Vests are a key part of any cycling wardrobe. No other piece of outerwear is as versatile and well-traveled. Castelli is pretty proud of the Fawesome Vest and it sits as a key peice in their Gaaba (foul weather gear) repertoire.
Castelli Fawesome Vest Features
- Windstopper. X-Lite Plus on front and shoulders provides lightweight wind protection
- Velocity fabric on back for stretch and temperature regulation
- Heat transfer at back protects from wheel spray
- Packable construction, weighs only 149 grams
- Full-length YKK. Vislon zipper
- Rear reflective trim at hem and waist give you 360-degree visibility
- Colors: Black (vest), Flourescent Yellow
- MSRP: $119.95
Fawesome Fit and Construction
The Castelli Gabba jersey is one of the most renowned cold-weather jerseys on the market. Its ability to shed water and wind makes it stand out in the peloton. With the Fawesome Vest, Castelli designers wanted to maintain the aero advantage of the Gabba all-weather jersey in a versatile vest form. As with all Castelli products, the fit is pure race. The size large is spot-on for my 5’11” 170 lb frame with just enough room underneath for a base layer, bibs and long-sleeve jersey. Though there’s not much room for anything else, the fit is by no means constrictive as its 4-way stretch The built-in 4-way stretch makes for excellent mobility.
Hem length is excellent for extended coverage and stays put in the saddle. Surprisingly, the Fawesome does not feature a single pocket. There are likely some reasons for this including: 1) fewer seams to improve water resistance, 2) pro racers add/remove the vest often and don’t want to have to deal with stuff in the pockets and 3) to reduce weight. That said, I would have loved to see this vest with at least a single pocket just in case.
As is, there is an extra laminated area around where the jersey pockets are to further protect those items from the elements. Again, perhaps a reversible zipper could help aid in jersey pocket access, if the Fawesome isn’t ever a candidate for rear pockets.
Still, the Fawesome is F-in Awesome
Quibbles over pockets aside, the Fawesome Vest has found itself in my back jersey pocket all season long. It’s light enough and compact enough to drop in a pocket as a “just in case” or downhill layer. I’ve used the Fawesome in steady warm rain and on cold mountain rides where the wind protection makes a huge difference in comfort.
That protection is provided by proprietary Gore Windstopper X-Lite Plus. This is the same fabric that’s used in the Gabba Jersey and is employed on the front and shoulders of the Fawesome. One of the best features of this vest, and every Castelli piece I’ve tested, is the zipper pull. One-handed zip ups/downs are so easy with the zipper pull.
In the rain, Gabba shines as water just beads up and flies away. On one late-summer ride, we encountered steady rain as we ascended up the Alpine Loop in American Fork Canyon. No matter how hard the rain came down, I was left comfortable and dry. In concert with the NanoFlex Arm Warmers, the only wet area was the inch or two gap between the warmers and the vest — pretty good, I thought. Rounding out the package futher with the NanoFlex Bib Knickers makes an even awesome-er kit.
- Finally, a proper zipper pull for easy use
- Nice cut for protection
- Blocks cold wind
- Great collar height/diameter
- Water beads right up
- No pockets for you
- On the expensive side
The Bottom Line
Castelli’s Gabba line offers class-leading weather protection and the Fawesome Vest is a pocket full of versatility. Drop it in a back pocket, or wear it the whole ride. A quick zip adds breathabiltiy and the Windstopper X-Lite fabric does the rest.
Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com