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Castelli Free Aero Race Bib Shorts - Men's

$199.95

Item # CST005H

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Item # CST005H

Tomorrow's industry standard, today.

You'd be forgiven for thinking there's an echo in today's bib shorts market. It seems that Castelli's competitors are always exactly one year behind, suddenly developing the same innovations that featured on Castelli's previous models. So, with the release of the new Free Aero Race Bib Shorts, we're pleased to once again present tomorrow's industry standard, today.

As the name suggests, the Free Aero Race Shorts are designed to cheat the wind, reducing power output requirements by a claimed 10 watts at 50 kilometers an hour. The secret to these gains lies in how the shorts manage airflow across their multiple boundaries and textures — most obviously via the dimpling across the shorts' outer plane. Like with a golf ball or some deep carbon rims, these dimples manage the turbulent lamina of air that runs along the shorts' surface, preventing its premature release into pockets of drag-inducing dead air.

Castelli found itself unwilling to part with the Progetto X2 Air Seat Pad, so it returns with only one, minor change: its surface is softer, which means it now presents a more gentle face to your perineum. It retains its bacteriostatic properties, seamless construction, four-way stretch, and ventilating, perforated foam layer. The perforated viscous comfort inserts also enjoy an encore performance, so your sensitive areas will enjoy riding over all manner of terrain.

Those may be the only returning features of the previous model — not even the materials used were safe from Castelli's obsessive need to tinker. The seat and front of the shorts both feature fabrics designed for durability and cooling breathability, respectively, and the entire body is 30% Lycra for a fit that strikes a balance between compression and unrestrictive movement.

The bibs' wide open, non-stifling design also returns from the previous model, but the bibs themselves now comprise two materials. The straps are mesh 3/4 of the way up, but — like any good domestique — the mesh lets a yolk of Castelli's innovative Carré material summit your shoulders. Carré is a hem-less strap that lies virtually flat against your skin, so there aren't any wind-grabbing, stegosaurus ridges from bib straps bulging out of your jersey. The liminal seam between mesh and Carré is also reinforced, so you don't have to worry about any wardrobe malfunctions while hoisting the trophy on the podium.

Last year's model featured Castelli's upgraded Giro3 integrated grip bands at the hem, but it shouldn't surprise you at this point that Castelli has upgraded these yet again. The new Giro Air has the same perfectly flat, stay-in-place grip, but with less mass, which no doubt contributes to the claimed overall weight loss of 17 grams and definitely reduces the aerodynamic footprint. The new band is wider, almost equaling the length of a typical Euro-slammed road stem, and every square millimeter of the material acts as the gripping agent. No silicone gel print here.

The lower mass means the leg bands are also pretty transparent, which may initially be a turn-off, but will likely take off as it appears in the pro peloton. In this case, it's important to note that "pro" isn't short for "UV protection," so we recommend a bit of sunscreen applied a few minutes before suiting up. As a final touch, Castelli included highly reflective details on the back of the grippers for extra safety, just in case you get caught out at a time when sunscreen won't do any good.

  • Claimed savings of 10 watts at 50kph due to aerodynamics
  • Progetto X2 Air chamois
  • Giro Air leg bands stay in place without the use of silicone

Tech Specs

Fit:
race fit
Chamois:
Progetto X2 Air
Bib:
yes, Carré yolk
Leg Gripper:
Giro Air
Claimed Weight:
[size large] 178 g
Recommended Use:
road cycling
Manufacturer Warranty:
30 days

Size chart

Fuji Bicycles

 

Geometry Chart

 

Altamira LTD
 

Seat Tube

(c-t)

Effective Top Tube

(eTT)

Stack

(S)

Reach

(R)

Standover

(SO)

Head Tube

(HT)

Head Tube Angle

(HTo)

Seat Tube Angle

(STo)

Bottom Bracket Drop

(BBD)

Chainstay Length

(CS)

Wheelbase

44 44.0cm 51.5cm

51.7cm

36.3cm 72.1cm

12.0cm

72.0 deg 75.0 deg 6.9cm 40.5cm 97.1cm
47 47.0cm 53.0cm

52.8cm

37.0cm 74.1cm 13.0cm 72.5 deg 74.5 deg 6.9cm 40.5cm 97.7cm
50 50.0cm 54.5cm 54.0cm 37.0cm 76.0cm 14.0cm 73.0 deg 73.5 deg 6.9cm 40.5cm 97.6cm
53 53.0cm 56.0cm 56.0cm 37.9cm 78.3cm 16.0cm 73.5 deg 73.5 deg 6.9cm 40.5cm 98.6cm
55 55.0cm 57.5cm 58.0cm 38.9cm 80.1cm 18.0cm 73.5 deg 73.5 deg 6.9cm 40.5cm 100.1cm
58 58.0cm 59.0cm 60.1cm 39.7cm 82.1cm 20.0cm 74.0 deg 73.5 deg 6.9cm 40.5cm

101.0cm

Reviews & Community

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Here's what others have to say...

35

Same issue as others

  • Familiarity:I returned this product before using it
  • Fit:Runs small

I have two pairs of Body Paint in size medium and love them so I thought about trying the Free Aero. I was surprised that they were considerably smaller than the Body Paint. I could fit into them but they were a bit tighter than I like. Fit aside the real reason for return was they had the issue in the front of the chamois where it wouldn't lie flat. It appears a portion of the chamois material was folded over and sewn in place. It was only on one side, the other side was fine. So back they went before using them. A bit disappointed.

Avg. ride time: 4h 48m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.
55

My favorite bib shorts

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times
  • Fit:True to size

I own a variety of Castelli bibs, the Evoluzione (Kiss 3 pad), Endurance X2 (bibs and shorts with X2 Progetto chamois), and these Free Aero bibs. While the others do the job, but the Free Aero bibs are the most comfortable and best performing bibs I own. They are comfortable, fit perfectly, the X2 Progetto chamois is just awesome. While I've typically chosen to save $$$ and get the Endurance X2s, I prefer the Free Aero bibs.

55

best Bibs I own

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit:True to size

this is the second pair of these I have. Bought my first pair last year and I fell in love. The chamois is super comfortable. I have done numerous centuries in them and rode them hard all year. They still look great, no pilling or broken seams. sizing is typical European so if you like extra room you may want to size up

Avg. ride time: 1h 22m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.
25

Really wanted to like these bibs

  • Familiarity:I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I really wanted to like theses bibs. I loved all the materials, the leg bands, the shoulder straps. However, after a few uses/washes the first pair I had developed a problem in the chamois. Part of the chamois pad had become loose between the liner and the lycra near the front of the pad. One email to CC and they quickly and easily sent me a new pair, no problem. The next pair arrived and they had the same issue going right out of the bag. There is no way that there should be loose padding shifting around in the chamois. I definitely feel like Castelli has an issue here. Five stars for CC's customer service though. They are always easy to deal with.

Unfortunately I have had the same problem. Love these shorts, chamois is awesome...until, that is, the front somehow comes loose and folds over between the short material and the chamois cover. Has to be a problem in production, just hope it gets resolved. And yes, Backcountry/Competitive are great to deal with on warranty issues. Always five stars there.

Same problem here. I just sent Castelli an email. Hopefully they are as helpful to me as they were to you.

Mine are the same way. I guess they all suffer from this issue. I kept messing with mine until I got it to lay somewhat flat and even. Now I don't really notice it much, but I still know its there and this definitely shouldn't happen. Whenever Castelli gets this issue ironed out, I'd love to get a second pair. The materials and design are awesome. Kudos to Competitive cyclist for excellent customer service!

Same issue here. Right out of the bag the chamois is detached and folded at the front. I never had this problem with the same type of chamois in my Castelli Inferno bib shorts.

Is my ass crack going to show through these after a few months of uses? Just wondering if anyone has had these for more than a few months? The material looks great for breathability but i dont want to run into problems down the road.

LOL. No. I've owned two pair and they hold up great. I've not had any trouble from mine. I have not noticed any ass crack.

45

Bought 2

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times
  • Fit:True to size

I am new to cycling. I wanted to get a decent pair of shorts so that I had the best chance of enjoying the sport. These have not let me down. They are comfortable, look good, and fit perfectly. I'm 5'7

Oh they could be a little cheaper...but oh well

45

Glad I bought them

  • Gender:Male
  • Familiarity:I've used it several times

I researched bibshorts after my previous two pair began to cause saddlesores. To be fair, I did have the last ones (not the same manufacturer) a year or two longer than they were intended to live. They began to loose their compressive character, and I should have been a bit more observant about fit. Free Aero's were on sale and I gave them a try. Started with one pair but after 1 ride jumped on the second as the chamois was superb and the compressive fit exactly as described...they disappear on you. All other reviews from here were spot on including smallish sizing, so that really helped me. Saddlesores disappeared after a reasonable period of time and meticulous hygiene attention. Let's see how long they live! Good deal on sale if you can get it.

I have had these bibs for about 2 months and have washed them about 5-6 times. I just noticed that the front of the chamois has become dislocated and partially folded over inside of the outer fabric. What is the warranty and is there any way to get them replaced?

Thanks

I had really good luck with the Castelli warranty department. Chainlove/Steep and Cheap only offer 30 days, but I think that Castelli warranty is 1 year for workmanship problems. You have to send them in, and they will evaluate them and send you a replacement, if it is a workmanship issue.

Did you ever get this taken care of? Just noticed the exact same problem on mine.

Avg. ride time: 23m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.
55

Best bib on market!!

  • Familiarity:I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Best bib ever owned.Fits like a glove.5'8 140LBS and a med fits perfect

Avg. ride time: 1h 4m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.
55

I'll never bother with any other bibs

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times
  • Fit:Runs small

These are my first bibs after many pairs of shorts.
They are easily more comfortable than my best shorts. I first used them in a 75 mi race and they just disappeared. I never gave them a thought, they just sat there and did their job.
The straps are a little snug, but I do have a ridiculously long torso.
I'll never consider any other bibs. They are pricey, but time in the saddle is valuable and these have ruined me for anything lesser.

Avg. ride time: 11h 12m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.
55

Super comfortable, great chamois

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit:Runs small

Update after numerous rides... New favorite bibs, mainly because of GREAT chamois, super comfortable, no chafing after back-to-back 101/65-mile rides in high heat and humidity, just the right amount of padding, etc. New straps, leg bands are different but I found both really comfortable. Redesigned crotch area is MUCH improved. Last year's left no room for the obvious. Now, fit great. Agree with other review - typical Castelli sizing. I'm 5' 8", 155, order a medium. Wish they would do a Skratch Labs color way like offered last year.

Super comfortable, great chamois
55

1st ride

    Just got these and took them out for an 80 mile ride. I like the fabric on the shorts and the leg band better than the previous year's free aero bibs. I don't think I like the fabric at the top of the straps as much, but all in all I think they are an improvement from last year's model. Typical Castelli sizing. I'm 135 lbs and wear a medium. They fit well but are tight especially around the thighs.

    Avg. ride time: 39m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Free Aero Race - dimpled fabric

    As the name suggests, the Free Aero Race Shorts are designed to cheat the wind, reducing power output requirements by a claimed 10 watts at 50 kilometers an hour. The secret to these gains lies in how the shorts manage airflow across their multiple boundaries and textures — most obviously via the dimpling across the shorts' outer plane.

    Free Aero Race - dimpled fabric
    Avg. ride time: 39m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Free Aero Race - back view

    The seat and front of the shorts both feature fabrics designed for durability and cooling breathability, respectively, and the entire body is 30% Lycra for a fit that strikes a balance between compression and unrestrictive movement. Castelli also included highly reflective details on the back of the grippers for extra safety.

    Free Aero Race - back view
    Avg. ride time: 39m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Free Aero bib straps - back

    Carré engineered lie-flat bib strap construction for minimal coverage, maximum comfort. Carré is a hem-less strap that lies virtually flat against your skin.

    Free Aero bib straps - back

    The base layer is the Castelli Seamless Base Layer - and it is awesome. It looks really small when you take it out of the packaging but the fit is amazing. http://www.competitivecyclist.com/Store/catalog/search.jsp?q=Castelli+Seamless+Base+Layer&s=u

    Avg. ride time: 39m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Progetto X2 Air Chamois

    The Castelli Free Aero Race bib shorts feature a new softer surface fabric on the updated Progetto X2 Air seatpad. The innovative double V construction on the front keeps everything in place without compressing your stomach.

    Progetto X2 Air Chamois
    Avg. ride time: 39m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Castelli Free Aero Leg Band

    The new Giro Air has the same perfectly flat, stay-in-place grip, but with less mass, which no doubt contributes to the claimed overall weight loss of 17 grams and definitely reduces the aerodynamic footprint.

    Castelli Free Aero Leg Band