Excellent shorts – these are really comfortable and very well made. Yes, the Castelli Free Aero bibs are expensive, but there’s a whole lot of performance engineered in here.
You get three different kinds of fabric in the lower section – a durable Lycra-esque material through the seat area, extra-stretchy ribbed sides, and slightly more breathable front panels. It’s all flat-stiched together and there are no seams on the inner thigh so you don’t get any chafing whatsoever as you rack up the big miles.
The two layer Progetto X2 pad is high quality too, giving you plenty of comfort without too much bulk. The thickness varies from 3mm around the edges to 12mm underneath your sit bones, and there's a seamless layer next to your body that both wicks sweat well and dries out fast to keep humidity to a minimum.
More and more brands are going for single-layer leg-grippers these days and Castelli’s Giro++ version is a fine example. It‘s really thin and lightweight, but we had no worries at all with the legs riding up, while a couple of subtle reflectives around the back improve visibility. As for the mesh bib section, it’s highly breathable and it doesn't cover up too much of your torso so you stay cool.
On the down side… well, to be honest, we’ve used these tons lately and we’ve got no particular gripes. The build quality is high and they look great too. We know the all-black version is the sensible choice for typical UK conditions – wet and white isn’t attractive, if you know what we’re saying – but we can’t help feeling strangely attracted to our colour option.
Okay, you can get some really good shorts for half the price, but these are right up there among the best.
Cool and comfy bib shorts with a superb all-round performance – but you have to pay a premium price
road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Free Aero bibshort
Size tested: white/black
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, they're excellent
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, if I had the cash
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 184cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.