Castelli Free Aero Race Kit Version bibshorts review

The Free Aero Race bibshorts provide a quality, race-proven option for comfortable summer riding

free aero race
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Castelli Free Aero Race Kit Version bibshorts will serve you well through many summer miles. They are comfortable and cool with an excellent seatpad. In addition, Castelli claims that its fabrics have been chosen to give an aero edge.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Well made with a quality pad and aero credentials

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    Very airy leg grippers

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Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Olive green highlights won’t match much other kit except the matching Castelli jersey

  • -

    Pad is a bit thicker than some

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The Castelli Free Aero Race bibshorts have been around for ages – since 2007 in fact – so they’re a tried and tested, popular option. Castelli says that it’s fine tuned the design over the years, with new fabrics and design features. It says that it’s looked to optimise aerodynamics and comfort, as its sponsored pro team riders, including Team Sky, will be covering 30,000km in a year in the Free Aero Race shorts.

At the heart of the shorts is the brand’s tried and tested Progetto X2 Air pad. It’s very comfortable, with its perforated foam with continuously variable thickness meaning that there are no sudden transitions in pad depth. It is a bit more bulky than some though.

If you don’t fancy the rather military looking olive green contrasts on the leg grippers (and the matching jersey), Castelli also makes the kit edition with grey, red or blue grippers. Or for the same price, there are two other variants of the Free Aero Race: the standard and the Team version, giving a total of nine different design/colour options across the range.

The fabric on the outer leg and rear of the Free Aero Race bibshorts has woven-in dimples, that Castelli says improve aerodynamics. The legs are closed with very wide, thin mesh fabric grippers. These have a silicone inner surface and are both comfortable and effective, whilst providing plenty of cooling on hotter rides.

The bibs on the Free Aero Race bibshorts are very airy too. The majority is made of hemmed mesh, but there’s a flat elastic section over the upper back and shoulders, which helps distribute pressure well.

The on-bike fit is excellent, leading to a very comfortable ride. Castelli has designed the front of the shorts with a series of panels to ensure that there’s no excess fabric here.

You get a couple of small reflective tabs in the rear of the legs on the Free Aero Race bibshorts, as well as three scorpion logos, to help make sure that you’re seen.

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Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.