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The Castelli Perfetto RoS 2 Jacket is a brilliant bit of kit that layers easily to cover you for a huge amount of winter riding. The water resistance is impressive, while the lightweight design and breathability make it comfortable to wear in a range of conditions. It's one of the best winter cycling jackets you can get.
Winter riding for me involves a lot of relatively mild West Country weather. If you're thinking of visiting from abroad during the months of October through to March, don't. It rains heavily and without any semblance of predictability and the roads are rarely dry. This does, however, present pretty much 'perfetto' conditions for testing the Castelli Perfetto 2…
What we have here is enough insulation for the autumn and spring in a jacket that is easy to pair with a heavier baselayer and thermal jersey on those extra cold winter days. The water-resistant fabric will see off a very heavy shower and road spray, while the breathability in the material means that mild conditions won't leave you a sweaty mess.
While breathability and water resistance are impressive, I'll start with some sizing changes, because this might alter the size that you buy. Castelli told me that there's been a bit of a rethink when it comes to the proportions of the chest and arms. While the XS and small sizes are unchanged, sizes medium and above all get a bit more room in these key areas. It is a move based on customer feedback, although as I wear a size small, it doesn't affect me.
Okay, out on the bike, I got stuck into the beautiful British weather. My initial impression of the Perfetto 2 was that it blocked the chilly morning air very effectively, with the brushed Gore-Tex Infinium 205 fabric on the front allowing the effort of my ride to keep me warm.
As with previous versions of the Perfetto, the Perfetto RoS 2 is water resistant rather than waterproof. It copes well with road spray, continuous light rain and short showers very well, but you'd want to reach for a proper waterproof jacket if the rain is going to be falling heavily all day. (We have a guide to the best waterproof cycling jackets if you're in the market for one.)
The past few weeks have been a seemingly endless mix of sun, showers and cold starts, and after those cold starts any midday sun has packed the final throws of warmth. I've been riding on a climb several times when the sun made one of these appearances and no matter the effectiveness of breathability, once you combine a moderate climbing effort with the sun's warmth, you're going to start to overheat a little.
Thankfully, you have two ways to combat this. The Perfetto 2 has zippable side vents (as above) which I found to work best at higher speeds when air was moving past me a bit faster. For the climbs, the double-ended YKK zipper was the most effective solution.
This has a really chunky design to every aspect of it, which makes grabbing for the pull-loop in big gloves very easy. And then once you get to the top of the climb, it is simple to locate the end of the zipper and get your chest covered before you get cold.
While we're on the subject of the zipper, Castelli has covered the majority with the Infinium 205 fabric to stop cold air from penetrating the zip. That's a good move in my eyes, and especially nice if you've done some full-gas efforts on a climb and given yourself a sweaty baselayer. There are few things worse on a winter's ride than freezing from the inside.
This cover doesn't run all the way down to the end of the zip and it is another feature that shows the attention Castelli has paid to the finer details. A jacket with a zip cover that runs to the end of the zip at the waist is always difficult to get done up when you're riding.
Stitching isn't the most exciting topic, but it is here that we find another of the small changes found on the Perfetto 2. Castelli has moved the shoulder seams further back, joining them to form one long seam that runs across the upper back. The thinking is that it is out of the direct line of chilly winds and therefore doesn't need taping like the seams at the top of the arms do.
If it makes a difference, it is a small one. But it is nice to know Castelli is looking at the details.
The final change that you'll find with the Perfetto RoS 2 is a return to three pockets at the back. Apparently the two larger pockets that were used on the Perfetto RoS led to riders fumbling about trying to find what they needed due to the lack of order. I never used that system, so I can't comment on it, but I can say that I like the three deep pockets that we have here.
Actually, one other change is that the price has increased to £245, which is quite a jump from the original £180 Perfetto jacket we reviewed in 2018, and the £200 women's Perfetto RoS Emma reviewed last year. I'm not sure I see £65 or £45 worth of improvements here, but the price is certainly softened by the amount of use you'd get from this jacket.
That said, Sportful's Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket is another brilliant option at £200. With the same sort of Gore-Tex Infinium material, it offers similar protection, so you could save yourself £45.
But if you're on a tighter budget you can get the same sort of jacket for just £74 in the form of the Galibier Mistral 5. Dave tested a previous version in 2018 and was very impressed. Mind you, it was only £72.76 then...
In summary, the new zipper, repositioned shoulder seam and move back to three pockets at the rear equate to some relatively small changes given the price increase from £200 to £245, but the Perfetto RoS 2 is still a brilliant bit of kit for the autumn, winter and spring months. That range of use helps to justify the price, and the performance means you're going to be a very happy cyclist when riding in this.
Fits brilliantly and performs perfectly in a wide range of conditions – a great winter investment
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Perfetto RoS 2 Jacket
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the jacket 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?
Castelli calls the Perfetto RoS 2 a long-sleeve Gabba and says: "The long-sleeve Gabba is one of our most versatile pieces. 100% wind protection with GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ WINDSTOPPER® water protection and best-in-class breathability. With a light base layer it's good for mild temperatures, or with a thermal layer you can ride it below freezing. If you have just one jacket in your cycling wardrobe, this should be it."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Castelli-exclusive GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ WINDSTOPPER® 205 Warm brushed water-resistant fabric on front-facing surfaces
GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ WINDSTOPPER® 203 Stretch on rear-facing surfaces for greater stretch and breathability
Taped shoulder seams for extra rain protection
Top- and bottom-opening YKK® Vislon® zipper for easy sliding, covered for additional wind and rain protection
Zippered ventilation opening on side of chest
3 rear pockets
Reflective panel at bottom of pockets
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I washed it at 30 and air dried.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
You easily offset the price with the amount that you use a jacket like this. I've been reaching for it on pretty much every ride, and I don't see that changing until the end of March.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The price increase for the changes made is the only annoying point for me.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
£245 is certainly a jump from the Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium jacket (£200) and you can get similar protection with the £74 Galibier Mistral 5 Foul Weather Jacket. But you can easily spend more: Assos' Equipe R Habu Winter Jacket S9 has a stupidly long name and a £310 price tag.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes, I bought the original version.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Okay, the price is high, but you're getting a jacket that fits really well and performs brilliantly.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!