I purchased a pair of Castelli menâ€™s Velocissimo bib shorts in August 2010 from Probikekit (PBK) for a landed cost of AU$107.00.Â This review reflects my usage of the bib shorts over a four month period, aka the BackpackGearTest.org approach.
For a little bit of marketing spin and hey Italian legendary status, a little background on Castelli from Castelli
Since 1876, weâ€™ve been the tailor for the champions. It was our innovative mindset which the brought the earliest heroes to us: legends like Binda, Coppi, and Bartali. We invented the skinsuit, the silk jersey and the first LYCRA short used in professional racing. Today we continue this innovative tradition.
Makes me feel good about my Castelli bib shorts â€¦tailored for champions â€¦ innovative traditions â€¦ mmm so do they live up to the spin?
Castelliâ€™s description of the Velocissimo bib shorts:
VELOCISSIMO MEANS FAST! This short went through an extensive testing process before hitting the market. We didnâ€™t tell the testers that they were testing our mid-level short, and they consistently compared it favourably to a competitive short costing 3 times as much. It has most of the details of the top Castelli shorts, together with the outstanding KISS3 seat pad for a short that looks and goes fast.
Probikekit also suggested that these shorts are a performance bib short with great padding for extra comfort over long ridesÂ and for me the extra comfort over long rides is what I am looking for.
Other features of the bibs as reported by the manufacturer are:
- KISS3 pad for all-day comfort
- Affinity lycraÂ® provides outstanding stretch and rebound
- Breathe fabric with prosecco treatment front panels for breathability
Color-matched giro++ single-layer engineered gripper
- 2 rear reflective inserts
The material makeup is as follows:
- 80 % Nylon Polyamid
- 20% Elastane
The washing instructions are:
- Wash Cold (30 C Degrees)
- Do not bleach
- Do not iron
- Do not dry clean
- Do not tumble dry
My bib shorts are 2XL and you can find the sizing chart on Castelliâ€™s website. Comments elsewhere suggest that the size of the Velocissimo bib shorts are larger than Castelliâ€™s normal sizing or rather past sizing so if you are a previous purchaser of Castelli bib shorts I do suggest checking the size chart carefully.Â As I havenâ€™t previously owned a pair of Castelli bib shorts I had these reviews didnâ€™t help much.Â Hence my purchase decision was based on other brands of shorts that I have worn and the Castelli sizing chart. For me, sizing is good in terms of the waist and legs but I do find the straps or upper body portion a touch on the small size.
To put my sizing experience in context, I hung the bibs from a clothes hanger and took the following approximate measurements:
- Overall length 71 cm when measured down the centre line of the front of the bids.
- Strap length of 31 cm measured from the curve at the front of the bibs to the top point of the bibs, again along the centre line.
My Endura FS260 to give a comparison have an overall length of 82 cm and a â€œstrap lengthâ€ of 41 cm. The Enduraâ€™s are a comfortable fit for sure, but I do believe the Castelli bib shorts will be okay as well, albeit slightly tighter. Hopefully loosing some more weight will help with the fit
All that said riding will soon let me know if this will be an issue for me.
The Velocissimo bid shorts come with a KISS3 chamois.Â According to Castelli this is a chamois based on â€¦
Seamless Integrated Technology: The soft fabric on the skin care layer is lined with 4mm of soft foam for additional comfort. Chamois Cream is not needed with this pad. We use infinite shaping of the high density foam to make sure that you have exactly the right support where you need it.
This is a for a sure a thin chamois, 4 mm according to Castelli and I found this quite noticeable when I first inspected the shorts and tried them on for sizing.Â I did find with the initial try on that the chamois feels like a good fit, it seems to mould nicely to the body and there is no feeling of a bulky pad between the legs.
I am also interested in the claim by Castelli that chamois cream is not needed with this pad and as I am a regular user of chamois cream.
Other Aspects of the Shorts
Castelli make a number of other claims or highlight certain features. A brief comment on these aspects follows:
- Affinity lycraÂ® provides outstanding stretch and rebound
- Breathe fabric with prosecco treatment front panels for breathabilityThe bib material is very evidently lycra as claimed. It has that lycra feel to it and a shine to the colour of the material. I like the feel of the bibs, it suggest refinement and quality. The upper body portion is mesh material to aid breathability.Â Castelli describe Affinity thus â€¦
the connection you will feel with AFFINITY LYCRA is a natural liking, providing great ultimate support for your muscles.Â Designed to stretch with the body, yet have great rebound and reshaping qualities. AFFINITYâ€™s hydrophilic wicking will keep you dry throughout your ride.
I will report back on how I found the breathability, rebound and reshaping qualities and wicking abilities after some usage.
- Color-matched giro++ single-layer engineered gripperThe leg grippers are four centimetres in width and my initial impressions are that they grip comfortably. Further use will determine if they are comfortable and effective.
- 2 rear reflective insertsI assume the â€œreflective insertsâ€ are the two strips found on the rear of the grippers.Â These are sown on to the bib shorts. I wonder if this are more for show than any thing else.
- Other aspects
There is a small Italian flag sown on the back of the bibs just below the mesh line, a nice touch I feel.Â There are also two Castelli logos, one on the front and one on the rear.Â These are â€œiron onâ€ style logos. I will report back in the four month update as to how well they are fairing.
FIELD TESTING (Two months on the bike) â€“ Updated October 21, 2010
I have now had these bibs in rotation (I rotate my wearing of bibs through three pairs) for the past two months. After each ride the bibs are soaked overnight in Napisan or equivalent and then washed in a front loader washing machine at 30 C before being hung out to dry. I do not use a wash bag.
The riding during the past two months has been mainly local commuting (up to 45 km) and one Audax ride of 200 km, Peel around Peel.
I have been quite impressed with these bib shorts; I really like the feel of the material they have been made of, it has a quality feel about it and I found it quite comfortable against my skin.Â I have also found the fit to be good despite my initial concerns and the chamois to be as good if not better than I expected. The chamois is not a thick one by any means yet it has worked well for me. I particularly found the bibs comfortable on the Audax ride with no sign of chaffing or other discomfort at all. In fact they worked well with my Brooks B17N which is not a great fit for me.
In terms of washing I have found the bids to wash well and they have to date held their shape well with no sign of fading or other wear. All good on that front.
The final aspect I wished to comment on at this point is the claims of breathability and wicking. I havenâ€™t really encountered any hot rides yet so my experience in terms of breathability and wicking has been in the context of rides in temperatures less than 30 C. In these conditions the bibs work well for sure. I donâ€™t get a wet back from sweat and as I mentioned before there has been no chaffing, read I stay dry in the crotch area. So the experience so far in respect of this aspect has been good.
In summary, after two months of use I am very happy with these bibs and they are my favourite ones for commuting and rides under 160 km and really they worked well on my 200 km ride too. Assuming this experience continues I will not hesitate to buy these again.
LONG TESTING (Four months on the bike)
December 23, 2010: Over the past two months I have continued my approach of rotating the wearing of bibs but I must admit I do have a tendency to at least want to go these bibs as my first choice. They are so nice to wear!
My use has continued to be mainly commuting. After four months use the bibs continued to wear very well with no sign of wear, they continue to wash well, holding their shape. I have had a chance to wear them on some warmer rides as the temperatures heat up here in Perth and the bibs have performed well in this regard. No sweating or other discomfort.
Overall after four months use I am very happy with these bibs and would look to buy Castelli again when I need to replace any of my daily wear bibs.
Â DURABILITY UPDATE (12 months on the bike)
I have now being riding with these bibs for 12 months and the pair is still looking good with no obvious signs of wear.Â These bibs are on high rotation, one of three pairs of bibs I rotate through weekly so they get a fair amount of use.Â They are my goto bib shorts for rides up to 150 km and will be replaced with another pair of Castelli’s when the time eventually comes. I highly recommend these bib shorts.