Castelli Entrata Wind Bib Tights review – Excellent performance but 'entry-level' doesn't mean cheap...
The Entrata Wind bibs will keep you drier and warmer on those long winter training rides
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These are a really good set of bib tights, well made with quality materials and are a reasonable price considering that quality. I especially liked the windproof leg front material, and felt it worked very well. They have quite a race oriented cut and fit. A seamless seat pad, which was comfortable, and reflective ankle details round off a great garment.
Windproof legs are excellent
Good quality chamois/seat pad
Well made with quality materials
Sizing and fit is race oriented
Sizing and fit could be a bit too race oriented for some
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The Entrata Wind are Castelli's entry level wind bib tights priced at $199.99/£160 RRP. Now, it is fair to say that as entry level bib tights go, that is rather on the steep side. As we'll get on to later, it's possible to pick up a good set of tights for about 20 per cent less.
Probably the best way of understanding the the Entrata Wind is as a mid-range pair of tights – it's just this is where Castelli's range happens to start. Sure enough, throughout the construction, there are plenty of elements shared by even the best bib tights on the market.
The construction: Castelli Entrata Wind Bib Tights
The Entrata feature an Italian made polyester wind membrane on the front of the legs, and use a Nano Flex 3G water-repellent fabric on the backs. The chamois (seat pad) is a Kiss Air2 which is a seamless pad with variable thickness, whilst the ankle zips use YKK Camlock to create a close fit and the lower legs have reflective strips in addition to the reflective left thigh logo.
Overall, the garment has a quality feel to it using flat-locked seams in the most beneficial areas – namely the legs – while the body section tends to use over-locked seams, as it is less critical to comfort in that area.
The back of the bib straps uses a mesh panel to allow efficient wicking in a high sweat zone. The ankle grippers use a 'Castelli' logo which is rubberised to keep it in place. Although you don't see it in use, it's a nice touch.
I weighed the Large as 309 grams, although Castelli states 390 grams with size unspecified.
Castelli Entrata Wind Bibtights: the ride
My first challenge was working out which size to choose! My longterm Gore bibs are a large, yet Castelli's sizing chart had me as an XS. I'm 5'11" (180cm), 66kg and wear 30W32L jeans. I queried this with Castelli and ended up trying the medium and large sizes.
Whilst the medium was the recommended size, I felt more comfortable in the large. The medium size was recommended as it is a closer fit and Castelli's goal is 'marginal gains' with their clothing range and a racier fit. The fit is apparently the same across the whole of their range, which is worth knowing if you're new to Castelli.
While still talking about fit, I found that the ankle seams sat about an inch (25mm) above my ankle bone and that I needed to use longer socks than I usually do to stop a cold gap. With overshoes on, the overlap between them and the bibs was perfect. The windproof fabric is less stretchy than normal fleece material and I had a small amount of bagging at the back of the knee. Not a problem for me, but something to bear in mind regarding the medium vs large sizing discussed earlier.
Now onto riding! The shoulder straps were a snug fit when standing, but as soon as you start riding and change your position they are comfortable. The first big impression that I had was how warm the front of my thighs were. The windproof fabric is really good and even with some serious rain you remain feeling pretty dry and warm.
The Nano Flex water repellent fabric on the rear of the legs is good too. I put it under a running tap and water just ran straight off it! Very strange to observe. On the bike I did find that the calves became a bit saturated on long wet rides yet I was still comfortable.
The chamois or seat pad was really comfortable and I had no issues with it. My Genesis branded saddle is a bit unforgiving with a poor chamois, so it is significant that I felt nothing untoward with the Kiss Air2 pad. Very nice.
The reflective ankle stripes work well and showed up nicely. They are quite slim in width but show up with lights from behind. Also the Camlock zips stayed in place and weren't able to be moved unless the zip tab was used to adjust.
Castelli Entrata Wind Bibtights: value and conclusion
I think that these are a really good set of bib tights, well made with quality materials and are a reasonable price considering that quality. I especially liked the windproof leg front material, and felt it worked very well.
You can pick up Rapha's Core Winter Tights for $175.00 / £120.00, which are themselves an excellent, more affordable option, but which doesn't compromise on quality. The fabrics used by the Castelli tight are more technical, though, so you are getting more for your spend.
In that light, it's better to view the Entrata as a cheaper version of high-end tights, rather than anything pertaining to 'budget'. It's what the price and the functionality all point towards.
If you are used to the Castelli fit (and you are my size) and you want every last 'marginal gain' then you'll probably choose the medium. For me, coming from the Gore fit (which I like), there has been a little adjustment to make with regards to the fit but I have now and really like what these bibs offer.
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Over 40 years cycling in a variety of disciplines including road riding, commuting, a self-supported Land's End to John o' Groats trip, XC mountain biking and several Polaris Challenge two-day events. Adventure, escape and fun are the motivations for my riding. I also love bike and kit design and have fillet brazed a couple of framesets using Reynolds 853 steel tubing for myself. A very satisfying experience to ride your own bespoke bike!
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