Having owned several Castelli bibs over the years, I thought I’d nail the sizing with a “medium.” Well I was wrong, and the size “medium” felt a wee bit too short in the shoulders for a thin 6’ 3”. So we thought why not give it to a properly proportioned Matt – an everyday Portland cyclist with many hundreds of bikepacking, mountain biking and commuting miles under his belt – and change up the review format to a Q&A. Thanks for putting in some time with these Matt!
Castelli describes the Premio Bibshort as a departure from a product line that is unabashedly made-for-racing and minimalist – a high-quality bib with more compression in the legs and lower back that “comes up a bit higher in front to hold everything in.” How does your experience with the bib reflect or diverge from that description?
Castelli has produced a bib that remains snug around the legs; you won’t find them bunching up on your thighs after miles in the saddle. This is made possible by a surprisingly comfortable band of rubber treads near the opening of the legs. The front certainly does its due diligence to “hold everything in.” At first, it almost felt a little too snug, but after getting on the bike I felt right at home.
How would you rate the comfort of the chamois pad in this bib? How would you describe other comfort attributes (compression throughout the garment, breathability, leg cuffs, chafing from seams?)
The chamois pad has a wonderful taper that makes it feel less like a diaper and more like an extension of your body. The gradual increase in thickness made the seams almost unnoticeable entirely. While in a comfortable riding position, the waistband up front feels almost nonexistent, thanks to the tension placed on the shoulder straps. The mesh in the rear that holds the shoulder straps together is light, breathable, and kept my back cool under the jersey. This fabric is light enough to be forgotten about, but durable enough to feel confident about.
What are your expectations of durability for this bib, and how would you compare your impression of durability to other bibs and shorts on the market today?
At this price point, I am expecting the Premio Bibshort to last many rides and to hold up in the wash. I wouldn’t expect anything less than top quality from Castelli and so far they feel nothing short of that. All of the seams (especially where the elastic shoulder straps meet the shorts) are reinforced with an intricate stitching pattern that is durable and robust, while maintaining maximum comfort.
Based on your body size and the size of this bib, what has been your experience with overall fit and the fit of the shoulder straps?
As a 5’8 male with a 32 inch waist, the medium size was the best choice for me. I found the legs to be slightly longer than other bibs out there, but not too long to cause discomfort. While in an riding position I experienced no discomfort whatsoever, that being said, standing up-right made things a bit tight up front. Castelli wasn’t lying when then said the front comes up high. The straps keep this bib in place while feeling light and airy around the back and shoulders.
At $250, this is a pricey — though not astronomically so — bit of kit. What kind of rider would you recommend consider buying the Premio Bibshort, and why?
The price of this bib is a bit steep, but I feel that you really get what you pay for with the Premio: advanced chamois pad, light weight, breathable, minimal seams. I would recommend any cyclist to consider trying these out. I would especially encourage those who are riding long distance, as the shorts become almost unnoticeable while riding.
Anything else we haven’t covered?
Style! This bib is sleek and smooth. With minimal seams and branding these things look great. Around back, each leg gets a small Castelli logo and modest dash of reflective print that is practical and looks neat.
For reference, please share your experience testing this bib.
My first ride with this bib was on one of my favorite routes that includes lots of climbing and tight turns. Before leaving the house, I felt a little skeptical about the tight fit. After a couple of miles warming up I had forgotten all about the slight discomfort I had felt after being in a riding position. The chamois pad provides a delightful mix of comfort and breathability. The compression in the legs and back offers support without feeling constricted. Overall, this is a high quality bib that any cyclist should consider trying out. Whether you are riding centuries, track racing, or commuting, this bib is worth every penny.