Castelli Competizione bib shorts review - affordable bibs ideal for shorter rides

Despite their competitive price point, the Competizione shorts feel luxurious and benefit from trickle-down tech

Male cyclist wearing the Castelli Competizione bib shorts
(Image credit: Tom Couzens)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

A comfortable, well constructed pair of shorts, adequate for short to medium days spent in the saddle. With technology filtered down from the premium Castelli Rosso Corsa range the Competizione are a great reasonably priced pair of shorts from a well renowned cycling brand.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Thick, secure grippers keep everything in place

  • +

    Seamless construction eliminates chafing

  • +

    Stretchy fabric helps to mold and provide a comfortable fit

  • +

    Raw cut finish to the legs help make these feel like a premium pair of shorts Breathable upper mesh panels prevent overheating

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    There are more comfortable pads for long days out in the saddle

  • -

    Sizing comes up a little small, so worth considering going up one size

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

The Castelli Competizione bib shorts offer great value for money, with a feeling far more luxurious than the price point may suggest. With a great attention to detail, these are a well rounded, comfortable pair of every day shorts and are among the best cycling shorts for men.

Castelli Competizione: construction

Soft and stretchy, the majority of the bib shorts are made from a Vortex BLC textured fabric, with the inner of the leg constructed from an affinity pro Lycra providing greater stretch in areas that need it most. Thanks to the flat-lock stitching chafing is a thing of the past. It’s little details like this that are often overlooked at this price point. 

Likewise the stylish raw edge finish is often used on premium offerings and here allows for a smooth, flowing transition from skin to fabric. The wide Giro4 leg grippers provide a tight fit, but one that proves functional in keeping the shorts from rolling up. 

The KISS Air2 seat pad uses varying degrees of thickness, with maximum support at areas around your ischial zone where you need it the most -  there is a gradual decrease of thickness to the edge of the shorts. 

Castelli Competizione: the ride

Male cyclist wearing the Castelli Competizione bib shorts

(Image credit: Tom Couzens)

Let’s start with how the Competizione fit. My test pair was a size medium, and at just over 6'1", a weight of 74kg and proportionally long legs I often find it tricky to find shorts that either don’t ride up or look like 'short' shorts. However, here the length  was perfect, sitting a comfortable inch or two above my knee. The compression was fairly tight; personally I am a fan of this, however like many of Castelli’s products they do come up a little small so I would suggest at looking at sizing up to your usual size. 

Male cyclist wearing the Castelli Competizione bib shorts

(Image credit: Tom Couzens)

The Giro4 leg grippers certainly stand out as being wide and I was slightly concerned that they would be restrictive and dig in somewhat. However I couldn’t have been more wrong. While they provided a tight fit, it  proved functional in keeping the shorts from rolling up - even with a set of leg warmers underneath they still provided a good level of support without any bulging.

The raw edge finish to the leg ends also contributed to the feeling that these are a far more luxurious pair of shorts than the price point suggests. On test this raw edge proved to be a great strength of the shorts. The smooth transition from the skin to the shorts was very comfortable on long rides - and it looks great, too.

With no base layer the supple mesh straps proved to be breathable and comfortable, even when tested on the turbo. Pulling up the mesh straps of the shorts, the initial impression was that they were a little on the small size. However, out on the road it wasn’t an issue. Hugging the upper body closely the straps were hardly noticeable and never felt restrictive. 

Male cyclist wearing the Castelli Competizione bib shorts

(Image credit: Tom Couzens)

The Competizione shorts fit into one of Castelli’s budget ranges and at this price point usually shortcuts are taken, most often by compromising the quality of the pad. The pad is one of the most crucial elements in the making of a good pair of bib shorts and I was impressed by the quality of the KISS Air2 pad. Shaped nicely to mold to the body, breathability was also excellent, even when tested on the turbo. However, on rides longer than four hours I did experience a little numbness and would have enjoyed a pad that was a little softer and thicker.

Castelli Competizione: value and conclusion

By no means are the Castelli Competizione bib shorts a cheap piece of kit, but the quality and attention to detail make these fairly reasonably priced for the quality you get - especially from a well renowned, premium cycling brand.

For comparison, if you were to purchase a pair of bib shorts from the Rosso Corsa range (considered Castelli’s premium range of kit), you would to expect to pay at least an extra $60 / £50 for the Free Aero RC short. However, in terms of comparing to other brands the Rapha men’s core bib shorts also price at $139.99 / £110.00.

In summary, the Castelli bibs are a comfortable, well-constructed pair of shorts, perfectly adequate for short to medium days spent in the saddle.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Tom Couzens
Freelance Writer

Tom Couzens is a racing cyclist currently representing The Ribble Collective on the road and the Montezumas cyclo-cross team off road. His most notable results include winning the Monmouth GP national series race as a junior; finishing sixth in the 2022 British National Cyclo-cross Championships; and he was selected to represent Great Britain at the European Cyclo-cross Championships in 2020/21. Tom draws on his high-level racing experience and knowledge to help Cycling Weekly readers maximise their potential and get as much as possible out of their riding.