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Ridden & Reviewed: Castelli Inferno Bibshorts & Climber’s 2.0 Jersey

August 13, 2015

It seems that over the years we’ve talked a fair amount about how to dress for cooler temperatures and cold weather. Maybe it’s because it’s rare that we get prolonged stretches of cold—this past winter notwithstanding. Or, maybe it’s because the scarcity of cold riding conditions means we’re inexperienced, leading most to ask “what should I wear” when the mercury starts to fall. Or, maybe it’s because we just assume that when it’s hot the recipe is simple: helmet, sunglasses, jersey, bibs or shorts—depending on your preference, socks, and shoes.

But not all hot weather gear is created equal.

Short sleeve jerseys generally come in slightly varying weights. If you’ve been by the shop recently you’ve seen a fair number of Bicycle Sport Shop branded pieces from different companies. Take all those jerseys in hand and compare them. Not for fit, which is surely going to vary, but for texture and weight. With standard jerseys there’s typically little difference. Most are similar in terms of fabric feel and weight, even from competing brands.

Then there’s Castelli Cycling.

Castelli has two pieces out that are tailor made for Texas summers–their remarkable Inferno Bibshort and the stunning Climber’s 2.0 Jersey. Both pieces push the boundary of what can be done with minimalist, yet sturdy fabrics to bring you unparalleled hot weather cycling comfort.

The Inferno Bibshort is a textile wonder. There are no fewer than six separate fabrics used in constructing the short. Two of which, the virtually sheer GiroAir leg gripper, and the perforated side panels, require the use of sunscreen. Castelli in fact recommends that added sun protection be utilized. The bibs also feature an updated Progetto 2X chamois and a race-oriented ergonomic cut.

Castelli Inferno Bibshort

Castelli’s Inferno Bibshort. A textile wonder .

The Inferno Bibshorts are race cut. My standard medium Castelli sizing had me wondering if I was mistakenly shipped a small when I first tried on these bibs. But after a couple of wear and wash cycles, the initial tightness gave way to a perfect fit. Still, the Inferno does represents the idea that quality bibs are designed and should function like a second skin.

I’ve gotten in this habit recently of taking new gear and, instead of slowly breaking it in, putting it right to the test on long, hard rides. And that pattern held true with the Inferno Bibshorts. 100+ miles with a little over 11,000 feet of climbing, the Inferno bibs were up to Austin’s first 100 degree summer day. The snug fit kept the chamois in place and the excellent fabrics kept dry despite hour after hour in the saddle and numerous water bottles being dumped over my head.

Castelli’s sunscreen suggestion is good advice. And I’d go so far as to say that utilizing sunscreen with these bibs and the Climber’s 2.0 Jersey is to wear these pieces properly. I heeded the suggestion and still managed to get a bit of sun through the Inferno bibs where I missed applying sunscreen or, more likely, it wore off during the course of my ride. With this caveat in mind, these may be the perfect hot weather bibs.

I also wore the Climber’s 2.0 Jersey. Like the bibs, this jersey is an exercise in minimalism. Joking with our eBay czar, I was saying it’s just a bit less than wearing cheesecloth in terms of weight. And, like the leg gripper on the Inferno bibs, it’s close to sheer, especially in the mostly white version. As a result, Castelli again recommends the use of sunscreen with this piece, which I successfully did.

Patterned after their Aero Race Jersey, the Climber’s 2.0 top features the same aero fit, albeit with lighter weight fabrics than the Aero Race. The back utilizes StradaPro 3D material to support the pockets and keep them from sagging. But it’s still thin to the point that it offers just 16 UPF protection, compared to the normal 30 of most other fabrics used in the line. The front and shoulders are made from a fabric that weighs a remarkably light 17 grams per square meter.

Castelli climber's 2.0 jersey

Castelli’s Climber’s 2.0 Jersey. An exercise in aerodynamic lightweight minimalism.

The fit of the jersey feels true to aero size. Like a skinsuit, it is snug with a collarless, low neckline and slightly longer sleeves than a standard jersey. The arm bands themselves are raw seemed at the edge for a flat fit that doesn’t move when riding, changing hand position on the bars, or digging through pockets looking for food. And again, like the Inferno Bibshorts the fabrics do the advertised task of helping keep you dry and cool in relentless heat. I’m typically unzipping my jersey at the hottest part of the day in an effort to get a little more breeze on my core and it wasn’t until I was riding the last few miles home in the Climber’s jersey that I did so–more out of habit than necessity.

At the end of what was my and my friends’ own take on the Tour das Hugel, the kit was dry and still fitting and feeling like it did when I put it on some seven plus hours earlier.

I am once again impressed with the workmanship and quality of Castelli’s condition-specific apparel. And given the rising summer temperatures we’ve seen over the last few days, I, for one, am looking forward to my next ride.

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