Gabba vs. Perfetto
08 December 2023
By George Wise
Which is better: the Gabba RoS 2 or Perfetto RoS 2? We take a closer look at these two iconic pieces of cycling clothing to help you decide which one is best suited to your needs.
Throughout the history of cycling, key innovations have had a profound effect on the performance of bike and rider alike. Most of these we now take for granted, such as the humble quick release skewer or clipless pedals.In 2010, one landmark innovation was born in the shape of the Castelli Gabba.
It was truly unlike anything else that had come before it, combining stretchy fabrics, for an aerodynamic fit, with cutting edge Gore-Tex Windstopper® that was windproof and water resistant. Before this, foul weather protection was limited to oversized rain jackets that didn’t breathe.
The Gabba turned heads in the peloton during that year’s Spring Classics campaign, becoming the envy of the peloton. However, it was during the now infamous, snowy Milan – San Remo of 2013 that the Gabba became a global icon, when over half the peloton shunned their team clothing partners to wear the Castelli Gabba instead, with the logo carefully obscured of course.
Fast forward 10 years, and the Gabba is still as relevant today as it was then. It is still a favourite amongst Castelli sponsored athletes, and if you keep a close eye on the TV you can usually spot it being worn by non-sponsored riders during wet races.
So, what’s the Perfetto RoS 2 Jacket all about, then? On paper, the two look very similar, so why would I go for one over the other and which, out of the Gabba RoS 2 or the Perfetto RoS 2, should I choose?
Gabba RoS 2 Jersey
The Gabba has gone through various updates in the years since it first launched, with the most recent being in 2022, when the Gabba RoS 2 Jersey launched.
So, what is the Gabba? At its heart, it is a high-performance, foul weather, short sleeve jersey for racing in the harshest conditions. It is designed with racers’ needs in mind, first and foremost.With an aero cut and an uncomplicated design, it is made to be fast, reliable and allow racers to ride as hard as they like in relative comfort. In its short sleeve guise, it can be used at temperatures up to 16°C, but when paired with the water-resistant Nano Flex 3G Arm Warmers, it can be used at temperatures as low as 9°C.
The short sleeve design of the Gabba makes it popular with racers and amateurs alike. It is an incredibly versatile jersey that, when used in conjunction with arm warmers, can transform the wearer’s comfort. Want to stay cool when you’re about to make a big effort? Simply remove the arm warmers. The Gabba has also received an updated, dual YKK® zip, meaning the rider can now undo it from the bottom. The result? Further options for temperature regulation in a jersey that remains relatively aero.
It is made from a combination of Gore-Tex Infinium® 205 and 203 fabrics. The 205 is used at the front, due to its water resistant and windproof characteristics, whilst the 203 is used at the back, since it has more stretch and is more breathable, which helps with moisture management. The jersey will eventually allow water ingress after heavy, persistent rain, but will keep the rider comfortable regardless, due to the windproof nature of the fabrics. Taped seams at the shoulders offer added protection from water ingress when riding in wet conditions. The new Gabba RoS 2 has furthermore gone back to having three pockets, instead of the two seen on the previous generation, with drainage holes that allow water to escape.
The Gabba also features a large drop tail, to protect the rider from road spray, and a high, ergonomic collar that prevents rain from dripping down the jersey but is soft against your neck when you’re riding on the drops. The fit of the Gabba RoS 2 has also changed slightly, with more volume in the arms and shoulders compared with previous generations, allowing a wider variety of body shapes to comfortably fit the 2-way stretch fabric. However, it is still a racing piece, so the Gabba and Perfetto do size smaller compared to other Castelli jerseys and jackets.
So, why choose the Gabba? For riding at temperatures between 9-16°C, the short-sleeved Gabba will meet all your needs. It’s aero and brilliant in the rain, but also uncompromised on dry, cool days. If it’s still the ‘go to’ for pro riders, then there is no reason why it shouldn’t be the ‘go to’ for everyone else.
Perfetto RoS 2 Jacket
So, what is the Perfetto RoS 2 Jacket? Quite simply, it is a long sleeve version of the Gabba RoS 2. It was developed at the request of Castelli’s pro riders, who wanted something like the Gabba, but for racing in even colder weather.
The Perfetto has a temperature rating of between 4-14°C, but can go lower, depending on the thickness of the base layer you use with it. This versatility has made it one of the most popular winter jackets in the UK. It offers an exceptionally breathable, windproof and near waterproof outer, with room to layer up underneath with whichever thickness of base layer you require.
Made from the same blend of Gore-Tex Infinium® Windstopper® 205 and 203 fabrics as the Gabba RoS 2, the Perfetto excels at keeping riders comfortable and fast, even in the foulest weather. Apart from the obvious difference in sleeve length, the Perfetto also features two zipped vents on the sides of the jacket, to aid airflow and temperature regulation.
Feeling too warm? Simply open these vents to allow some air in, whilst keeping the jacket done up. If the vents aren’t quite enough, then the Perfetto RoS 2 has also received the updated, double YKK® Vislon® zipper, so you can undo the jacket from the bottom.
Like the Gabba, the Perfetto has also gone back to three large pockets, for stashing all your essentials, while taped seams at the shoulders and a large drop tail, with added reflectivity to help keep you safer in low light, provide even more water protection.
The Gabba RoS 2 and Perfetto RoS 2 were born in the WorldTour peloton, yet both have been fully embraced by everyday cyclists, looking for the ultimate ‘fit and forget’ garment that can tackle all conditions. Whilst they share the same design foundation, the difference in sleeve design fundamentally influences the conditions they can be used in.
Ultimately, because of their all-weather capabilities and race fit, investing in both the Gabba and Perfetto for your cycling wardrobe is a good idea. If you are a cyclist who likes riding hard in all weathers, together they will cover you for most days of riding you’ll experience from autumn to spring.
If you find selecting the right gloves to match the day’s forecast a chore, why not go for a pair that offers sufficient weather resistance, dexterity and warmth to see you through most eventualities?