The new Castelli Free Aero RC Bibshorts bring a whole new level of comfort for on and off road use.
Photos: Gerard Lagana
Castelli have just released their latest pair of bibshorts, and those with sharp eyes may have noticed them being used in the World Tour already, adorned with team livery. And while the World Tour is top tier road racing, the new Castellie Free Aero RC Bibshorts are equally designed for all day comfort as much as all out race performance.
A closer look
One of the stand out fetaures on the Free Aero RC bibs is the lack of seams. While there is one overlocked seam on the inside of the leg, it is forward of the centre and won't abrade away rubbing on your seat post. The one panel runs all around your thigh, with no stitched grippers either.
The chamois if flat lock stitched in, and the top of the bibs are without a specific hem, increasng comfort. The bibs themselves are aerated and supportive, with a phone (or race radio) pocket in the back below a mesh shoulder yoke.
The chamois is next level, with varied levels of padding, optimised around the sit bone and perineum. It tapers to the edges to prevent pressure points.
On the bike
Pulling on a size medium, I was reminded how Castelli really do run true to Euro sizing. The leg length and body length was spot on for my 178cm height – but the waist reminded me my hours on the bike weren't what they used to be.
Having no elastic gripper on the legs did leave me wondering if the bibs would ride up over time. But the combination of no gripper and so few seams meant the bibs were comfortable, but also had so little to catch on when paired with a pair of trail shorts.
The legs stay in place in part due to the support of the material. It's quite compressive and stays where you put it. The materials has a high elastane level and nylon for durability. It's quite a fine thread that's used so it's soft to touch and wicks sweat away really well. There's a tonne of research into compressive materials and performance, and I'll just say it feels great.
I thought the bib straps may cut in, but in reality they did what they needed to – kept the shorts up. There was no major material coverage or fuss. They didn't move and they lay flat.
I found the chamois to be the most comfortable I have used in many years, but this comes down to the fit as well. The Castelli Free Aero RC bibs just stayed in place. I used them on the road, on gravel rides, and on XC rides on their own or with a pair of trail shorts over the top. Many wouldn't reach for them as a pair of bibs for under trail gear, as they only have one pocket, unlike some cargo bibs. But, given the comfort and their fit below a second layer they are worth a look. Add in the fact that they can be used alone, and you're on a winner.
At $279 the Castelli Free Aero RC Bibshorts are a premium piece of cycling wear - but well within the price range of top quality clothing. I used these about three times a week since being sent out pre-release in January, and they have zero signs of wear. Other bibs I frequently use often start to stretch out in that time frame. If you're after a pair of bibs to use for anything from road to trail under your trail shorts, then I'd highly recommend these shorts for comfort and durability.
From: Echelon Sports
- Comfort, supportive material
- Low seam count
- Great cut and fit
- Men's and women's cuts
- Premium pricing, but high value