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Description

Conquer the heat.

As we're sure that you know, we love to dig into every detail of cycling apparel, especially the fabrics. However, when something is as fresh, new, and innovative as the Castelli Inferno Bib Shorts, we understand that trade secrets will not be divulged. Instead, we're forced to put the nameless under the microscope and investigate how the fabrics work as a system. So, like a great musician, we've come to appreciate, and even rely on, the Inferno as a body of work, not a collection of hit singles.

The reasons for this are stacking. Of the seven fabrics used throughout the Inferno, five them are only found on this one piece. That's right, Castelli developed and engineered five distinct materials for the shorts portion alone. So, the question begs to be asked, for what purpose? Well, as the name implies, the Inferno was created as a counter-offensive to treacherous heat. And along these lines, you'll immediately notice what appear to be mesh panels along the sides of the legs. Note that we said 'appears' in this instance. This is worth noting, as this is no ordinary mesh. Instead, Castelli developed this material as a perforated panel of 94% polyester. As a result, breathability is increased throughout the shorts, and due to its composition, moisture absorption is reduced to nearly nano levels. Additionally, in comparison to mesh, this fabric shields the skin from exposure, meaning that you don't appear half naked on the bike.

However, if your mind thinks like ours, support to the muscles becomes an immediate concern when viewing such a lightweight, breathable panel. Well, there's no need to fret, as Castelli designed this material with a fiber weight that lends itself to both flexibility and support. In fact, this trend is carried out throughout the rest of the shorts, as well. Truly, this is where the Inferno separates itself from anything else on the market.

Typically, bib shorts are either supportive or breathable -- you get one or the other. However, 'one-or-the-other' simply wouldn't cut it for Team Garmin Barracuda in the sweltering heat of the 2012 Giro and Tour. Accordingly, a balance was struck between these characteristics, and the front and rear panels feature a proprietary 190 gram polyester/Lycra blend. If you're seeking relevance for this designation, it ranks similarly, in the supportive sense, to the material used in the Aero Race bib shorts. However, there isn't simply one panel for both the front and rear. Instead, you'll find that Castelli place another exclusive fabric directly over the quadriceps and hamstrings. These panels feature a rib knit construction that adds both a compressive nature and an increased permeability. So, breathability continues as the name of the game throughout ever centimeter of the shorts.

As for fit, the Inferno is a racing thoroughbred. It's slim, precise, and deliberate. And given that it was developed directly with the Garmin squad, this should come as no surprise. Along these lines, the cut of the bib shorts follows a contour in order to mimic and support the movements of cycling. So, there's no risk of bunching, pinching, or abrasion when you're either stretched over the hoods or buried down in the drops. Supporting the fit are Castelli's lightweight polyester/Lycra bib straps. And when we say lightweight, we mean it. In fact, the entire upper design is so lightweight that it's nearly transparent. At the legs, you'll find Castelli's venerable Giro3 single-layer leg grippers that're found on the Aero Race bib shorts.

For the chamois, Castelli incorporated its most innovative insert, the Progetto X2 Air. The Progetto's surface uses a skin-care layer comprised of a seamless bacteriostatic fabric that conforms to the body without folding. Accordingly, this material supports airflow, while also aiding in rapid evaporation. For the second layer, the X2 features a variable density foam with variable thickness. Essentially, this places support where you need it, not where you don't. The comfort level is also aided by Castelli's Viscous comfort inserts, which are perforated padding at the highly-sensitive ischial and perineum pressure regions.

The Castelli Inferno Bib Shorts are available in six sizes from Small to XXX-Large and in the colors Black, Black/white, and White/grey. Please note that due to the lightweight composition of the Inferno, Castelli recommends applying sunscreen when you ride in these shorts. This design trend has been carried out throughout the rest of the shorts, as well.

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Here's what others have to say...

1 5

No Dice

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

Ten miles into the first ride the front fabric was toast. If it can't withstand a zippered jersey, it isn't roadworthy. Pass on this one.

No Dice
2 5

Not Castelli's Best

  • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I am a big fan of Castelli shorts. The chamois is comfortable and they fit nicely. However, the leg grippers on the Inferno shorts were very loose, causing them to ride up on my legs. I did not even wear them on a ride. Just trying them on I could already tell that they would become short-shorts within only a few pedal strokes. In contrast, I've found that the grippers on Castelli's other similarly-priced shorts are nice and snug. So, I still ride Castelli shorts, but avoid this specific model.

4 5

Best Castelli Bib I've owned

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

This is now my third pair of Castelli bibs (my other two are Garmin team version from 2012 with KISS chamois, and endurance bib with the same one as the infernos) and the most comfortable. At first I was afraid to buy them since there were a couple of bad reviews, but checked out some other websites as well for reviews and heard nothing but good things and wanted a bib to keep me cool for the pain cave workouts this winter, so I took the gamble and got them.

I read some complaints about the fabric being sheer and the only place I've really noticed was on the side paneling, but it's not too noticeable. I took these out on a climb to break them in and they felt great as if they weren't even there. On the descent I was nice and cool, but not shivering on the way down. On the trainer the front hikes up too high and was covering my belly button which was weird because it didn't so that on the ride, but the chamois fit perfectly. It's the most comfortable of the three I have thus far, even though the endurance and inferno share the same Progetto X2 chamois.

I just washed them again last night and noticed on some of the stitching on the bibs is fading to white even though I washed them on delicate cycle and let them air dry.

Since these are on sale I would definitely say these are worth picking up. By far the most comfortable pair of bibs I own, but we'll see how they hold up to the test of time.

5 5

Bulletproof

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have the Garmin-Sharp branded version of these shorts. I recently had a brain-cramp caused one bike crash, ended up slamming into the sidewalk on my hip and shoulder at perhaps 22-25mph. Unlike the TdF pictures of crash carnage, these shorts stayed intact, and nicely covered the huge swelling that resulted. A welcome side-effect is they were able to hold the icepack so I could devote both hands to the required post-ride beer.

Since they're Castelli, get a size up. I'm 6', 185 lb, and the XL fits fine.

I've been riding in them for perhaps two days/week for perhaps a year and a half, and they are showing very little wear, even better, the chamois is still comfy.

3 5

Inferno Bib Short

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I purchased two pairs of these, and returned one. Great looking Bib Shorts that fit me perfectly, but started piling in the front after two washes in protective laundry bags. Washed on delicate and allowed to air dry. For the cost of these, this should not be happening so soon. What I do realize now, as it is happening to my Tights as well, is the full zip Jersey seems to be causing the fraying. The backside of the zipper rubbing along the stitch and surrounding area. I like the full zip Jersey's but they are damaging my Shorts and Tights. This is probably pretty minor to most people, but it's worth a mention.

5 5

Great Summer Bibshorts

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Noticeably cooler, especially the black/white shorts. I think the fabrics and pad are outstanding. I had some minor chaffing on the front from the Velcro-like material at the bottom of the zipper on a Castelli Climber's Jersey. I switched to a Louis Garneau Course Superleggera Jersey, and no chaffing at all after months of use.

1 5

DO NOT BUY THESE BIBS!

First of all my measurements: I'm 5'8", 128 lbs, very skinny all around. I bought the size small which fit perfectly. ON MY VERY FIRST RIDE the little net-like material that fits over the chamois ripped, and you'll notice how delicate this material is if you feel it in person. To add to that the bib material that makes up the panel over the thigh somehow chaffed. All of this within a 2 hour spinner/noodling around ride....in retrospect I guess that's what you get for paying $170 for some bibs made in El Salvador for $3.

5 5

Great hot weather shorts

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

I bought a pair last summer and used them almost exclusively through August. Very breathable! The fabric in the seat and inner legs is very durable. The x2 chamois is the best in the biz.

1 5

I love(d) these shorts

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

The bibs look, fit, and feel great but after 6-7 rides they are coming apart at the seems and the material is wearing down. For the price they should last much longer than a few rides :( ... I strongly recommend you do not buy these unless the production quality has changed.

What would be the best matching jersey...

What would be the best matching jersey you'd recommend with this?