Castelli SG0.6 Short-Sleeve Base Layer

It’s a mouthful to say, for sure. It’s not the sort of thing you want to walk into a shop and ask for unless the shop is as well-versed in Castelli’s line as, say, the Apple Store is in iPhone Apps.

A few months ago I wanted to revisit the concept of the thermal bib, I requested a set of Castelli’s Claudio Bib Shorts. I’d been looking at different thermal bibs and an introduction to Castelli’s Nano material at Interbike (which involved a cup of water, four tired legs and a bench) led me to the conclusion that the Claudio was a fresh take on an old but rare idea.

The SG0.6 Short-Sleeve Base Layer was included in the package in, ‘Hey, check this out’ style. Initially, I didn’t appreciate its finer qualities, namely light weight and a wind-proof front. It’s a rare combination, but we weren’t far enough into the South Bay fall to call for anything of that ilk. Heck, even the Claudios were a stretch for that time of year.

I pulled the SG0.6 Short-Sleeve Base Layer out for the first time last week. I’ve done laundry almost every day since just so I can wear the base layer as routinely as humanly possible. It’s as wind-proof as aluminum sheeting but as light as saran wrap. The combination of gossamer weight and impervioutuity (new word, you heard it here first) to wind make it the perfect piece to pair with the Claudio Bib Shorts. Not that you need the Claudios to make use of this base layer, but honestly, if it’s cold enough to make you think that a pair of bib shorts made from Roubaix Lycra is a good and helpful thing, then this base layer will clarify that comfort isn’t as arbitrary as cell phone coverage in the mountains.

Anything this wind-proof would, based on a description alone, would make me think that it was front-heavy, as in thick like an incumbent and inflexible like a values-based PAC. What’s remarkable is just how wrong that assumption is. The SG0.6 material (I’m sorry, but that name is dumber than a trailer park in a flood plain) is one of those materials for which we probably pay a royalty to NASA. Nothing could be this windproof and light without having first been to space. Thank God they only use it in the front. The rest of the garment has to breathe like new wine to keep you from sweating to death under the SG0.6 material.

No matter. It seems more durable than my son’s forehead and it dries faster than sand in the desert, which means I should be able to get through this winter with only one of them. Good thing. The suggested retail on these is more than I’m willing to spend on an exquisite Pinot. Even on special on the Interwebs, they can go for $70, which is about what I expect to pay for the run-of-the-mill jersey, not a base layer.

As part of Castelli’s Rosso Corsa line, it was worn by the Cervelo Test Team; even if they didn’t win more often thanks to it, I can guarantee they were more comfortable for having it. The base layer comes in one color—white—and six sizes (S-3XL) so you should be able to find one that fits you. These run small though; if you’re a medium in most brands, you’ll be a large in the Castelli.

I shouldn’t be surprised that anything nearly bulletproof would be pricey, but it takes something akin to chutzpah to market a $100 base layer. It takes brilliance to make one worth the price, though.

If there’s a better winter base layer, I’ve yet to try it.

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7 comments

  1. Souleur

    thanks for that Padraig

    since your winter thermal bib write up, I have donned 2 pair of Hincapies fleece lined bibs for winter and admit that it is helpful. We don’t tend to think of these subtle things but they make a difference, and even a little in the raw cold north wind this time of year helps.

    Base layers helped me considerably last year, wool still is a standby for the very cold, but I could actually see myself using something of this nature for the raw days. I appreciate this idea.

  2. James

    Careful, Sarah Palin will probably hijack “impervioutuity” in her next speech! On a saner note, this base layer sounds great for winter riding. I’ll have to check it out. thanks


    1. Author
      Padraig

      James: No risk there. Too many syllables for her and too deliberate on my part. You gotta love someone who doesn’t know when they are inventing new words—and you should never trust anyone who sets out to do exactly that.

      I wore the base layer just this morning. Loved every blessed second of it, until I was inside and I wanted that wet thing off me.

  3. Steve

    Been looking for something that SG0.6 Short-Sleeve Base Layer seems to hit the bullseye on. Riding in the “winter” in LA, especially in the early AM, seems to really call out for something with good wind block capability all while retaining good wicking and breathability – especially as soon as you point the front wheel up hill. Will be checking this out. Thanks!

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  5. Hurl Everstone

    Padraig,

    your metaphor-laden post is insightful, but let’s face it. You South Bay/L.A. guys don’t ride in “winter” conditions. How do you think it would fare in the true tundra? Does it really breathe that well? Based on your last comment, – “I wanted that wet thing off me,” if it clams up the minute you stop moving, then it sounds as if it wouldn’t be the best choice for those of us north of the Mason/Dixon. Mpls is standing by, if you need a counterpoint tester.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Hurl: Minneapolis is to winter what Sam Adams Boston Lager is to beer: A damn fine example. Unlike the Sam Adams though, I gotta admit I don’t really feel like I’m needing that in my life. You’re right, Lalaland doesn’t have a true winter. In our defense my morning training rides in the winter are typically run in the 40s and sometimes the upper 30s. It does get chilly here, especially if you’re home by 8:00. My comment about being wet owes to the fact that our group rides here are still going pretty quick. I was sweaty when I got home.

      For really cold conditions, if you’re not going super-hard, this base layer will do a fine job in terms of breathability. Here’s the thing though: In my mind, a wind-proof base layer seems kind of silly if I’m riding when it’s 20 degrees F (or much, much colder). When I lived and rode in New England, I was inclined to get my wind-stopping done with the first layer. What the SG0.6 base layer does is extend the temperature range of your team kit. So, yes, you’re right, it might not be the best piece for you in the winter, but I bet you’ll love this thing once it’s spring and you’re back in your team kit.

      And thanks for the kind words. You’re a fun bunch to write for.

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