If we’re going slaying, it might as well be in red
October 2014 and the weather is having a field day. We on the other hand are not. Don’t get me wrong, people are out, and riding hard, but bringing the outdoors back indoors with us isn’t what we, nor our families have in mind. The amount of times we’ve returned home, only to be thrown a towel and instructed to go back outside to dry off, because we’re dripping wet, isn’t the heroes welcome we’re all hoping for. And so the search begins for an alternative for foul weather clothing.
For the past year or so, the Castelli Gabba has compelled many of us. It’s background story and its presence in the pro-peloton is a strong argument for its adoption. A number of characteristics also make it popular amongst the Baroudeurs: firstly it does what it claims to do – protect you better than a standard jersey; it fits beautifully whatever your shape; it comes in a variety of cool hues that match our team colours – and despite what everyone may say, black is badass – the reflective trim, and white and red detailing can’t be ignored by either motorist, or fellow cyclist.
Innovation followed by progress?
The Gabba – well thought through, tough and cool, this could be it; the jersey that says as much about your approach to cycling as your choice of bicycle. But if you’re like me, a stubborn one, you start questioning: why isn’t it waterproof? Why can’t you get it customised? Is there an alternative? Enter the Parentini Mossa.
How to dry your Gabba? Utilise the local cafe’s heating
What is it?
Before we continue, one thing to note is that 10 members of the team currently use the Mossa; with 4 of us owning both the Gabba and the Mossa. All of which, we’ve paid for from our own pockets. As such, we think it’s only fair that this review be put together by as many of us as possible. It will give frank opinions from people of different sizes, genders, who all love riding and racing their bikes.
At the time, our team kit maker were open, saying they didn’t have a jersey that could compete with the Gabba – which is a shame, as Velotec continue to be our choice supplier. On the other hand, Castelli seem to only supply Gabba’s to either pro-teams, or those sponsored in the US – their Euro custom site currently show 10 jerseys options, none of which include the Gabba. Then we got an email from Ali at Zetta Distribution, who is the main dealer for Parentini in the UK. His introduction of the Mossa got us talking. Expectations are high, as Parentini claim that their Mossa is everything we have hoped for in the Gabba, and more. Namely, it is waterproof!
You can tell Ali is passionate about the range of products he represents. The humble jersey is no less important to him. We talk from January through to April 2015 to get things just right. He describes the Mossa as the “Gabba slayer”; revealing that the Mossa’s difference is in both the way the Windtex Storm-Shield material is used and how the jersey is cut. As many cyclists before us know, Windtex has been around for some time, but has failed miserably in living up to it’s expectations. What previous developers had failed to realise is that by ‘messing’ around with the fabric, the material’s much sought after properties were being considerably reduced. And so the makers, Vagotex now insist that developers agree on production techniques that allow the material to perform the way it was designed to. Parentini, realising the opportunity, are one of the first to agree to practice this, and as a result have come up with the Mossa.
So that’s what they tell us, but let’s take it out on the road and see.
Crazy Legs and the Bear – anyone else out there?
Yes, we need to know if it can perform. But first things first; whenever there’s new kit, we can all agree that its like Christmas happening all over again. So let’s enjoy this moment and look at what you get when you unwrap the packet. (Click pics to enlarge)
Upon opening, the colours and sublimation instantly pop with quality. All the details are clear and plush. Unlike other products, there’s no stick-on motifs, or silly prints that will eventually peel off. However, they haven’t got our shield on the rear pocket exactly right – a surprise really, when our design-proofs and the ‘B’ everywhere else makes for a good reference.
As for feel, the Windtex fabric is far removed from the Gabba. Where the Castelli jersey is spongy-smooth, the Parentini offering is silky-smooth, super stretchy, and thin as a summer jersey, that you can’t wait to put it on.
There’s always an incline with the Captain
Like never before, sizing has become somewhat of an obsession with cyclists, and the cycling jersey is no exception. Once on there’s a noticeable difference to the Gabba. How can we not compare? The Gabba is snug, fitting, and flattering. Whereas, the Mossa feels reassuringly light, but immediately wide and short – wide under the armpits and short in the front. We’ve been informed to expect this, but all the same, it feels disconcerting. We understand that this is to avoid ‘bunching’, particularly when in the tuck position, but you feel your tummy is excessively exposed. And more so when you find yourself walking around in public, because we’re not always going to be on the bike!
As a reference, I’m 5’9, 75 kilos, with a 97cm chest, and according to Parentini my sizing should be leaning towards a medium. The Captain pictured above, is 6’2 and 73 kilos and is seen above wearing a medium too. It took several comparissons of ‘umming and ahhing’ between the medium and the large to ensure the right fit. After all, Parentini are keen to point out that in order for the jersey to do its job well, it needs to be ‘race fit.’
And this is where we have a difference in opinion. When you look around, many people have questioned the cut, and although we were told that Parentini would extend the length of the front, this did not happen. What’s more, none of the reviews currently out there talk of the excessive tapering from armpit to waist. Is it just us? You’d need to be sculpted like Hercules to make this work. Personally, I would happily sacrifice the cosy high neck for a longer length on the torso, but why should we have to sacrifice when ordering custom?
It is curious to see that their version 2 offering looks very similar to the cut of the Gabba that we believe to be an ideal fit.
Okay, that’s when you’re standing; on the bike it’s a different matter. You couldn’t get more different body shapes than the Captain, who is tall and slim, and Disco, being short and stocky, but both found the Mossa to be loose and flappy where it really shouldn’t be; up front, and around the armpits, when in the tuck. No matter what size we tried, we didn’t get that satisfying feeling you instantly get with a good fitting jersey. Consolation came from all places, the clever rear storm flap. Some would say it’s too short, but unlike the Gabba, which often snags on the saddle, many of us found it to be just right on the Mossa.
We still wanted to see if our investment was worth it when riding in the conditions it was designed for. And so we waited for the rain.
Bearing the unknown
Testing Times – a look by BFJ
Here’s what fellow Baroudeurs had to say when putting the Mossa through its paces:
“The first real test was the Isle of Man end2end Challenge. We started in heavy rain and finished in warm sunshine. The Mossa kept me dry and kept the chill out. When others were stopping to put on a shell or take it off I just rode by. As the temperature rose the full length zip allowed me to keep cool. On the road it is comfortable and keeps short showers out and drys quickly. It’s comfortable when worn without a base layer; add a wool base layer on cold days. Overall really impressed with the Mossa both on and off road.”
“By far the best jersey I’ve ever had” – a look by Cosmic
Comparing the two – a look by EG
Would I get one again?
- shoulders are cut more square
- the torso is lengthened and not so tapered
- the inside collar shouldn’t really be white (I think you mentioned that before)
A Womans fit – a fans perspective
We unanimously agree that the Mossa v.1 works as a customised team kit. With excellent workmanship; regularly drawing interest from people we meet on the road, especially when coming in from a storm. However, it divides us as to whether we would continue having the Mossa v.1 as a mainstay of our wardrobe. Half of us love it, the other half hide it in the back of the cupboard. And this comes down to sizing. Despite having tried our very best to order the recommended size, some of us are still confused by the cut. This isn’t all bad, because we quite like our gilets and other pieces of kit.
Is it, or isn’t it waterproof?
Yes, we do agree that the Windtex material is fully waterproof, but without taped seams, the rain, in our part of the UK anyway, eventually finds its way through after a couple of hours. It’s nothing close to a soaking that will freeze you, but enough to make you head home, and insist that this be resolved. What it does well is taking care of your core temperature when riding at tempo levels or above. On the outside, anything above 9ºC and you’ll want to swap it for a standard jersey. With over 6 months of regular use, across 3 seasons, the Mossa retains its form and looks like new after each wash.
When you consider that the design proofs didn’t match the final product – the inside of the collar is white, when it should be black, and the ‘B’ on the pocket doesn’t match the ‘B’ above it, you have to wonder if a small entrepreneurial outfit that didn’t get the details right, can ever match the likes of Castelli and slay the Gabba? We do hope so, because they’re definitely moving in the right direction.
So, if you want to take the worry out of what to wear in foul weather, consider the Mossa as a very good option, but try it on first. And if you’re customising for your team, ensure you get written confirmation on all your designs. We haven’t got our hands on v.2 to look over the improvements, but it looks like Parentini are listening to its customers and are addressing the concerns we’ve mentioned above.
Thank you, BFJ, Boony, Captain, Cosmic and EG for your help in putting this together.
What’s been your experience with the Mossa? Leave your feedback in comments section below. Thanks!