Updated: Castelli Sorpasso Bibtights  £160.00

8/10

Top-quality bib tights with tons of comfort. Pricey, but the seat pad is a bit special

Weight 289g   Contact  www.saddleback.co.uk

by Mat Brett   November 2, 2011  

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We first tested these tights a year ago - in November 2010 - so we thought we'd update our review to cover how we've got on with using them since then. Well I say "we", what I mean is "I"… you can take team bonding too far y'know. The price for this winter, 2011-12, remains the same at £160.

These bib tights are from Castelli’s Rosso Corsa line, which means that they’re a top-of-the-range option from the Italian clothing specialists.

What makes them so special? For a start, the seatpad is excellent. Castelli’s Progetto X2 design comes in two separate parts. There’s a soft and stretchy single-thickness layer next to your skin that wicks sweat away and dries out really fast. Then, underneath that, there’s the meat of the padding. Different areas are different depths up to a combined maximum of 12mm beneath your perineum and sit bones.

The two layers can move independently – they’re not stitched together, a bit like you find in double-layered running socks – so the fabric next to your skin doesn’t rub as you move about, but stays put. The bottom line (ahem!) is that we stayed really comfortable even on rides of 100 miles and more. We like the design a lot.

The tights themselves are made from two different types of fabric: Thermoflex, which is essentially a soft and fleecy roubaix fabric, and Thermoflex Core Due, which has a red underside that shows through slightly when it’s stretched. This is used for various panels including the seating area and the knees, and Castelli reckon it provides more insulation and wicking than traditional fabrics thanks to a hollow core polyester inner layer that traps warm air and shifts moisture. It’s also supposed to feel dry when wet and be much lighter than normal too.

Interesting claims – and ones that made us skeptical, to say the least. Come on, the road.cc microscope isn’t powerful enough to see whether fabric fibres are hollow like macaroni – Castelli could tell us anything. So we did our own not-very-scientific testing involving a five-mile loop, a watering can, and a couple of unsuspecting volunteers… Actually Castelli aren't the only manufacturer to use hollow fibre polyester - Craft use something similar for their cold-weather base layers. Oh, and polar bear fur is hollow too to do just the same job (oh yes, we're full of irrelevant interesting information today).

Anyway back to our test, there's not a vast difference between the two fabrics when they're dry, although the Thermoflex Core Due does feel a touch warmer. Once we’d made them damp, though, the Thermoflex Core Due was much better, feeling significantly warmer than the other sections and drying faster. The tights as a whole offer a good level of insulation. You might want windproofing when the temperature gets really cold, but these will see you well into single figures centigrade. 

Plus, these are the lightest brush-backed bib tights I have. It's not that I'm bothered either way about a little bit of weight, it's the fact that these are so easy to move in for the level of warmth they offer that makes the difference.

The seams in the lowers aren’t flat-stitched but the panels are arranged so that there’s no rubbing around the knees where any awkward ridges can be a pain – a single, unobtrusive seam runs along the side and it's no trouble at all. Rattle-free ankle zippers make it easy to get them on and off while reflective piping down there gives you extra visibility where it’s most noticeable (unless it's covered up by your overshoes).

Speaking of overshoes, the silicone rubber on the outside of the ankle cuff is an interesting feature too. Most manufacturers put it on the inside but positioned externally it can grab hold of the overshoes that you’ll probably be wearing and stop the legs riding up. It works well.

The uppers are unusual in that the straps are made from a stretchy single-layer band. Castelli call it their Giro++ fabric and, along with a mesh back panel, it holds them in place comfortably. In fact, these are really comfortable tights all round. They feel great in use – no worries at all on that score.

Last year I wondered whether the logos on the legs would soon start to crack and look tired. Much use later, they're still looking good; not absolutely brand new but they're not peeling at the corners or anything like that.

In fact, the tights as a whole are lasting well. There's the tiniest amount of wear on one side of the seat and there's an equally small area of wear at the front where it looks like a zip or some Velcro has caught a couple of threads. That's pretty normal stuff and you have to look really close to spot either. Everything else is perfect: the stitching, the seat pad, the zips and so on.

Are these worth £160, though? You could get three pairs of budget padded tights for this kind of money, so if you’re after a bargain you’re going to want to look elsewhere. That said, if these continue to last as well as they have so far, they're not going to need replacing for ages, so you'll soon start to recoup some of the initial outlay. The main reason you’d buy these is because they’re premium quality with some excellent design features. They’ve become my bib tights of choice for days when I don’t need windproofing.

Verdict

Top-quality bib tights with tons of comfort. Pricey, but the seat pad is a bit special

road.cc test report

Make and model: Castelli Sorpasso Bibtights

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Castelli say, "We’ve put all our best technologies into this exceptional tight. Progetto X2 seat pad, Giro++ straps, and a mix of fabrics, including our Thermoflex Core Due. By applying the technical advancement of hollow-core fibers, we’ve made these tights not only lighter than your normal tights but also warmer—and they keep you drier. Now you’re ready to put in those long base rides all winter long."

See the body of our review for comments on all of those features.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
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

Would you consider buying the product? Yes, even though they're pricey

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 190cm  Weight: 74kg

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: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, triathlon

 

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

If these Rosso Corsa line bibtights are anything like the 'top of the range' Castelli Rosso Corsa gloves then they will fall apart after the second washing.

posted by lokikontroll [51 posts]
18th November 2010 - 17:12

28 Likes

We've put them through the wash maybe a dozen or 15 times... something like that. They're fine so far.

posted by Mat Brett [1899 posts]
18th November 2010 - 17:30

32 Likes

My recent experience with Castelli is that the quality is top notch - first ride out in my Sorpasso tights yesterday - over 2 hours at around freezing without a worry. OK they don't have any windproof panels, but the fit and comfort is second-to-none. Haven't worn anything this good since I went sliding down the road in a pair of Assos Airblocks a few years ago!

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [366 posts]
6th December 2010 - 22:36

31 Likes

I have since purchased these Rosso Corsa Sorpasso bib tights and wanted to report that they are wonderful indeed. The review was spot on.

Warm and exceedingly comfortable. The are also holding up to multiple washings with no problem. Highly recommended.

posted by lokikontroll [51 posts]
29th January 2011 - 23:37

30 Likes

Looking forward to a second winter in my Sorpassos. Had the misfortune to end up in the frozen canal on Boxing Day due to an 'ice-shute' incident - had to ride home 8 miles, soaking wet at minus 10 degrees - everything else was freezing cold, ice formed on my clothing apart from my legs! (This is not a recommended test protocol!)

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [366 posts]
2nd November 2011 - 19:42

29 Likes

monty dog wrote:
Looking forward to a second winter in my Sorpassos. Had the misfortune to end up in the frozen canal on Boxing Day due to an 'ice-shute' incident - had to ride home 8 miles, soaking wet at minus 10 degrees - everything else was freezing cold, ice formed on my clothing apart from my legs! (This is not a recommended test protocol!)

I thought we were extremely thorough in our testing until I read this. Now I'm feeling like a lightweight. We'll have to up our game.

posted by Mat Brett [1899 posts]
3rd November 2011 - 16:43

27 Likes

lokikontroll wrote:
If these Rosso Corsa line bibtights are anything like the 'top of the range' Castelli Rosso Corsa gloves then they will fall apart after the second washing.

incidentally i've been wearing a pair of those gloves for six months now and they're doing just fine. the velcro has torn some of the lettering off the back but other than that, all good. what happened to yours?

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7425 posts]
3rd November 2011 - 17:47

28 Likes

Mat Brett wrote:
I thought we were extremely thorough in our testing until I read this. Now I'm feeling like a lightweight. We'll have to up our game.

Don't let that stop you, I'm not getting precious or anything and happy to share the joy...

Just ridden 6 miles in torrential rain in mine, water was over my ankles at one point but legs were still toasty.

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [366 posts]
4th November 2011 - 11:06

25 Likes

My corsa top started to come adrift at the seams and didnt stand up well to washing at the correct temperatures very dissapointed i wont be buying any more form this brand at the prices they are trying to charge Cool

andrew miners's picture

posted by andrew miners [46 posts]
8th November 2011 - 16:12

29 Likes

had these through the worst of this winter and love them - no quality issues and superbly comfy on the early season long rides up to 100 miles, and better than my heavier weight Assos. Warm down to -5 so far and only the strong bitter cold winds have even started to make the legs feel chilled, which is wear the heavy windproof Assos versions win out. Highly recommended if you can stomach the price.

posted by Bigpikle [66 posts]
2nd March 2012 - 16:03

26 Likes

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