Head to Head
In many ways, the Galibier Mistral Lite Foul Weather Jersey competes directly with the Castelli Gabba 2 Short Sleeve Jersey. The Gabba 2 retails anywhere between £70.00 and £150.00 depending on colour. The Mistral is £54.77 but you only have one colour choice.
It’s a love hate thing
I bought my Mistral Lite last year and I never really ‘got it’. It was heavy, hot and clammy. Because it was so hot, I rode with the zip down and it was flappy. Let’s be fair, I hated it.
Until this spring, it sat (unloved) in the cupboard until, on a whim, I pulled it out again. The bitter cold has gone, but night rides have been a succession of cold, drizzle and mud. Maybe this was what it has been waiting for.
My riding buddy Rich, has a Gabba and he loves it. So maybe I was missing something.
Matched with a short sleeved base layer and arm warmers, I have sallied forth into the damp and murk to get the grips with this shirt. Except it is more like a short sleeved jacket than a shirt. A characteristic I believe it shares with the Gabba.
The other night’s ride with Rich was a perfect example of ideal conditions for the Mistral. Cold, and getting colder. Persistent drizzle with back roads and trails covered with a coating of sloppy mud. If anything was going to test this thing, this was it.
Five minutes into the ride I was cold and thought about turning back for an extra layer. I was however, a little on the drag so I decided to press on. I needn’t have worried about being cold, because soon I wasn’t. The high collar (helped by a buff) kept out all the draughts, and I soon reached a decent working temperature.
A light, but cold, easterly whipped the heat from my (lower legs) – yes I only had knee warmers on! My fingers began to get chilled as did my feet. My core however, remained toasty.
It wasn’t long before the drizzle became annoying. Our glasses were either misted up, coated with moisture or mud, or a combination of all the above. My arm warmers were damp and the windchill was obvious, but not that bad. An hour later, it let up. My body was perfectly dry, no water had got in and yes, I was still warm.
You know that ‘boil in the bag’ feeling we all hate so much? The one uniquely associated with riding in shower or waterproofs? It just doesn’t happen.
As the ride progressed, it became colder and colder. My Garmin said it was 4 degrees, but the damp and mist made it feel much worse. Nevertheless, I remained warm enough, keeping a good, working, temperature throughout.
So how do I rate it?
At the bus stop, where we normally have a last few minutes natter when the ride is over and before heading to our separate homes, we compared notes. Basically, there was no difference. He was as warm and dry, as I was. The only real difference we could discern was cost. At a snip over £50.00 it seems the Mistral is as good as the Castelli – at least in purely functional terms. The moths in my wallet were less exercised than those in Rich’s so I reckon I am on a win there!
If you follow the link to the Galibier site, you will be able to read about the main features and technical aspects of the garment.
From my perspective then, the jersey is rugged and well made. I can’t see it falling apart in a hurry (it has survived a slide down the road without a mark).
It fits well and as long as you don’t have the zip fully undone, it doesn’t flap in the wind. It is plenty long enough at the back with grippers on the (long) tail to stop it riding up. I like it and thoroughly recommend it.
Maybe the only criticism, and this could just be a generic thing, is that it has a narrow range of use. Much colder and I’d argue that it wouldn’t be quite warm enough. I probably wouldn’t plan to use it much if the temperature hit double digits either. On a cold spring evening, it was absolutely perfect and I couldn’t have wanted anything else.
More colour choice would be nice. A bright orange option would help with visibility on dull days.
One thing though, don’t wear this without a base layer!
Last modified: 16th April 2018