Castelli Perfetto ROS Gloves
80g (Medium as Tested) £85.00
The Castelli Perfetto ROS (Rain or Shine) Gloves are a lightweight thin pile design that deliver when the temperatures tumble and there’s a moderate amount of rain around. On balance, they’re the best winter gloves I’ve used for most contexts. However, the fingers are just a few millimetres longer than ideal.
Pros: Dexterity, fit, effective gel pad, decent water resistance.
Cons: Price, cut a little long in the fingers.
This is high and pretty much what I’d expect from this end of the market. Aside from the cuff’s inner, the Perfetto are made from Gore-Tex Infinium-a wind-stopping, yet breathable fabric, meaning you’ll stay warm but without getting clammy. Reduced seams continue the comfort narrative.
The outer has a DWR coating that promises a decent level of water repellence, without bulk. The long cuffs are designed to ensure superior, seamless protection against water and chill between jersey and technical jacket. The backs are plain, save for the Perfetto (Perfect) inscription across the wrist and iconic Castelli scorpion.
Flip them over and you’ll find silicone gripper strips on the index and second finger for improved braking control in the wet, a touch screen friendly index fingertip. The grippy them extends to the palm and silicone “zones”. Comprehensive and bodes well for changeable/soggy conditions. More interesting, at least in my book, is the Castelli Damping System (CDS).
This is designed to protect the Median nerve, which runs through the centre of the hand and if pinched, can lead to the more widely discussed carpel tunnel issues. Castelli “mapped” key parts of the hand to supply best defence against impacts/vibrations of varying intensity. Loosely, this boils down to gels and foams, which are arranged to alleviate pressure holistically and, in my experience, it works remarkably well.
Inside, there’s a tactile thin pile lining.
One of the most significant points is that Castelli have managed all this without bulk. The Perfetto are closest to a liner glove on steroids than a conventional winter model. Aside from nimble fingers, this bodes well for rider connection with the bike and ultimately, control.
Provided you’ve scrutinised their size chart and reached for a tape measure if you’re on the fence, their sizing chart is extremely accurate, taking the guesswork and gamble out of virtual purchases. Fit is very snug, not quite second skin. Easy to whip on/off and for the most part I’ve only noticed them in the most positive sense. There are a couple of minor considerations and I do mean minor.
Divers’ watches with larger cases may impede the cuff, although cancelled out when wearing a technical jacket, or jacket cum jersey hybrid. Another minor consideration is finger length. I have long, willowy digits and our medium were a few millimetres longer than ideal. Aboard the bike this was a moot point and I’ve had no problems rummaging through panniers, removing wheels, using zippers, compact cameras toggling light and other switchgear etc mid ride. However, energy bars proved frustrating, and swiping touch screens with my index finger also proved a little hit ‘n’ miss.
Castelli reckon the Perfetto are suitable for temperatures between 4 and 14 degrees (39-57f), which is broad and on paper covers autumn and early season and arguably milder winter. Now, allowing for individual rider quirks-blood flow, internal thermostatic regulation and medical conditions etc, I’ve found them perfectly temperate when the mercury’s dipped to two degrees and the winds been howling.
At the other extreme, 14-15 degrees hasn’t resulted in any clamminess, or misting, confirming that the tactile fleece does its thing equally well at both ends of the intended spectrum. Like any form of padding, shorts and tights being the most obvious examples, some suit better than others.
Now, though numbness/tingling aren’t common with most gloves and mitts these days, the CDS has amazed me with just how well it’s isolated low- level vibration and bigger jolts, on and indeed, off road. I’ve just been able to blast or cruise along and enjoy the ride without any hint of hand fatigue.
Yes, OK, the Vecnum FreeQuence Suspension Stem had an influence on the fixed, but thanks to storms turning roads into watery quagmires, Ursula’s been doing the lion’s share of long, steady, mixed terrain miles. In my book, the CDS delivers and lives up to the moderate hype.
Water resistant is another term with an extremely broad spectrum. In my experience, in moderate rain the Perfetto have remained dry for 45 minutes- by the hour mark, some minor dampness makes itself known, so I’ve packed and donned Gore Tex over-mitts- a must during storm Babet (yes, I was out in that, albeit only for a couple of hours!).
On the notable occasion when they did become sodden, it took two hours at room temperature to become close to bone dry, but this was also very true of some waterproof socks I’d donned. Damp mid ride, following a heavy, or persistent shower, with a moderate breeze and break in the cloud, pretty much dry in 90 minutes, or thereabouts at least when the air temperature’s been a moderate 10-12 degrees. There’s no designated thumb wipe but the material does an excellent job of taming runny noses and similar, so no worries there. Provided you’ve layered correctly, no issues with the outside elements creeping in.
The palms have ensured excellent tenure, and connection with the bars, regardless of bar tape and conditions, but without the loss of connection some duvet type winter designs can induce. Again, something I’d hope for, given the design brief and price point. Talking of wet, the silicones meant leach-like tenure and a feeling of complete control, even when I was mentally and physically flagging and navigating hair pin descents. Silicone/infused bar wraps will obviously ramp this union a notch higher but ours never missed a beat with the Souma Leather Handlebar Tape . Same story in the dry, regardless of whether I’ve been riding solo or had the trailer trundling behind.
Black is a real boon when it comes to practicality- refitting chains, mending flats and the rigors of everyday riding have made no impression six weeks and 600 miles later. Not so much as a loose thread. Mind you, Saddleback, their UK importer offers a two-year warranty, which should inspire confidence. Save for one, 40-degree wash to replicate the “got caught up in the household load” I’ve been disciplined and stuck to 30 degrees with minimal detergent. Drying times from the drum seem to be around the 90minute mark, at room temperature and for obvious reasons, swerve the drier. Bargain on three hours-say if you’ve been caught in a torrential downpour for a couple of hours and they’re wringing wet.
Let’s start by saying £85 is a big commitment for gloves but it boils down the horses-for-courses thing. There are plenty of gloves that are waterproof and relatively breathable for a lot less. If you’re looking at commuting and/or don’t usually ride for more than 2-3 hours and don’t mind some trade off in dexterity, these might be a better fit. =
That out of the way, there is a fair bit of choice. Gore C5 Gore Tex Thermo winter Glove come in at £65 and are available in stealth black, or fluro yellow. Leatherette palms supply the grip, and the fabrics are also designed to wick efficiently and in similar temperatures to the Castelli Perfetto ROS.
However, relative bulk means dexterity isn’t on par, and the cuff is also relatively short. Shimano Infinium PrimaLoft are £60 and employ Gore Tex Infinium Wind Stopper fabric on the uppers and sides and PrimaLoft300 gold insulation beneath. The palms are a synthetic suede for damping and comfort without undue bulk.
Rapha Brevet Reflective are £85 and come in two colours. Black, or High Viz Pink and feature reflective detailing, which may be an added draw. Suede effect synthetic palms promise good tenure and memory foam padding protection from fatigue and other, more serious damage. A thin layer of Polartec Power Shield Pro protects against wind and chill, while still being breathable.
£85 is a sizeable amount for gloves. However, while they might not be impervious, the Perfetto ROS Gloves manage warmth and protection without bulk, or heft are incredibly versatile and perform consistently well in most conditions.
Verdict: 3.75/5 Superb gloves for most conditions but with a premium price tag.
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2023