By paring down the bibshort to just a few pieces of fabric, the new Castelli Premio Black bike shorts provide maximum comfort with minimal material.
The main body of the shorts is just three pieces of fabric…one for each leg, plus a front panel. And the fabric itself is lighter and thinner thanks to an exclusive new “engineered” weaving process that allows them to change the nature of the material throughout each panel.
Meaning, the Lycra is woven closer to the inside face at the leg openings, adding grip without having to apply a silicone gripper afterward. Above that, it gets thinner and lighter, with bands added for both aerodynamics and compression around your quads.
The seat of the Premio Black shorts is densier and thicker to offer more overall compression around your hips and to help the pad stay in place. They say that compared to knit fabrics, their woven technology results in a lighter, thinner fabric that helps keep you cooler without sacrificing any performance.
Two other details set the shorts apart. First is the latest version of their Progetto X2 Air chamois, which uses a two-layer design to keep a softer fabric against the skin. Under that is a mix of soft- and medium-density foams plus three small gel pads at key pressure points.
The second are these bonded-and-stitched strap reinforcements. At first glance, they seem superfluous for a short that’s trying to eliminate anything extra. But, they serve to keep the straps laying flat against your skin, so they won’t bunch up over the course of the ride.
As for logos on the outside, they’re laser etched so that they won’t fade over time.
The waist sits high, and it’s also seamless, leading into a mesh upper back panel. It’s perforated, not a knit, and then it’s bonded to the lowers without any stitching. On the front, it’s a seamlessly cut edge with some sections folded over for additional comfort.
For the women’s version, all of the technology is the same, but the design differs slightly. The legs are a bit shorter, and the gripper section is 1cm shorter (6cm versus 7cm). The bibstraps are a bit wider, and there’s also a strapless shorts version, too. They also get a women’s specific pad.
Basically, the Premio Black shorts live up to the hype Castelli is surrounding them with. We’ve been out on a number of long, hard, and fast rides in them and they are indeed quite comfortable.
They’re also light, and quite supportive. The banded legs and seamless gripper edge stay in place, never once creeping up unintentionally. Even better, I never had to adjust them for comfort…the gripper keeps them in place without pulling on my skin.
The straps are appropriately wide and comfortable, too. And they’re long enough. I’m testing an XL, which worked great for my 6’2″ frame of average proportions. It’s worth noting that some Castelli “XL” items in the past have been laughably tight and small, clearly marked in European (and Italian specifically) “XL” sizing, not American.
Paired with the ultralight Climber’s Jersey, which has a claimed weight of just 107g, they make for a perfect kit on hot summer days. The jersey is nearly see-through, so it’s very breathable, yet I didn’t get sunburned through it. The longer sleeves come all the way down, covering my entire upper arm right to the top of the elbow, too. I love it, but shorter riders might find them a little long.
If you’re looking for a fresh set of bibshorts for summer and want something that’s supportive, cool, and comfortable over the long haul, the new Castelli Premio Black are worth a look.
Retail is $259.99, and they’ll be available in black at launch, with a very dark Savile Blue color following a few weeks later.