fabric. It's a classic-looking performance jersey and a perfect match to the Premio short.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Lightweight 120g 53/47 polyester/wool mix

Embroidered patch logos

GIRO3 gripper elastic at waist

Metal Castelli zipper pull

3-pocket drop-tail design

Reflective Italian flag graphic at bottom of pocket

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Seems well made with a nice polyester/wool blend used throughout and strong flat-lock stitching.

Rate the product for performance:

Loses a mark over around 28-30°C or so, but under that it is excellent, offering impressive wicking and ventilation during longer rides.

Rate the product for durability:

Not as stretchy as other materials, which combined with its low weight, might lend itself to tearing more easily, but it's not the most fragile I've come across by any means.

Rate the product for fit:

Very good fit – close enough to avoid any kind of aero penalty, but relaxed enough that you don't feel constricted.

Rate the product for sizing:
Rate the product for weight:

A weight of 142g for a summer jersey is pretty good

Rate the product for comfort:

For temperatures in the mid-to-high 20s this is excellent, below I would probably consider an underlayer and above that I would go for something more meshy.

Rate the product for value:

No the most expensive we've looked at, but this certainly is far from an inexpensive jersey.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

All fine – I chucked it in at 30°C without any issues. The one slightly disconcerting thing is the occasional knocking of the zip pull against the washing machine door.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It performed well, allowing me to be comfortable on warmer summer days, although not quite as good when temperatures really began to rise.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The design – simple and elegant.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The zip pull – I can't see why it needs to be so big that you could hear it knocking against the washing machine door! It's not like it's a winter jersey where you might be wearing thick gloves…

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

The Velocio Men's Signature Jersey is £7 more expensive with a slightly more aero cut and green credentials too. The MAAP Evade Pro Base Jersey 2.0 is £25 more and again has good eco credentials, but isn't quite as light for summer riding.

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

A good jersey that offers impressive breathability and ventilation, and while the massive zip pull could be smaller, there's little else to criticise the Essenza for.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

I've been riding for: 10-20 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,

George is the host of the podcast and has been writing for 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.

Add new comment


Rendel Harris | 6 months ago

Really bizarre choice to make it semi-transparent, looks like something that would be worn to a fetish club (ahem, so I'm told). £140 for a jersey that doesn't actually cover you up has a real Emperor's new clothes vibe.

holtyboy | 6 months ago

I have one of these and I have to say it's the nicest jeresy I've ever owned. £140 is indeed a joke, but the blue version is already on Merlin for £65.

At that price it is the cycle clothing bargain of the century.

Freddy56 replied to holtyboy | 6 months ago
1 like

I returned mine as it was too see through. Not recommended for owners of a hairy chest.

MattieKempy | 6 months ago

Looks nice, but how the actual f*ck can you justify charging 140 for a jersey?

Simon E replied to MattieKempy | 6 months ago
MattieKempy wrote:

Looks nice, but how the actual f*ck can you justify charging 140 for a jersey?

Because people will pay if you add enough marketing buzzwords.

There are so many brands charging stupid money for so-called 'high end' clothing but there are plenty of suckers out there ready to part with serious money to wear it. I'm not convinced that there's much of a correlation between ticket price and product quality these days.

Judging by the prices on Merlin etc you may be able to find it for half that price in a few months.

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