In the realm of cycling, there isn't another season where deliberate apparel choices are more important than in the winter months. Balancing the seemingly contrasting demands of warmth and breathability is especially challenging when the temperatures dip below freezing, but the Castelli Elemento 7x(Air) jacket accomplishes this task admirably. By blending air permeable 7x(Air) fabric with panels of the windproof WindShear material, Castelli has achieved an optimum balance of protection and ventilation. And with the stretch fabric panels, the Elemento achieves a degree of comfort that's rarely seen in jackets with such a slim fit. Your winter training rides just got considerably more comfortable.
Arguably, the most intriguing storyline with the Elemento jacket is its blend of fabrics. After all, without thoughtful venting and remarkable stretch, achieving this degree of comfort with the race fit simply wouldn't be possible. The 7x(Air) portion of the name belies the 7x(Air) fabric, which of course, is a Castelli exclusive. It's so named because it's seven times more air permeable than the WindStopper fabric that's found in Castelli's other cold-weather jackets, yet just as warm. Accordingly, it's employed in about 50% of the jacket, in areas that require the greatest degree of heat evacuation, like the underarms. The rest of the jacket, specifically the chest and back panels, are built from Castelli's WindShear material. Both materials are built to stretch, enabling a slim, flap-free fit.
As previously mentioned, the Elemento's slim fit is noteworthy, not only for its aerodynamic properties, but for its insulation and comfort as well. Obviously, minimizing any unneeded material in the pursuit of a quiet ride pays dividends when turning every last watt of your energy into forward momentum. But, by reducing bulk, the amount of dead space in between your core and the jacket is minimized, which allows your body to efficiently retain heat. And since the cut is backed by one of the most impressive pedigrees in cycling, you can forget about any bunching, binding, and really anything other than pure comfort in the saddle.
The fit and materials alone more than justify the Elemento's status as a recent favorite, but the details only help in this regard. There are three pockets at the small of the back, and the fit ensures that the contents of your pockets stay put. There's a small zippered pocket out back for your keys and wallet, as well as a zippered chest pocket. The Thermoflex collar fits flush against your neck, and it's fleece lined for added warmth. Additionally, it folds out for greater protection against harsh winter winds. The cuffs on the sleeves are elastic, and they have zippers which both enable an easy fit over gloves, and allow for extra airflow if you start to overheat. And as you'd expect, there's reflective details throughout to help improve your visibility to motorists in low-light conditions. In other words, it's everything that you've ever wanted in a cold weather riding jacket, period.
The Castelli Elemento 7x(Air) Jacket is available in five sizes from Small to XX-Large and in the colors Black, Green Fluo/black, and Stone/white.