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Review: Castelli winter jacket and bibtights

The Alpha Ros 2 jacket and Nano Flex Pro 2 bibtights will keep you warm and dry

It’s easy to get complacent in the Canadian winter, forgoing cold outdoor rides in exchange for monotonous virtual kilometres. I, like many, have been guilty of leaving my bike on the trainer for months while hiding from the dreary winter weather.

But recently, in order to test some of Castelli’s winter gear, I forced myself to get off of the trainer, onto my cx bike and set off on what would be my first real winter ride of the year.

Alpha Ros 2 jacket

The Alpha Ros 2 jacket (available in men’s and women’s sizing) is Castelli’s warmest, rated from -5°C to 10°C. The feature-heavy jacket looks warm and feels warm. It’s designed to keep your core temperature higher while also simultaneously maintaining breathability, a fine line to walk.

The jacket did its job keeping me warm. Throughout steady casual riding on the road my core stayed warm. The front and sleeves are made from Gore-Tex Infinum Windstopper 150 fabric, which protect from the wind and rain.

The cuffs on the Alpha Ros 2 jacket are double layered and very tight, which feels really secure and works effectively against the cold.

Doing some harder efforts, the “Nano Flex Xtra Dry” material of the back of the jacket kept me from getting too warm. There are breathable pocket-like areas just below the shoulders which work well with the internal base layer to dispel heat.

The internal base layer is my favourite feature of this jacket. It’s a fun, hi-vis orange and has its own zipper. The same waffled orange fabric extends through the front portion of the sleeves to protect from wind, while the back of the jacket is lined with a more lightweight mesh base layer for breathability and sweat wicking.

Other little features include hi-vis detailing on stitching of the shoulders, a zippered side pocket, little drain holes in the three rear pockets in case you get caught in the rain and a fleece collar addition to keep the nape of your neck warm.

My biggest fear with the Alpha Ros 2 jacket was that it would look bulky with all the different materials and layers. Winter riding jackets that actually keep you warm don’t generally have the most flattering look and tend to flap around quite a bit. This jacket surprised me—the silicone gripper band at the waist kept it in place and, though the front did stick out a bit when I was bent over on the bike, it’s definitely the tightest and most compact-feeling actual winter riding jacket I’ve tried.

Nano Flex Pro 2 bibtights

The Nano Flex Pro 2 bibtights (available in men’s and women’s sizing) are made of a nice, slippery material that just feels fast when you run your hands over it. Castelli says these bibs are rated from -2°C to 10°C, but I would say they can keep you warm in much colder weather.

Looking at the Nano Flex Pro 2 bibtights from the outside it’s hard to tell that they have a soft inner lining. The double-face knit of the Nano Flex Xtra Dry fabric keeps the water out and the heat in.

Before reading up on the tights I tried them on and couldn’t figure out if I had twisted them incorrectly or if the hi-vis section on the calves was supposed to be on the inside. I only figured out why the inner leg was lined with the thick hi-vis fabric when I rode through some muddy puddles. The area gets a lot of splashback, and the thick fabric protects you from the wet winter roads.

Another feature that is almost hidden on the bibtights is the double layer on the back, which helps protect from water sprayed up from the rear wheel.

The shammie on the Nano Flex Pro 2 bibtights is the Progetto X2 Air Donna seat pad, the same one Castelli uses in its Free Aero bibshorts. I’m personally a big fan of this shammie in both bibshorts and bibtights— it hits a perfect balance between thickness and malleability.

After venturing into The Great Outdoors equipped with this appropriate winter gear, I can happily say I’m willing to give up more days on the trainer for a little fun in the wet and cold.

The men‘s and women‘s Alpha Ros 2 jacket is $465 and the men‘s and women‘s Nano Flex Pro 2 bibtights are $295.