Over the past several years, Castelli hasn't been shy about making extraordinary claims for its foul-weather kit. That's because the brand behind the iconic red scorpion logo has been making foul-weather kit extraordinary enough to live up to those claims. With the Potenza Men's Jersey, Castelli has once again reset our expectations by building a jersey/jacket thing that combines wind-resistance, thermal insulation, high breathability, and a water-resistant finish.
Those are big claims, we know, but Castelli tested them by giving the Potenza to a few professionals to try, and the brand reports that they are clamoring for race versions. There isn't currently one in the works, though, which means that—like with disc brakes and sub-15lb bikes—we consumers get access to stuff before the pros themselves.
The Potenza consists entirely of a single fabric, Polartec's Power Stretch fleece. Given Castelli's penchant for targeted constructions comprising multiple fabrics at strategic locations throughout the jersey, this relatively short ingredients list gave us pause. We found ourselves reflexively scanning the spec sheet for the inevitable "stretch inserts" that are often credited with compensating for the lack of breathability and inconsistent stretch-and-return properties of most foul-weather fabrics. We never found them because they aren't needed.
Power Stretch breathes, wicks, and stretches more like a base layer than an outer layer, but its densely woven knit and hard-face finish give it the durability and wind-resistance of a light jacket. When hit with a DWR treatment, the result is a top that blurs the gap between thermal jerseys and winter jackets by combining the breathable stretch of the former with the warmth and light elemental protection of the latter. It isn't water- or windproof, but that hard face finish does cut the winter chill and light precipitation and road spray beads up to be shaken off without penetrating.
Though Castelli doesn't call it out in its own catalogue, the Potenza is finished with full windproof protection at the throat and across the leading edge of the upper chest/shoulders, protecting an exposed area that often gets overlooked. The rest of the jersey's finishing touches exhibit a similar comfort-first ethos, including the lie-flat, bonded waistband and the CrossWrap wrist closures, which slide under gloves for plenty of protective overlap.
While layering, we find that the Potenza functions as a stand-alone layer in fall and spring or a super domestique base layer under a shell in the most violent depths of winter. When sized up, the Potenza's slim jersey fit becomes a layering jacket fit, letting you pop a thermal top underneath for dry days when you just need more warmth. Regardless of when you wear it, the Potenza is the very avatar of utility; it's finished with the erstwhile standard of three rear pockets, which is supplemented with the new standard of a fourth, zippered pocket, which is in turn updated with a zippered chest pocket. This frees up the three rear pockets for stowing thermal accessories by providing ample space for personal effects in the fourth and fifth pockets.
- Castelli's latest thermal cycling jersey revelation
- Thermal material is tightly knit to resist wind
- Breathes and stretches better than fully windproof membranes
- Additional wind protection on throat and upper chest
- Slim fit and soft finish recommend it as a mid-layer
- Low profile cuffs and bonded, lie-flat hem
- Five pockets, two of which zip closed
- Reflective details help keep you visible when the light falls
- Q & A
Potenza Jersey or Jacket?
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
- Fit: Runs small
- Size Bought: XL
Used today for the first time with a Flanders warm base layer. The avg temp was 57deg with constant drizzle and 5-15 mph winds. The jersey kept me dry and warm which made me wonder is this a jacket? If you don't have this item, do yourself a favor and get one! This jersey is well worth the money.
Potenza jersey rocks!
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
- Fit: Runs small
- Size Bought: XL
This takes the top spot in my closet away from my Transparent 3 Wind Jersey. Both are good in similar temps but the Potenza is more comfortable with its fleecy interior combined with its stretch.
I bought my typical XL Castelli size. Some reviews on other sites say to go with your street size but I knew I would be wearing this mostly as an outer layer/light jacket and I am glad I went with the XL. Just a slight amount of extra room in the lats and arms but by no means would I consider it baggy(Most of my tops are race fit which I like). Although this is very stretchy and comfortable, if you go with your street size on this you will only be able to comfortably fit a base layer under this.
As I mentioned this jersey has a lot of stretch with a nice fleecy interior. The outer part of the fabric has a treatment that makes water bead off. I wear this primarily as a 3rd outer layer in 48F-63F weather. Standard base layer, short or long sleeve standard jersey, and the Potenza for the outer layer. From 55F or below your arms will be cold for the first 20 minutes if they are not covered with an additional layer under the Potenza.
I love this jersey so much I bought a second.