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Castelli's Endurance 2 bib shorts sit in its mid to low range lineup. I've spent a good few months testing these shorts; they've joined me in racing, training camps, wet rides, hot rides and turbo sessions, and with around 2,500km of use, they certainly haven't disappointed. They're not perfect, but if you're looking for a high performing pair of bibs, these are a good choice.
First off, this might not come as a surprise but they do come up rather small. I am normally a medium in other brands' kit and I was a large in these.
Cut and construction are pretty good – they're breathable, owing to the large mesh sections, and provide a very supportive fit – yet when on tired legs, four hours into a wet training ride, I did start to notice little things. There are a few areas that I think could be improved.
Inevitably, given their panelled construction, there are differences in the stretch of the fabrics used and I found it a little too 'supportive' in places: this, in conjunction with the impressively secure gripper, meant they tended to pull on the thigh on the upstroke. Fortunately, this could be resolved by pulling the shorts up a little, so it's not a deal breaker.
Generally, the quality of construction is brilliant, as I have come to expect from Castelli, with perfect stitching and a general feel of quality throughout. However, I was surprised by the straps, definitely the low point of the design for me. They're breathable, yes, but feel narrow compared with the Attaquer All Day bib shorts I tested earlier in the year. It's by no means a reason not to buy the shorts, and it might not bother you at all – they didn't dig in, or particularly disgruntle me on long rides, they could simply be better constructed, especially as they are marketed as Castelli's flagship endurance short.
It's not all bad news. Truthfully, putting aside those two areas, I was impressed with how the Endurance 2 bibs performed. I found the length good, perhaps a little longer than most but certainly nothing to worry about, and it didn't make them any hotter than others – in fact they were extremely cool.
The Giro3 leg grippers were superb, possibly the best I've used. They hit the spot in terms of being secure without being too tight. Most shorts that fit as securely as these are tight and dig in around the leg openings. I couldn't agree more with the description: 'Giro3 leg grippers that hold it all in place without feeling too tight.'
These shorts are certainly geared towards warmer weather: they're light, cope with sweat well and are extremely breathable. Not once did I feel uncomfortable wearing them in 25+ degrees in Mallorca. Despite a large amount of the shorts being constructed from mesh, I was surprised never to feel too cold on the descents; they're thick in the right areas.
The chamois does the job but isn't my favourite. I prefer a thicker pad to absorb more of the road vibrations – like in the Attaquer All Day bib shorts. However, as the name suggests these are aimed at endurance riding, and in testing I have raced these shorts and ridden them hard in general. It might just be that the padding isn't quite as effective in an aggressive riding position. I've used others that suit me better.
At £125, and currently less than £100 on Wiggle and elsewhere, they're considerably cheaper than the likes of Attaquer and PEdAL ED but do sit above some Sportful and dhb examples. They are well priced given the heritage of Castelli, and are worth the money for how well they perform.
Overall, these shorts perform well. They're cool, have a good fit – though they could be a little stretchier for my liking – and are relatively comfortable for day to day use; if you get on better with the chamois than me, you'll like them even more.
A good pair of bibs for the money, but some areas could be improved
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Endurance 2 Bibshort
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Castelli says: "Our Endurance 2 bibshort continues the trend of bringing together our top-of-the-line Progetto X2 Air Seamless seat pad and the amazingly comfortable Giro3 leg gripper in an otherwise classic short. Not that the rest of the short cuts any corners: the Endurance Evolution fabric has a soft hand while providing good compression and excellent moisture management. This short offers amazing value and is ready to deliver lasting comfort on your longest rides."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Large mesh panels make up the construction. They incorporate wide leg grippers and Castelli's Progetto X2 pad.
A high standard of construction throughout, apart from the mesh straps.
Chamois was good, but not the best I've used. In all other areas they performed extremely well.
Early days but looking extremely durable, bar the Castelli logo starting to peel.
I'd like a little more stretch in the fabric; they were a little too supportive for my liking.
Go one size up.
They are light, if not the lightest available. The fabric weight seems a good middle ground: they can still be worn down to 10-15 degrees with knee warmers.
Not the most comfortable I've used. The Progetto X2 pad wasn't great for me, and the shorts felt a little tight – the fabric could be stretchier.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed well, though the Castelli logo has started peeling off.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They performed well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Work in a good temperature range and look really good.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The straps didn't feel to be of the same quality as the rest of the shorts.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're more expensive than similar Sportful/dhb offerings but less than the likes of PEdAL ED and Attaquer.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The bottom line is that I would buy them. They perform well and I could see myself using them on a daily basis. There are a few parts of the shorts that I would change, but overall they are a good option.
About the tester
I usually ride: Felt F1 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides