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Description

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.

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Castelli Free Aero Race Bib Shorts - Men's

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Here's what others have to say...

5 5

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
5 5

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.

Free Aero Race - dimpled fabric

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 - back view

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 bib straps - back

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.

Progetto X2 Air Chamois

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.

Castelli Free Aero Leg Band

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.