Designed to cheat the wind, Castelli engineered its Free Aero Race Limited Edition Bib Short as it's top-tier short before being bested by the Premio, however, the Free is still among one of our favorites and actually does a little better in the heat than the Premio. The Limited Edition designation pertains to the use of colors that distinguish it from the standard Frees. Comfort, aero benefits, and strikingly good looks, all in one package.
Castelli is one of the earliest adopters that we can think of adding aero elements to road clothing not necessarily used in Tri's and TT's. By now we're all familiar with aero clothing helping to reduce the power output needed to achieve the same speed and Castelli claims a savings of 10 watts at 50 kilometers an hour. It achieves this by streamlining the wind through the use of textures, particularly with the Vortex dimpled fabric across the bib's face fabric. Much like a golf ball and certain carbon rims, dimples better manage airflow, allowing it to stay attached to the surface for longer and become less turbulent which is a principal culprit of drag.
- Aero and comfort racing bibs for performance-driven cyclist
- Aerodynamic details net a claimed savings of 10 watts
- Gently compressive material support muscles
- Lie-flat grippers and suspenders are sleek and reduce drag
- Progetto X2 Air chamois is supportive and comfortable
- Castelli's construction and the fit is honed by its work with professionals
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
- Fit: True to size
- Size Bought: Large
These are great bibs, high quality materials as to be expected with Castelli and very comfortable. Having read a few reviews I sized up to a large despite always being a medium in everything else. They fit great, but I do miss the compression on the quads I probably would have got with the mediums. Length is fine. I am always just between medium and large- and I would have been fine with either here as well. The mesh on the legs stays very well even in 4+ hours in the saddle. They are a lighter material than the Premio, but great quality non-the-less. The chamois is top notch- multiple steps above PI or LG which have been my other go to brands.
The good and the bad...
- Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
- Fit: True to size
- Size Bought: XXL
Castelli changed their aero race line a couple years ago and the fit got uber tight, shammy felt misplaced, and quality felt off. This offering is much better in all of those areas. I have a sprinter build and the legs fit great. Strap length is more forgiving and the shammy is right where it should be. In addition, the new waist feels great - just enough support to keep you tucked in without restricting breathing.
So the bad - too much material in the hips and butt. I have a substantial posterior and these (XXL) were baggy...and this is the only place that they bunched up.
This is a bit of a goldilocks situation - and yes, I've tried the size down and they are too tight on my quads. Last version of the aero race was a bit tight - this version is a bit loose.
I would recommend sizing down if you are on the border between two sizes here. If you are shaped like a normal cyclist you really might love these as quality is back to top notch.