I thought the Endurance X2 Bib Shorts by Castelli were good. But that was until I tried the Castelli Free Aero Race Bib Shorts, which are awesome.
Apparently they have gone from strength to strength largely due to the intelligent feedback from real-world professionals such as the Garmin-Cervelo team. Castelli say [paraphrasing] that they are designed to provide long-lasting, durable aerodynamic comfort and that the Free Aero Race Bib Shorts will keep you supported and ventilated during long days in the saddle.
In a nutshell
They are a race cut so expect them to be a little firmer than other bib shorts you may be used to, you may opt for one size up. Once you are used to the cut they are exceptionally comfortable. I can see why they were product of the year a few years ago in Cycling Plus magazine.
They are primarily constructed with three fabrics: (1) Action Micro fabric in the saddle contact area provides durability, (2) Energia Micro fabric on the sides and back provides outstanding stretch and excellent return, and (3) Breathe Micro fabric in front provides enhanced breathability.
These shorts, like the Endurance X2, feature the Progetto X2 Air Seat Pad which is excellent and features density changes to give the maximum comfort where it is required – under the sit bones. It is also made with a bacteriostatic layer.
Ride like the pros
You will also notice should you happen to be hot, that if you have your shirt open there is no restriction from fabric from the bibs. They allow for a very wide opening on the front down to the waist. The shorts are very breathable and light at a claimed 178g.
The Free Aero Race shorts have Castelli’s Giro3 integrated leg grippers in the 5cm wide hem which keep them in place. The short lies completely flat, keeping your leg aero as if it were in a skin suit. For safety there is a highly reflective detailing on the hem.
The Castelli Free Aero Race Bib Shorts are available in Black and Black/White and in sizes Small through XXX-Large. I recommend trying them on as you may need to go up a size if you are not comfortable with the race fit.
For around the $200 mark these bib shorts are super comfortable. I would have no hesitation recommending them, and my test pair still looks like new after many hours in the saddle. They feature the RossoCorsa label which denotes their top of the line status.