Adequate bit of kit - with limitations.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
- Fit: Runs large
- Size Bought: L
Great little jacket for mellow, dry, cold, relatively flat riding :-) So yeah, some caveats.
I used this on several road/ gravel/ mtb rides over the month of December. These rides ranged in temps between 25ish and 45ish degrees F. With appropriate base layering, I was generally able to control moisture well by unzipping on climbs, and then zipping back up on descents (zipping up often required two hands however). The waist band also offers a point of ventilation if left unfastened. For lower speed mtn/ gravel descents in cold temps, I would zip up and feel perfectly comfy. For higher speed road descents the wind would cut through leaving me cold (especially if I had sweated at all on the ascent). If left unzipped for a descent this jacket becomes a "parachute" (at least for me in size L).
I live in the mountains. My rides generally have 100'-150' of vert per mile so my impressions are certainly influenced by this. I personally found this jacket most effective for mellow mtn. bike and gravel rides in the 32-42 degree range. After using this jacket for a couple hundred miles on the road, I would not recommend this as a jacket for road riding (at least I wouldn't buy it at this price for that purpose).
The fit was odd (or maybe it's me - maybe I'm odd). I own an Alpha RoS Light in size L which fits typically for Castelli ("runs small"/ race fit). At 5'11 ~160ish the RoS light in L is form fitting and generally what I look for in riding gear. I had heard that the Elemento runs a touch big, so I stuck with the L in the hopes that I'd have a touch more room for layering. Instead, I got a lot - and I mean a lot - of extra room in the L Elemento. At my dimensions, it fits like a winter parka. It's like putting on my medium Patagonia ski jacket. It's just too big. I tried on a buddies medium Elemento and it was too tight across the chest and too short in the arms. This cut does not fit my body well - perhaps it will fit you better.
I really wanted to love this jacket as evidenced by a full month of trying to convince myself that it was worth the cost. Ultimately I returned the jacket and picked up the more versatile for my zone - and better fitting for my body - Castelli Alpha RoS 2.