Castelli has launched its new all-weather Premio Black bib shorts which are made from a single engineered fabric that's designed to support the body like a second skin. Castelli says that the structure of this fabric varies in different areas, allowing it to reduce the number of panels, seams, and inserts to a minimum to improve comfort and performance. It also says that this is its biggest launch since the introduction of its much-imitated Gabba jersey in 2013.
Tabs are designed to stop the thin, flat straps from bunching, while a specific weave is used instead of silicone to hold the lower legs in place with a flush finish. The Premio Blacks are intended for everyone, says Castelli, not just racers or serious enthusiasts.
After launching its performance shorts for hot temperatures, the Superleggera Bibshorts, last summer, Castelli says it saw the potential for a version of the Superleggera made for all weather conditions and giving even more comfort.
“We set about making a slightly heavier version with nontransparent fabric on the legs, even more muscle support through the legs and hips, and a softer and more comfortable bib strap system,” says Castelli.
The Italian brand has reduced the number of panels, seams and inserts by incorporating them into a single engineered fabric for a close-fitting smooth feel—just three panels make up the shorts.
“The engineered stretch-woven fabric is smooth for aerodynamics and body-mapped to the needs of each part of the body,” says Castelli.
“This short wouldn’t be possible without the state-of-the-art engineered weave fabric created exclusively for Castelli,” says the Italian brand.
So what’s so exciting about this material compared to other blends used in shorts? The Premio Blacks have a papery feel. Castelli explains that this is because the fabric is constructed like a woven fabric such as denim, poplin, or taffeta, rather than knitted. This woven process is said to give a thinner, denser, and more durable fabric that’s extremely abrasion-resistant. Lycra has also been added to give the stretch since woven fabrics aren’t normally elastic.
“The advantages of the fabric include staying drier since there’s just less fabric, as well as a wider temperature range,” says Castelli. “It’s better in cool weather since the tight weave means less wind comes through, while it’s great in hot weather since the thinner fabric means that moisture evaporates closer to your skin to keep you cool.”
As the fabric is thin and can’t hold as much moisture, Castelli says your sweat evaporates more quickly.
The fabric is lightened around the thighs to keep you cool, while at the hips it is thicker for more compression and to keep the seat pad in place, says Castelli.
To avoid any transparency issues when stretched, Castelli has included a light lining layer in the back panel.
“You’ll never notice that it’s there, but the person riding behind you will be grateful,” says Castelli.
The lower leg has a raw-cut leg ending with 7cm of grip on the men’s version and 6cm on the women’s to prevent the shorts from riding up.
“The grip is not coming from any sort of silicone applied to the surface but rather a specific weave that brings the Lycra fibre to the inner surface,” explains Castelli.
The Progetto X² Air Seamless pad consists of two separate components.
Up against the skin is the Skin Care Layer which Castelli says is “the softest and stretchiest layer we’ve ever made, to move with your skin and avoid abrasions.”
Beneath is the Cushioning Layer that’s said to provide progressive cushioning where you need it.
“There’s a soft foam for immediate comfort, with a medium-density foam for support and 3mm gel pads under the sit bones and perineum,” says Castelli.
Made with a 3D forming process, the pad is said to have no pronounced steps.
The men’s and women’s seat pads are different from one another to take account of the different anatomies.
Tabs have been included at the front of the shoulders to prevent the thin flat straps from bunching.
The perforated back panel is designed to provide more support and no-sew bonding has been applied to the border for comfort.
For a seamless waist finish and increased stretch, the Premio Black uses a flat-edge elastic.
Castelli says that it opted for black logos because it “loved the technical but subtle look of the fabric and felt it would be a shame to over-logo the short”.
The scorpion logos on the back of the leg as well as the Rossa Corsa logo at the rear are lasered into the fabric for a pristine and durable finish.
There are also waist versions in a women's only cut.
We have the men's and women's versions on test, so expect full reviews soon...
Prices are £220 for the bib versions and £200 for the women's waist option.
Anna has been hooked on bikes ever since her youthful beginnings at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. As an avid road and track racer, she reached the heady heights of a ProCyclingStats profile before leaving for university. Having now completed an MA in Multimedia Journalism, she’s hoping to add some (more successful) results. Although her greatest wish is for the broader acceptance of wearing funky cycling socks over the top of leg warmers.