Castelli Sorpasso Bib Knickers

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Manufacturer Description

Rossa Corsa Bib Knicker. That must be special. We’ve put all our best technologies into this exceptional tight. Progetto X2 seat pad, Giro++ straps, and a mix of fabrics, including our Thermoflex Core Due. By applying the technical advancement of hollow-core fibers, we’ve made these tights not only lighter than your normal tights but also warmer—and they keep you drier. Now you’re ready to put in those long base rides all winter long.

Features

  • Weather Conditions (per Castelli)
    • Min – 12 °C (53.6 °F)
    • Max – 20 °C (68.0 °F)
  • Thermoflex and Thermoflex Core Due fabric
  • Progetto X2 seat pad for maximum comfort
  • Giro++ straps on bib
  • Measured size large
    • Weight – 255 g (9.0 oz)
    • Inseam – 47.3 cm (18.6 in)
  • Retail – $160

YMMV Review

Castelli is a very well-known and high-end brand out of Italy. They have been the Castelli brand since 1974 but have roots all the way back to 1876. Castelli has been outfitting professional cycling teams since back in 1910. Today, they are dedicated to creating the most innovative clothing for the cyclist seeking maximum performance.

Winter Kit from the Front

I myself have seen the brand for years but had never had any personal experience with the clothing. This review was the first and hopefully not the last Castelli clothing I will wear. I tested these with the Castelli Transparente Jersey.

Testing

This winter I tested the Castelli Transparente Jersey with the Sorpasso Bib Knickers. I used them while commuting and road bike riding. The rides ranged primarily of distances from 15 to 30 miles. Since I tested these troughs the winter months, my rides were mainly in temperatures ranging from 30 to 60 degrees.

Design ★★★½☆

Appearance (25%) ★★★½☆

Construction (45%) ★★★★☆

Features (20%) ★★★☆☆

Sustainability (10%) ☆☆☆☆☆

The Sorpasso Bib Knickers are made of a combination of two different fabrics. These fabrics are fairly similar in that they both are insulating fabrics. One is just slightly thicker than the other. These fabrics have been strategically placed throughout the knickers to be located in optimum location for the best performance. All the fabrics are very breathable and have a 4-way stretch to them. The torso area is made of two different fabrics than the lower body is. The straps are Castelli’s Giro++ straps, which are stretchy and very thin for less bulk under a jersey. Between the back straps, there is a mesh panel which keeps the structure of the bib while being more breathable under a jersey.

Winter Kit from the Back

The Bib Knickers use the Progetto x2 chamois for comfort. It has 4-way stretch so it can move with your body better. For superior comfort the chamois has continuous variable thickness and seamless integrated technology. Continuous variable thickness is the use of differing thickness of padding in certain locations around the pad for optimum comfort and blood flow. Castelli’s seamless integrated technology creates a chamois with no seams, which can cause discomfort.  These technologies both make for a very comfortable chamois in these knickers.

The bibs do have quite a bit of branding to them. I prefer a little less, but this is just my opinion. Some of this branding is reflective and Castelli has added some extra reflective tabs as well. I have read where others have had some issues with the logos coming off on their bibs.  I have not had any issues with mine as of yet. If something does arise, I will check back in here. At the bottom of the legs, they have also added some gripper hems to keep the legs in place when riding.

Looking at the Castelli website and checking on the materials used in making this jersey. I did not see any information on the use of green or sustainable materials. Nor did I find any business statements addressing these issues. For these reasons, I gave this a rating of zero for sustainability.

Mesh Back Panel

Fit ★★★☆☆

Chamois (15%) ★★★☆☆

Comfort Next to Skin (20%) ★★★½☆

Ease of Movement (15%) ★★★☆☆

Leg Sizing (20%) ★★★½☆

Strap Comfort (15%) ★★★☆☆

Torso Sizing (15%) ★★★☆☆

I ended up testing a size large in the Sorpasso Bib Knickers even though I normally am a medium in most other brands. This was similar to what I tested in the jersey, and I had similar results. The large fit me really well all the way through. The Giro++ straps are different than the straps on any of my other bibs. They are nice and wide, which helps distribute the pressure and makes them more comfortable. The straps are also very thin and low profile, which helps them be less noticeable under the jersey. The torso length is a bit tight when standing up but when in cycling position the fit is right on. They should fit better when ridding the bike!

Progetto x2 Chamois

The knickers use the Progetto x2 seat pad, and I found it to be comfortable. It is soft against the skin, and I did not need any chamois cream for my rides up to 30 miles. Of course, everyone has different experiences when it comes to chamois, so I will not comment much further. The bibs are made of a combination of Thermoflex and Thermoflex Core fabrics. These fabrics have hollow core fibers to trap warm air next to the skin and stay warmer. They have also been strategically used in locations that are best for each fabric. Over the knees, the fabric is thinner and has more stretch for better mobility. For me, the knickers come down to the top of my calves. You can see in the pictures how long they are. They are a good length and fit my legs well. Once I had them on, they did not move which I appreciated.

Performance ★★★½☆

Breathability (20%) ★★★★☆

Chamois Padding (15%) ★★★½☆

Durability (20%) ★★★☆☆

Moisture Transport (10%) ★★★☆☆

Reflectivity (10%) ★★★☆☆

Warmth (15%) ★★★½☆

Wind Resistance (10%) ★★½☆☆

Unlike the Transparente Jersey that I tested these with the Sorpasso Bib Knickers does not have any wind blocking fabric. They do, however, keep the chill off relatively well. The warm inner fabric keeps your muscles warm even down to 30 degrees, but this was a little chilly. I would rate these as ideal for temperatures 4.4 °C (40 °F) to 18.3 °C (65 °F). I can normally handle a little colder on my legs than my torso so the lower limit for me might be lower than others. I do find these surprisingly warm for the thickness of them. I did not break a sweat too much this winter even on the larger hills but on my warmer rides, my legs always seemed dry and comfortable, so I will give some credit to the knickers. I assume the little sweat I had did escape. My lower back would get a bit sweatier, and the mesh back panel helped breathe well. After a minute or two of easier riding my lower back would be dry again.

Inside Fabrics & Stitching

The durability of the knickers thus far has been good. After many rides and washings, they still look and feel like they are new. The knickers have a bit more reflective elements than the Transparente jersey does, especially on the legs. Castelli uses tabs instead of transfers as they will last longer. The chamois as I mentioned above is really comfortable and well padded. Of course, these are my experience and chamois maybe a fickle issue. Unlike other chamois that have thicker and thinner padded ridges, this chamois feels flat to the touch but contains different density and thickness padding inside the outer layers. For me, I really liked it. The one thing I wish to be done better on these just like I mentioned on the jersey, is to have flat locked seams. With all the different panels, flat lock seams would be nice but definitely not a deal breaker.

Overall ★★★½☆

Leg Grippers

Overall, I have been a big fan of these as well. They are very comfortable all the way around, enough so that you do not think about them when riding which I think is the key. The knickers breathe really well but still maintains excellent warmth. They run about a size smaller than most US brands so size accordingly. If you are looking for a bit more coverage during the cooler months, I would definitely look at these. The fit is right on, and Catelli does a good job with fabric choice and all the details. The Sorpasso Bib Knickers retail for $160, and I think you get what you pay for with these. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Comfortable chamois
  • Good use of different fabrics
  • Low profile bib straps
  • Reflective elements

Cons

  • Wish the seams were flat locked

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About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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