Castelli Gisele jersey and Palmares Due bibshort
The lowdown: Best summer kit for the price
Pros: Overall fit; bibshort strap configuration; eye-catching jersey style
Cons: Jersey features only a quarter-length zipper
Total price: $190
Jersey price: $100
Bibshorts price: $90
The Castelli bibs-jersey combination was hands down the highest quality kit for the price. For under $200, you can have a stylish, functional and well-constructed kit that’s perfect for the summer months.
The Gisele jersey got an A+ for fit, though we made sure to size up due to Castelli’s European sizing. Everything from the feminine cap sleeves, to the length in the front and back, to the contouring seams was a perfect fit. Made of Softflex fabric, the jersey is both stretchy and breathable. The fabric hugs the skin yet still provides ample room for movement, and was quick drying. Even after a long climb with significant perspiration, within minutes of the decent, the fabric would be nearly dry. Our biggest gripe about this jersey is the quarter-zipper length; it makes it hard to ventilate on really hot days, and became a deterrent when considering the forecast pre-ride. A full zip is always appreciated, even for us girls. The Gisele jersey is available in five sizes, from extra small to extra large, in navy-white-wisteria- cyclamen (pictured), white-coral-wisteria-anthracite, and white-flourescent yellow-pink-ocean. (Note: There is a matching Gisele short option, however the combination wasn’t to our style preferences, so we opted for a different Castelli short.)
The Palmares Due bibshorts are composed of Softflex RS fabric and are incredibly soft and supple. They are also very lightweight and were great when the temperature rose to 100 degrees. Because of the hassles involved with removing bibshorts for a mid-ride nature break, women’s views on bibshorts vary. In terms of comfort, the strap configuration is ideal — the straps sit very far to the sides of the chest, rather than crossing into the midsection like other bibs do. Overall, they feel more like standard shorts, but with the form-fitting benefit of bibs. However, to remove the bibshorts, it’s necessary to remove the jersey first, to free the straps from your torso.