Assos vs Castelli vs Rapha Cycling Clothing Comparison

Founder, Mr. Mamil

Have you ever wondered how three of the leading cycling clothing brands compare?

Having worn Assos, Castelli, and Rapha clothing for many years, they are undoubtedly the best brands for cycling clothing.

In this article, I’ll compare Assos, Castelli, and Rapha clothing product lineups for you to understand better what they offer.

Assos, Castelli, and Rapha clothing lineup

Being established brands, Assos, Castelli, and Rapha have a full range of cycling clothing from head to toe.

Assos’ lineup is split into two;

  • EQUIPE Racing Series (top-of-the-line, race fit)
  • MILLE Comfort Series (mid to top-of-the-line, relaxed fit)

Castelli’s lineup can be broadly categorized into two;

  • Rosso Corsa is reserved for Castelli’s top-of-the-line clothing and is denoted by RC. It uses the best materials, and sizing is race cut.
  • Regular is everything else, from budget to mid-range.

Rapha’s lineup is easily understood and can be categorized into five;

  • Pro Team (top of the line, race fit)
  • Core (budget to mid-tier, relaxed fit)
  • Classic (budget to mid-tier, relaxed fit)
  • Brevet (mid-tier, insulated, relaxed fit)
  • Trail (gravel and mtb)

The tables below show some popular Assos, Castelli, and Rapha clothing models.

Assos, Castelli, and Rapha jerseys

Intended useAssosCastelliRapha
Aero, raceEquipe RS Jersey S9 Targa
Aero Race 6.0 Jersey
Pro Team Aero Jersey
Lightweight, hot weatherEquipe RSR Jersey Superleger S9
Climber’s 3.0 Jersey ($140)Pro Team Jersey ($165)
Training, comfortMille GT Jersey C2 Shifter
Endurance Elite Jersey
Pro Team Training Jersey
Every day, comfortMille GT Jersey C2
Prologo Jersey
Core Jersey
Classic design, comfortn/aClassifica Jersey
Classic Jersey 2
Assos vs Castelli vs Rapha jerseys
More reading : Castelli Jerseys Comparison, Details and Pricing

Assos, Castelli, and Rapha jackets

Intended useAssosCastelliRapha
Winter jacketEquipe RS Winter Jacket Johdah ($725)Alpha RoS 2 Jacket
Pro Team Winter Jacket ($250)
Wind jacketMille GT Wind Jacket
Aria Shell Jacket ($140)Brevet Flyweight Wind Jacket ($175)
Rain jacket (Race fit)Equipe RS Rain Jacket Targa
Idro Pro 3 Jacket
Pro Team Gore-Tex Jacket
Rain jacket (Regular fit)Mille GT Clima Jacket Evo
Emergency 2 Jacket
Core Rain Jacket 2
All-rounder jacketEquipe RS Alleycat Clima Capsule ($265)Perfetto RoS Jacket
Pro Team Insulated Jacket
Assos vs Castelli vs Rapha jackets

Assos, Castelli, and Rapha bibs

Intended useAssosCastelliRapha
Premium, raceEquipe RSR Bib Short S9 Targa ($350)Free Aero RC Bib Short
Pro Team Bib Shorts 2 ($270)
Lightweight, hot weatherEquipe RSR Bib Short Superleger S9 ($300)Superleggera Bib Short ($240)Classic Flyweight Bib Short ($215)
Everyday useMille GT Bib Shorts C2
Competizione Bib Short
Core Bib Short
Spring/fall (bib short)Equipe RS Spring Fall Bib Short S9
Nano Flex Pro Race Bib Short
Pro Team Winter Bib Short
Spring/fall (¾ length)Mille GT Knicker ($199)Tutto Nano Bib Knicker ($155)¾ Bib Short ($250)
Winter (premium)Equipe RS Winter Bib Tight S9 ($439)Sorpasso RoS Wind Bib Tight
Pro Team Winter Tight
Winter (budget)Mille GT Winter Bib Tight ($219)Tutto Nano Bibtight ($180)Core Winter Tight ($150)
GravelXC Bib Short ($239)Unlimited Bib Short ($150)Cargo Bib Short ($270)
Assos vs Castelli vs Rapha bibs
More reading : Castelli Bib Shorts Comparison, Details and Pricing

Assos, Castelli, and Rapha base layers

Intended useAssosCastelliRapha
SummerNS Skin Layer Superleger ($90)Pro Issue Sleeveless
Pro Team Base Layer ($60)
Spring/fallSpring Fall SS Skin Layer ($95)Prosecco Tech Short Sleeve ($90)Merino Base Layer ($80)
WinterWinter LS Skin Layer
Flanders Warm Long Sleeve
Pro Team Thermal Base Layer
Assos vs Castelli vs Rapha base layers

Assos, Castelli, and Rapha gloves

Intended useAssosCastelliRapha
Summer (Premium)RSR Speed Gloves ($90)Espresso Glove
Pro Team Mitts ($70)
Summer (Everyday use)GT Gloves C2 ($60)Competizione Glove 2 ($40)Core Mitts ($40)
Spring/fallSpring Fall Gloves
Perfetto Light Glove
Classic Glove
Winter (Premium)Ultraz Winter Gloves ($125)Espresso GT Glove ($120)Deep Winter Glove ($190)
Winter (Everyday use)Winter Gloves ($89)Entrata Thermal Glove ($60)Winter Glove ($110)
Assos vs Castelli vs Rapha gloves

Assos, Castelli, and Rapha socks and shoe covers

Intended useAssosCastelliRapha
SummerRSR Socks ($28)Pro 15 Socks
Pro Team Socks ($20)
WinterUltraz Winter Socks ($25)Gregge 15 Socks ($20)Pro Team Winter Socks ($30)
Overshoes (Aero)RSR Speed Booties
Fast Feet TT Shoecover
Pro Team Overshoes
Overshoes (Wind protection)GT Winter Booties ($100)Perfetto Shoecover ($90)Winter Overshoes ($60)
Overshoes (Water protection)RS Rain Booties ($100)Diluvio Pro Shoecover ($70)Wet Weather Overshoes ($110)
Toe coverSpring Fall Toe Cover C2 ($45)Toe Thingy 2 ($25)Toe Cover (40)
Assos vs Castelli vs Rapha socks and shoe covers

Assos, Castelli, and Rapha sizing

Rapha and Castelli sizing are true to size throughout the range except for the Pro Team and Rosso Corsa range. The jerseys for these run smaller, and many cyclists tend to go one (or two sizes) up if they’re purchasing the Pro Team or Rosso Corsa range.

Rapha has a Jersey Downsize Offer where they will provide a 50% discount on the new jersey size. There is a simple application form to fill up together with a photo of yourself in a current jersey.

Assos doesn’t publish their size charts anymore. Instead, they use an interactive calculator where you enter your height, weight, and age. Based on their database, the calculator will then suggest your ideal size and indicate if the clothing is very tight, tight, or loose fit at the chest, waist, and hip areas.

Where to buy Assos, Castelli, and Rapha

Rapha clothing is available on its official website with worldwide shipping. They’re also available at their clubhouses in North America (8), Europe (7), and Asia (6). In recent years, Rapha has also partnered with selected local bike shops and made their clothing available there.

Castelli clothing is widely available from large retailers such as Competitive Cyclist (North America), Wiggle (Europe), Pushys (Australia), and many local bike shops. In recent years, Castelli has been growing their online shop.

Assos clothing is available on their website and in major cycling retailers. They offer a 10% discount for first-time customers who sign up for their newsletter.

Crash and repair services

RepairsFirst 30 daysNot availableFree, lifetime
Assos vs Castelli vs Rapha crash and repair services

Rapha offers free lifetime repair services for most of their clothing as long as valid proof of purchase can be presented. Check Rapha’s website for the list of excluded clothing. The repair duration can take up to four weeks, depending on material and resource availability.

Castelli doesn’t offer crash and repair services at the moment.

Assos will repair the clothing for free if damaged within the first 30 days of purchase. Beyond that, there might be a cost involved and is evaluated case-by-case basis.

Returns and exchanges

Return period30 days30 days90 days
Assos vs Castelli vs Rapha returns and exchanges

Rapha accepts returns and exchanges for up to 90 days for unused items. The return postage is free, or you can walk into any of the Rapha clubhouses.

Castelli accepts free returns for up to 30 days for unused items purchased from their website. For Castelli clothing purchased elsewhere, check the merchant’s return policy. There are no exchange services available.

Assos accepts free returns for a full refund within 30 days of purchase. The item must be unused and in its original packaging.

History of Assos, Castelli, and Rapha

Assos was started by Tony Maier-Moussa, a keen cyclist and skier, in 1976 in Switzerland. His initial product was a carbon bike, but he pivoted to creating Lycra cycling shorts due to logistical difficulties in obtaining the carbon materials. His wife, Elaine Maier-Moussa came up with the name Assos, which means the first, the best in Greek. Assos remained a family business until 2015 when the family sold a majority stake to an investment group.

Castelli was founded in Milan in 1876 by a tailor named Vittore Gianni. It wasn’t until 1910 that Vittore Gianne started manufacturing cycling clothing. In 1939, Armando Castelli, who had worked for Vittore Gianni since 1935, bought over the business and renamed it Castelli. The famous Castelli scorpion logo that we know today was conceived in 1974 and has gone through several revisions in the last 50 years.

Rapha was founded in London by Simon Mottram and Luke Scheybeler in 2004. Simon Mottram was a director of brand consultancy at Interbrand and a trained accountant before Rapha. Simon was the face of Rapha for its first decade of existence. Luke Scheybeler, Rapha’s creative director, designed the distinctive left arm stripe. Luke left Rapha in 2009 to set up Scheybeler+Company.

Owners of Assos, Castelli, and Rapha

Assos is majority-owned by an investment group consisting of New York private equity firm TZP Group, Greg Avis, and Philip N. Duff, currently the CEO.

Castelli is owned by MVC Group, a leading high-performance cycling and winter sports clothing manufacturer. MVC Group also owns other brands, such as Sportful and Karpos.

Rapha is majority-owned by RZC Investments after a £150 million deal in early 2017. RZC Investments is run by Steuart and Tom Walton (grandsons of Sam Walton, who founded Walmart). Simon Mottram and private equity firm Active Investors still hold a minority stake in Rapha.

Alex Lee at Mr.Mamil

Alex Lee is the founder and editor-at-large of Mr. Mamil. Coming from a professional engineering background, he breaks down technical cycling nuances into an easy-to-understand and digestible format here.

He has been riding road bikes actively for the past 12 years and started racing competitively in the senior category during the summer recently.