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James L.

James L.

James L.

James L.wrote a review of on March 10, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

I'm currently wearing my new Castelli Espresso 4 jacket while I type this review, it is super comfortable. Right out of the package, it impresses. Castelli quality is the best there is, in my opinion. Regarding size, I am 6' and 180 lbs or so, and the XL is like it was custom made for me. Arm length is ample, and then a bit more, so when arms extended there is no shortage at all at the wrists. The "flat wrist" feature is simple but ingenious, soft material fitting snugly at the wrists for a comfortable closure. Overall, the jacket feels comfortably snug all over, the fabric is super stretchy and the articulated shoulders allow for even more movement when bent over the bars.
The first thing you notice when you pick this jacket up is the thickness of the fleece. This will be warm. I believe it when they claim that it will perform down to 35 degrees. The scooped pocket/vents and napoleon pocket/vent should be effective at cooling down your core if you start to overheat. I have worn a Gore Element Thermo Jersey the last four winters, and it pales in comparison to the Espresso. It is some serious winter kit.
I tried the Espresso on over a Castelli Flanders baselayer and a HH Cold Ice mid layer, and the jacket still felt good, but a just a bit stuffy, that is the limit of what you can get on under it. It feels best with a single baselayer, still snug, but you don't feel packed into it. It's good to know that I can get two layers on underneath comfortably if I have to. Gets cold on the lake in Chicago!
I originally ordered the Castelli Elemento Air(7x) or whatever it's called, and I was immediately dissatisfied with it when I put it on. Although both jackets are XLs, the Elemento is "race cut", and really unforgiving regarding comfort/fit in my opinion. I could barely squeeze into it. I would have to order an XXL in the Elemento. Also, when you hold the Elemento up you can see light through all the perforations in the material. It made me think it would be less warm than the Espresso, but I did not try either on in weather so I can't really speak for that.
I will edit my review after wearing the Espresso 4 on the lakefront path in the coming weeks, temps in the high 30s low 40s. I'm confident this jacket will perform.

UPDATE: I wore the jacket today on the Chicago Lakefront Bike Path. The temperature was 43 degrees, real feel of 39 (allegedly), but a cold, constant 10 mph wind kept things feeling even cooler than 39.

I wore the Castelli Espresso over a Castelli Flanders base layer, and nothing else thinking I would try out a minimalist approach first, but after 15 minutes I added a Gore Element Windstopper vest over everything, and although I can't say I felt warm, I didn't feel cold, which is unusual for me. I did not feel clammy at all either. After 30 more minutes I stopped for a short break, and was impressed that my base layer was just a bit damp, (it is usually soaked through), my Castelli Espresso 4 was bone dry. I changed out the Flanders and put on a Craft baselayer, and a HH winter midlayer, the Espresso, then the Gore Element Vest.

With this combination I felt really comfortable, and I could have easily ridden a solid hour with no discomfort. When I got back home, I found, again, that my all my layers were dry, with just a slight dampness on the baselayer, and the Espresso was still dry enough to hang right up in the closet.

This is easily the warmest, most breathable cycling item I own. The whole time I was riding, I didn't even know it was there. Really outstanding.

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James L.

James L.wrote a review of on November 23, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I literally just put on my new Mountain Hardwear Dynotherm vest, and the fit is perfect. I heeded the advice of other reviewers and went with a medium instead of my usual large, and the fit is ideal. I am 6 feet tall, with a 41 inch chest, and roughly 175-180 lbs.

I actually bought it primarily for cycling, because the cycle specific vests and layers I own always seem to leave me feeling cold, because I sweat a lot when I ride and am usually wet, either from sweat, or from the trapped moisture from the Goretex and such. So I figured if I am going to be wet anyway, I may as well be wet and warm! I live in Chicago and ride the bike path along Lake Michigan, and there is always wind chill, pretty much year round. I'm hoping this down vest will keep the chill out.

A couple observations: I wore the vest over a Craft base layer, a Helly Hanson midweight layer, and a Gore thermo jersey, and felt snug but not tight. The length is great, it fully covers the lower back which will be a benefit while bent over on the bike. Also, the loft of the down doesn't seem to be overly full, which is good, since I will be being pretty active while wearing it and just want a little extra warmth. The neck is nice and tall, but does not chafe under the chin, and fits close but not tight at all. The elastic under the armpits seems perfect as well, not binding/loose. This is the first Mountain Hardware piece I have bought, and am very impressed with the quality and fit.

I will update after I take it for a ride in a few days, in 45 degree weather with 10 to 15 mph winds off the lake!

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James L.

James L.wrote a review of on March 12, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 165 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

Used this the other day as a base layer, with a SmartWool Microfleece over it, and a couple other layers over that. After riding about four hours in 40 degree temps, I still felt warm and as dry as I think is possible while cycling. When I took off all my layers, everything was a bit damp, but the Castelli was pretty much bone dry. So far, only thing to do that for me, so it is definitely a keeper.

I am 6'0 tall, weigh 165 lbs., and my arms are maybe a bit longer than average. The Castelli fit perfectly, snug but not confining, a little longer than my waistline in the back, and just long enough at the arms. I would have liked another inch at the wrists, but they don't creep up, they stay where they are, so that's good.

The fit at the neck was snug, but not tight at all. Extremely comfortable, amazing quality. I originally bought the 1/4 zip, but all my other layers have zips, so I ordered the crew neck to replace it.

After wearing it, I decided to keep the 1/4 zip version as well, figured I would use it when the temps are in the 60's when I don't have so many layers over it.

Highly recommended, best base layer I have found so far.

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James L.

James L.wrote a review of on March 12, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 165 lbs
Size Purchased: XXL

I used these only once, with a pair of thin synthetic Pearl Izumi socks under them. My feet were warm, 40 degree temperatures, 4 hour ride. I usually wear a size 12 or 13 American shoe size, and I bought the XXL size . They fit fine, not very long up the calf, and not any extra in the toe, but I expect they will stretch out a little. They felt comfortable, and warm Recommended.

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James L.

James L.wrote a review of on March 12, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 165 lbs
Size Purchased: Adult

I used this only once recently, on a 40 degree day on Chicago's lakefront path. It is quite long, so I doubled it up and used it over my neck all the way to over my nose, like a mask. Performed really well, kept the chill air off my face and helped to eliminate my breathing in cold air. Seems to be well made, versatile functionality. I can see using this thing all year round, to keep my neck cool in summer as well as during winter. Recommended.

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James L.

James L.wrote a review of on March 12, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 165 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

Regarding size, I have a 41" chest, weigh 165 lbs., and am 6'0 tall. The XL is just right, very snug, without being tight. The length is generous, and the arms are generous, probably at least an inch and a half extra in the wrist.

Functionally, I only wore it once, on the lakefront in Chicago, as a base layer, temps around 38 and pretty chilly winds, under several other layers. Seemed to do the job. I had a Smartwool Micro Fleece over it, and the both of them seemed to be damper than I would have expected after riding. I think the Gore would perform better with another synthetic over it, then a Merino Wool over them both. After one ride, not able to really comment on its moisture-wicking properties. Very comfortable against the skin.

Fit is excellent, quality is excellent, typical to Gore products.

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