Summer Cycling Kit Reviews – Castelli Aero Race Jersey & Body Paint Bibshorts
As if to exemplify the disparity in sizing, Castelli’s Aero Race jersey and Body Paint bib shorts are on the opposite end of the spectrum from other cycling gear I’ve tested this summer. While the Mavic kits were Medium and fit my 6’2″ / 180lb frame just fine, both pieces here are XL. And it’s the tightest bit of kit in the group.
That aside, it’s pretty comfortable stuff…though I’d likely opt for an 2XL jersey. The graphics on the jersey have been changed since this kit came in, but the cut is very similar to the newer 3.1 model. Front panel is a thin “Velocity” lycra that’s very smooth. Under the arms is a dimpled material, and the entire back, including the three pockets, is a very see-through mesh. Sleeve openings are a little tighter with a grippier feel on the inside (though no silicone grippers are visible) so they fit snug and flush against your arms.
The Body Paint 1.0 shorts have an entirely smooth surface all the way around and just two seams on the lowers, both hidden from the wind. The Body Paint 2.0 bibs are the current version, but changes are subtle and mentioned as applicable…
The leg openings have the same grippy-without-grippers finish that keeps it tight on the skin. Unlike some continuous grippers, this hasn’t cracked or separated from the material. It feels almost impregnated into the fabric.
Shoulder straps are super thin and stretchy enough to fit well. With my height, I’ve found many tighter bib shorts to also be quite short, making them uncomfortable to actually stand upright while wearing. Wasn’t a problem with these. Jersey has a 2/3 zipper, which Castelli says is sized to minimize drag, presumably by keeping the zipper from slipping too far down and making a parachute out of the jersey.
Three rear pockets with a somewhat non-stretchy bottom keep things in place without sagging. But, because the jersey’s so snug, you don’t want to overload them. There’s an elastic gripper on the bottom of the jersey to keep it in place.
The chamois is their Progetto X2, which uses a multi-density inner padding over a smooth, soft cover. It’s fairly thin and generally very comfortable, though I found this one’s comfort to be more variable depending on the saddle I was riding at the time.
The Body Paint 2.0, which is what you’d get if you ordered one now, has sublimated graphic bands around the leg openings and 3D knit section on the lower sides of the legs. Castelli says this improves moisture management and aerodynamics, presumably in the same way dimples improve a golf ball’s distance. More on that tech in this post.
Retail for the current models are:
- Body Paint 2.0 Bibshort: $249.99
- Aero Race 3.1 Jersey: $159.99
Both pieces look and feel fast. The Aero Jersey is designed to perform like a skinsuit while letting you look “normal” on the group rides. Same with the Body Paint bibshorts. Going from even a standard kit to something as tight and form fitting as these does make a tangible difference. Castelli claims a 10 second improvement over 40km at 40kph. I don’t ride that fast for that long, but the mental advantage to not feeling your jersey flapping around is worth plenty. Materials are soft and comfy, though if your thighs are on the larger side of things, they may feel a bit tight as your muscle pump up on the ride.