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Castelli Free Aero Race 4 Bib Short - Men's

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Free Aero Race 4 Bib Short

The Free Aero Race 4 Bib Short from Castelli is built using extensive feedback from the professionals on Team Sky. Its general consensus is the existing Free Bibshort was already pretty well dialed and the only requests were the addition of a loop in the bib to hold a race radio microphone and one rider wanting his chamois shifted back a bit. Team Sky isn't the only one who likes it, in fact, the Free Aero Race Bibshort is the best-selling Castelli short of all time, so it knew that when it was time for an update, it wanted to make it better but not change the shorts too drastically.

First up is a new leg gripper that still features a lie-flat, raw-cut edge but now has vertical silicone stripes to hold it comfortably in place without restricting stretch. Next is a new fabric that allows for better print quality and Castelli updated the seams to improve the fit and looks. It also re-engineered the bib straps with new fabrics and construction so they help you stay cooler, lie flat, and are more durable. Finally, it also receives the updated Progetto X2 Air seamless seat insert featuring one of the softest surfaces we've ever felt in a chamois.

  • Castelli's most popular bib short, newly updated
  • Vortex dimpled fabric on the legs boost aero performance
  • Forza fabric on the inner legs stretches for a perfect fit
  • Stripe mesh engineered minimalist bib construction keeps you cool
  • Giro4 leg gripper elastic distributes the grip over a larger area
  • Doppio V construction up front increases support and comfort
  • Flat-lock stitching reduces irritation
  • Progetto X2 Air Seamless seat insert cushions against road chatter
  • Item #CST00RY

Material
[legs] Vortex dimpled fabric, [inner thighs] Forza fabric with 38% Lycra
Season
spring, summer, fall
Fit
Form-Fitting
Chamois
Progetto X2 Air
Bib
yes
Leg Gripper
Giro4 elastic
Claimed Weight
172g
Recommended Use
gravel, road cycling
Manufacturer Warranty
1 year

Tech Specs

What do you think about this product?

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>Rating: 1

Terrible product

Familiarity:
I've put it through the wringer
Size Bought
Medium
Height
5` 8"
Weight
165 lbs

I've worn every previous version of these bibs, which all had their problems, but Castelli widely missed the mark on the 4's. They're too long, the leg-grippers are too wide, the shoulder straps are thin and fit terribly, along with the added bonus of the usual peeling scorpion heat patches. I've switched to Giordanna, and there is a world of difference in quality and fit.

>Rating: 5

Bought a second

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
True to size
Size Bought
S
Height
5` 10"
Weight
130 lbs

I've loved Castelli bib shorts for a while and these are better than ever, so good I bought a second pair after trying on the first! They fit perfectly for me based on their size guide, aero and to the skin but not too tight.

>Rating: 5

1-They Run Small 2-They are AMAZING

Familiarity:
I've put it through the wringer
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
XL
Height
6` 0"
Weight
210 lbs

For transparancy, Castelli is my brand. (I haven't found need to even consider alternatives.) With that, these babies take the cake. Everything about these bibs are just right to me. I normally wear a L (6'0" 210 lbs.-lifelong footballer build) in all things Castelli, but other reviews are true, maybe more so for these than any other Castelli product, these babies run small...Order at least a size up, please! I got the XL and they were a delicious race fit. If it's possible to feel faster, these do it. The leg length on these is a touch longer than I've encountered from other versions, but it's no bother b/c the leg grippers are ace. (Please take your time sliding into them so you don't overly stretch the tops once the gripperss start to catch on your leg.) They do not move, or I just don't produce enough power to move them. The compression is amazing as well and once I'm warmed up, I don't think about them until it's time to squirm out. The chamois feels firmer than other vesions, but could it be like upgrading your BB and now everything underneath feels like it could never go wrong...??? Down there as well, they have separated the inner fabric of the short from the chamois pad. Castelli suggests this is to mitigate friction and chafing. Regretfully, I cannot comment on if this does work as stated as I have had ZERO undercarriage friction problems with this brand. At the waist, they seem to come higher than others, giving a nice sense of security in that area. Also, less chance of that front gap if the jersey shifts. The straps feel a touch snug while standing straight up, but melt away once your in the saddle and on the hoods, etc.. The word synchronisity comes to mind at this point as your body and the garment find the perfect snuggle position and stay there until the job is done. I have purchased both the Team and "not-Team" versions. One of them seems to have more pronounced aero dimples on the leg panel.The dimples add to that fast feeling, for sure! The Team version has words across the back side. There is the little pocket that is for the pro radio 'doo-dah' that I have yet to find a use for. No comment on that. If you are already familiar with the brand, then I would highly recomment these if you are ready for an upgrade or a nice treat for yourself. If you are new to the Castelli brand and are accustomed to top tier apparel, I don't think you will be disappointed. Please be patient with figuring out your size... Be safe out there!!!

>Rating: 3

Good shorts, funky bib straps.

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
XXL
Height
6` 1"
Weight
190 lbs

Sizing: Ihave not purchased Castelli bibs in nearly a decade, but remembered my last pair of high-end Castellis (likely an earlier version of these Free Aeros) ran so small in XL that I had a hard time getting my legs in them, so I went with XXL in these, just to be sure. The XXL size fits well, with good length and compression (not too tight, not too loose) in the shorts, but the bib strap length and width seem too small (discussed further below). For comparison, I wear an XL in Giordana bibs, which fit perfectly. First, the good. The chamois is nice and compact, and quite comfortable. With other makers' chamois getting both bigger and thicker, Castelli's comparatively low-profile chamois is a step in the right direction. I haven't had issues with chafing or rubbing, so far. I think the chamois could use a bit more front coverage, but it is not an issue when riding. The silicone leg grippers are very grippy and do not slide at all; the grippers did make the shorts tricky to put on, until I started flipping them over when putting on the shorts, then folding them back over once the rest of the shorts are in place. The lycra materials (I got black) seem to be high quality and durable so far (after about a half dozen rides and machine washes). No issues with pilling yet. The not so good: the bib straps are weird. The material is very thin and flimsy, so it rolls over and bunches up, though the material is soft enough that it is not a real issue on the bike. Also, despite the bottom half of the bibs fitting just about perfectly, the straps seem a bit short and the back panel is very narrow, making them feel a little unstable. I much prefer the straps on the Giordana FRC bibs, which never bunch or irritate. Also, the back of the chamois (where the underlying foam pad is exposed) seems to be a potential wear point. In conclusion, these bibs are good, but not great. With modification to the bib straps, they could be very good, maybe even great, provided the chamois hold up.

>Rating: 2

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

Familiarity:
I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit:
True to size
Size Bought
Med
Height
5` 6"
Weight
150 lbs

I've been a Castelli guy for years. Always a great fit for me with excellent chamois. However, the new chamois that Castelli introduced ( for this bib) is a real disappointment. The Progetto chamois was so plush and comfy, so why ruin a good thing. I agree with one of the other reviews here that the chamois is so abrasive, where the crotch meets the leg, that I found myself pulling in the legs of these bibs just to relieve the irritation. The rest of the fit is fine, just right on, but I don't think I can put up with the painful result of the chamois rubbing myself raw for 40 miles. Gonna just hang in the closet I guess. Tough way to lose $200.

>Rating: 4

Nice bib short

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
3XL
Height
6` 3"
Weight
205 lbs

This is a quality piece if you can manage to get the correct size. To say they "run small" is the understatement of the year. I'd give them 5 stars if the manhood area had a little more material for extra room. Other than that, I really like them. The majority of my fat is in butt and legs. Typically wear XL but went with 3XL in this bib and they fit very tightly. Not uncomfortable. They feel nice and the pad is great.

>Rating: 3

Maybe better for smaller riders

Familiarity:
I've put it through the wringer
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
XL
Height
6` 2"
Weight
180 lbs

There is a lot to like here and also some things I could see being improved. The likes: - chamois: my unscientific analysis is that it is super comfortable beyond most other bibs in the $200 and below range, in fact I think these are the most comfortable bibs I have ever owned. - ventilation:. Super light feel, very airy and breathable - style: the gray pair I got work well with many of my Castelli jerseys that have gray tones. They look and feel great! Not so good: - durability: the leg gripper blew out after a few months (they get used 1/wk in my rotation) - bib straps are mixed...kinda bunch up sometime under the neck early on but seemingly settle in and disappear into the ride. They are flimsy, like the material overall. Overall verdict: great bibs if you are looking for a warm weather option that will stay dry and comfy for all day epics, but you don't expect a lot of longevity and are ok getting limited seasons (1 if you ride a ton) out of them.

>Rating: 5

Comfortable and Conforming

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
XL
Weight
177 lbs

So far, about 10 rides in on each pair and they have been really good. No issues with pilling. The chamois is very effective, and I rarely have an issue with it unless I just need to make an anatomical adjustment. I have not studied the construction closely but it feels like it has been stitched together with more panels to conform around you, rather than just stretchy material to stretch around you. Make sure to size up at least one size. Like all Castelli bibs they do feel like they are optimized for skinnier riders than me,. For example, they stretch less in the waist area than my Assos shorts.

>Rating: 4

Fits Small - Outstanding Bib!

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
XL
Height
6` 1"
Weight
180 lbs

This bib short is extremely well made. The material is very high quality. The chamois is easily the best I have ever experienced BY FAR. It will easily get you through any long rides without any issues. The leg grippers are also a very nice feature and definitely perform their function well. Just be aware that this bub runs very small. Luckily, I did my research and determined that I needed to go up a size. I typically wear a Large with other brands, so I went with XL for these and they fit very well. Minor complaint - the shoulder straps are very thin and not the most comfortable as other competitors. They do not necessarily cause significant discomfort, they are just very thin and coarse only to the point of being mildly annoying sometimes. I expect better for such a prestigious brand/price. Regardless of the straps, I would still highly recommend!

>Rating: 5

Tight Fit (as intended)

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
L
Height
6` 1"
Weight
165 lbs

I like these shorts so much I recently purchased my 2nd pair. I've been riding for decades and prefer a "race fit"; that is tight, with no spare fabric around. I'm 6' 1" 165lbs and find the size Large to work well for me. My waist is 32" and hips are 35". The length is just right for me too, the bottom of the legs sit about 4" above the top of my kneecap. I will say the top straps are a bit tight but do "give" a bit after a washing or two. I never notice them when riding. The chamois is one of the most comfortable I've ever experienced, no bunching and the padding keeps me comfortable for multiple hours in the saddle.

>Rating: 1

disappointing

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

I rarely write product reviews. Castelli historically makes some of my favorite bibs and I am aware they typically run small. These run small relative to Castelli 'run small'. In addition the shoulder straps are terrible. They are short for their size and bunch up / become uncomfortable. Castelli products are great... except this one. I'd pick another bib for your drawer.

thanks for the review

>Rating: 2

I really want to love them

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
XL
Height
5` 11"

It is painful to write this review, especially considering the money I've spent on the bibs, and that I have plenty of other Castelli gear that I absolutely love (bibs, shorts and jerseys). I bought two pair and LOVE the chamois, the cut and fit. I have large legs, so the silicone grippers at the bottom work perfectly for me. Yes, they do take some jostling around to get into place, but once in position the bibs are rock solid (in a good way) and will not require adjustment even on a longer ride. The compression is just right for me, and the straps are comfortable. They do not lay as flat as some others, but despite a little bunching up I've never experienced any discomfort. What absolutely baffles me about these bibs, though, is how fragile they are! I purchased two pair of the bibs in the beginning of May (May 02, 2020 to be exact) and although I tried them on immediately to ensure proper fit I did't get my first rides in until the end of May. I've worn each pair once per week in 8 consecutive weeks, and each pair has approximately 250 miles of use. Extremely low usage in total...but both pairs are starting to show visible signs of wear and pilling where they make contact with the saddle! Not only is the fabric starting to pill, the threads at the seam are also coming loose. It is worth noting that my saddle is brand new, and does not have any rough spots or scuffs that would cause abrasion. I have a half dozen other pair of bibs and shorts, all of which have in excess of 1,000 miles on them and none have any pilling or visible wear on the exterior. I absolutely love the cut, fit and chamois, but it is absolutely crazy that these are my most expensive bibs and they are already showing signs of wear and damage in less than 10 uses! For the money I would expect these to last several seasons. I bought these as something of a treat to myself to have better gear as I'm getting faster and riding further because some of my other chamois just don't hold up...now I'm completely gun-shy on what to do next for fear that I'm just burning money.

It

I have the exact same problem, but from only a week of usage and 250 miles

Crap, I had the exact same thing happen to both of my Assos (T.cento_s7) bib shorts. Bought the second one thinking the first was a fluke. Short riding distance on both (approx 300 miles) with usage similar to yours; and shortly thereafter wore a hole through at that pilling point. Shopping for Castelli's to replace them. I guess not!!

check the screw that holds the saddle rail. propably have to change your seat post and have the saddle screws front and back. if your saddle screw is one the side it will torn your bib. i had that 4 bibs in total. lost around 700 on bibs, when i found out.

>Rating: 1

Bottom 4 inches like bell bottom pants

Familiarity:
I returned this product before using it
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
XL
Height
5` 10"
Weight
175 lbs

Tried these and the bottom 4 inches have a different material and where very loose on me where I could get a couple fingers in making these non aero, they looked like old school bell bottom pants.. Rest of short fit excellent and quality seemed good. Sending back and going back to Sugoi.

>Rating: 1

Fit is RIDICULOUSLY small!

Familiarity:
I returned this product before using it
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
3XL
Height
6` 2"
Weight
198 lbs

If you read all the reviews here, most say it runs small, and the store will tell you to buy up a size. I bought up 2 sizes and could barely get them on. I am a tall thin rider (think a Chris Frome build), and I don't have massive track sprinter thighs, but after struggling to get them on they were literally cutting of the circulation to my thighs, while the super long length came to just above my knees and was baggy loose there. On top of this the bib straps were a good 4-5"short of being comfortable, again it was a struggle to get them over my shoulders and when I did the thin straps bunched up and dug in. I will be returning them today. this is all super odd to me as I wear Castelli size 2X jerseys very comfortably even though I have broad shoulders. I actully measured them compared to my current Pearlizumi Pro Pursuit bibs in a size XL the the 3X Castellis were actually smaller in every dimension. In all this is super disappointing.

Chris Froome is 165 lbs., maybe.

>Rating: 5

King of Chamois

Familiarity:
I've put it through the wringer
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
X Large
Height
5` 11"
Weight
195 lbs

I’ve tried most high end bibs and shorts, but only Castelli has the right answer for saddle protection and comfort. Material lasts, the leg length and grippers are excellent. It’s imperative you get the exact fit though. Once you do your ride is as soft as a baby’s behind.

I'm the same size and weight as you and totally agree. I always wear a size XL Castelli and these seem to fit slightly tighter when you first put them on but then when you start riding they completely disappear underneath you. The pad is thick and very comfortable. The straps seem slightly tight because they're designed to fit properly in a typical riding position.

>Rating: 1

Terrible Updates

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
L
Weight
180 lbs

I bought these bib shorts a month or so ago and to be honest they are almost unusable. I have some of these in last years or the year before style and they are great which i why i thought i'd be good with another pair. However, the updates are pretty bad and mainly in the straps. The older ones have solid material in the straps across the shoulders which keeps them flat, the new ones don't have this and just some thin lingere like stuff which causes them to bunch together and then dig in which is really uncomfortable. I would avoid these at all costs.

>Rating: 5

best chamois i've tried

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
True to size
Size Bought
3XL
Height
6` 3"
Weight
265 lbs

I have a 44 inch waist and can fit in these. They are skin tight but that's how this style of bib should fit. The pad is incredible, so far the best one. The pad is dense enough to provide support for me and i'm quite heavy. The silicon grippers do a great job holding the legs in place but can make it harder to get in. My only complaints which are very very minor. The straps aren't as stretchy so can be a bit difficult to get pulled up. The straps aren't the most comfortable of the bibs i've tried. The chamois is a bit wide in my crotch and provides very mild discomfort but not bad enough to keep me from doing a 6 hour ride.

>Rating: 5

still a favorite

Familiarity:
I've put it through the wringer
Size Bought
Small
Height
5` 7"
Weight
130 lbs

I've ridden Castelli bibs as much as any others I've owned, they are still my go to short. Chamois is great, comfortable for a century. They do fit tight/smaller, definitely a race cut, I am 5'7" 130lbs and a S fits me great. I have two pair of this latest version and have been super happy with them.

I've
>Rating: 1

Big Castelli fan disappionted

Familiarity:
I've used it several times
Fit:
Runs small
Size Bought
XL
Height
5` 11"
Weight
175 lbs

I love Castelli and have over 50 of their garments so it pains me to write this. Also because I bought and wore 4 of these after clipping the tags and discarding the packaging assuming they would be awesome since I have 3 pair of the LW bibtight with the same chamios. Big waste of money. The one positive is the beautiful style and design. Thes bad is due to the fact that they senselessly updated a perfect previous version of the Progetto X2 pad(the all red one that my LW version 1 tights have) It was perfect! Dont fix it if it aint broke! This new version Progetto X2 is awful. Everyones anotomy is different but after 20 miles I dont see how anyone can say they like this bib short. It has a new top layer material that is very absorbant and does not breath well. Also, the top fabric layer moves freely from the foam underlayer. After about 17-20 miles this chamios starts to get very damp and this is when that top layer starts to bunch up on both sides of the groin area where the leg meets torso. Even with a layer of chamios cream(Assos) on both the pad and skin, it creates friction that takes a day and a half before I want to sit on a bike saddle again. Big thumbs down for me. I just grabbed some Assos bib shorts instead. They make the best bottoms in cycling. I wont give Castelli bottoms another shot until they change this version of the Progetto X2 back to something more like the previous version which was great.

>Rating: 3

First Bib shorts for me....

Familiarity:
I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit:
True to size
Size Bought
medium
Height
5` 11"
Weight
162 lbs

After some debate I decided to pull the trigger on bib shorts due in parts to the thought of the chamois being more stable with the ride....I selected the top of the line and have to admit I am disappointed and chaffed...there is a fairly large step-off with the two piece design and feel this is the culprit....although comfortable on my bum...definitely not up front due to the step off effect...chaffing on both side of perineum at same location...this may loosen up but limited to short rides now....The other shorts I have seem to have a smooth transition at this level...I have never experienced chaffing in 15 years of cycling so this was a notable event for me!!!! Also, any thought to height being factored into bib sizing?...the straps seem tight as well but not noticed on the bike when leaning forward....

>Rating:

How long is the inseam? 10 or 11 inches