Castelli Free Aero bibshort  £130.00

9/10

Cool and comfy bib shorts with a superb all-round performance – but you have to pay a premium price

Weight 186g   Contact  www.saddleback.co.uk

by Mat Brett   June 13, 2010  

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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.

Verdict

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

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

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

Overall rating: 9/10

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,

10 user comments

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So by "Free", they actually meant "Equivalent to two days after tax earnings for someone on the average national wage"?? I'm sure there must be a breach of the description of goods laws there somewhere.

posted by Mynydd.Mawr [28 posts]
16th June 2010 - 17:12

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What size did you test? Currently it says "Size tested: white/black"!

On your other tests you're listed as 190cm 74Kg. If that's the case, what's the fit/sizing like?

Thanks, Matt. Smile

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
22nd August 2011 - 17:33

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More specifically, I'm 189 and 75kg. My measurements are very close to the Castelli Medium sizing chart (chest/waist/hips). I tried on a Castelli Prologo jersey in Medium and it fits well. Unfortunately I can't find anywhere that sells the shorts to try.

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
25th August 2011 - 15:47

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Hi Matt_S, you're about the same size as me. Not sure why I've been relegated to 184cm on this review - I'm 189 or 190cm and 75kg.

I also take a medium Castelli jersey, but the shorts I have are large and they're definitely the right size for me. So I'd suggest large; I can't see them being too big for you. Good luck

posted by Mat Brett [1863 posts]
25th August 2011 - 18:29

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Thanks, Mat.

I just found some Castelli Velocissimo bibs in Evans. Tried s/m/l and medium was definitely the winner. S->M seemed like a bigger jump than M->L.

I have quite long legs (relatively that is - I think long legs are a given at 189!) so maybe my average size torso fitted the mediums ok.

That said, I see in some people say the Velocissimo's come up bigger than Castelli's other bibs, and also that the Free Aero and Body Paint ones come up a bit smaller. ('flatter the masses' vs. 'pro fit' maybe?)

I think their jersey sizing differs by product, too. The Podio jersey is much closer fitting than the Prologo one for the same size.

Decisions, decisions...

Maybe just get 'em from Wiggle so I can return for free with Collect+ if need be.

Thanks again. Smile

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
25th August 2011 - 20:26

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I'll drop a mail to Castelli's UK distributor, Saddleback, and see if they have any advice on that.

posted by Mat Brett [1863 posts]
25th August 2011 - 21:10

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Awesome. Thanks. Cool

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
25th August 2011 - 23:45

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Castelli: word from Saddleback is, "All the Castelli shorts and now the jerseys are the same size across the board. If you a large Free Aero, you are a large Velocissimo. Simples."

posted by Mat Brett [1863 posts]
26th August 2011 - 12:32

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Great, Thanks. Best get the plastic out...

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
26th August 2011 - 14:59

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Hmm. I think Saddleback may be towing the party line on this one. I just managed to try Velocissimo and Presto side by side and the Presto large are very slightly tighter than the Velocissimo medium.

I'm now utterly befuddled. Confused

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
26th August 2011 - 17:09

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