The review of the updated Castelli Free Aero RC bibshort had already been announced, and now the time has come. I have been able to ride with the pants in all kinds of circumstances and not unimportantly, he has regularly seen the washing machine from the inside. Time to put my findings together in this review.
Castelli has a reputation to uphold with its bib shorts. Especially when it comes to these Free Aero RC cycling shorts. This is ridden by the riders of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and this is already the fifth version of the pants. A few important points for improvement on paper are the braces and the lack of grippers.
Finely woven fabric
The fabric of the pants feels very finely woven. Technically, the fabric consists of a 215 gram/m2 Forza 2 fabric that consists of 32% Lycra and 68% Nylon. This gives your legs some compression and that is very comfortable. The pants are very comfortable and have fewer seams than the previous version because only 5 panels of fabric have been used instead of 10. Because the fabric is so finely woven, it also feels just a bit warmer on the cool mornings. At the back are two reflective strips that provide some extra visibility when it gets darker. The pants are not extremely low in the front. because it comes to just below your navel. The fit ensures that the pants don’t pinch anywhere whether you ride in the stirrups or with your hands on the handlebars. He fits nicely in every position. For sizing, it is best to order a size larger because Castelli’s clothing always runs a bit small.
The fact that the fabric does its job well with the drainage of sweat is clearly visible when I see the salt traces on the outside after a while during the faster rides. Sweat is therefore well drained to the outside and therefore the pants feel dry on your legs.
Then the lack of grippers. You would expect the pipes without grippers to creep up slowly while cycling. But on all the rides I’ve done with the pants, the pants surprisingly stayed in place. If you try to move the pipes with your hands, it is easier than when there is a gripper in it. The entire trousers therefore consist of the same type of fabric and their structure feels a bit rougher. This fabric has been chosen from 28 options by Castelli, and in combination with the compression it ensures that the legs stay in place.
No more tears in the logos
The logos printed on the fabric could sometimes get some crackle due to all washes. As a result, it quickly seemed as if the pants were older than they actually were. Now they have chosen to sublimate the brand name and the circle with the scorpion is stitched on the pants. So after all my washes there is not a trace of fading of the logos. Great solution, so that your pants still look tight after a while.
The best feature of these new cycling shorts is the suspender in my opinion. Due to the structure, it is very airy and absorbs virtually no sweat, so that your suspender does not get damp. In addition, the part on your shoulders is made extra sturdy. While suspenders are often pressed together in the folds of your shoulder, this suspender distributes the pressure on your shoulders. This also stays in place while cycling. As a result, you do not suffer from pressure points from the suspender on your shoulders. Top feature.
Also slightly adjusted is the pocket on the back of the suspenders. For your radio or a gel or something like that. This was placed in a sort of ergonomically slanted position, but is now straight again and slightly larger. You can now access it more easily from both sides and it also fits a little more, if you want to use it.
What has not changed is the chamois of the pants. This had already been renewed in the previous edition and is simply a very nice chamois. Enough padding for comfort but you still have a direct feeling with the saddle. This Progetto X2 chamois is highly recommended for both short and long rides.
Castelli Free Aero RC bib shorts
Weight: 199 grams (size XL)
Recommended retail price: € 180,-
More info via Castelli Benelux
Castelli have again managed to improve on the already great Free Aero RC bibshort. Due to the fine fabric and some compression, the pants are very comfortable. The fit cannot be faulted at all, very nice in fact. What I really think is a nice improvement are the suspenders. You won’t notice it while cycling and that is partly due to the light material, but especially because of the wide, sturdy parts on top of your shoulders. This is how the pressure is distributed.
As mentioned, the chamois is highly recommended. So at €180, it’s not necessarily a cheap cycling shorts, but given their quality, I wouldn’t have thought it strange if the price had been higher† Really great pants.