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.

individual fabric panels and parts for new 2021 castelli premio black cycling shorts

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.

closeup of fabric panels and parts for new 2021 castelli premio black cycling shorts

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.

2021 castelli progetto x2 bike shorts padding for men and women

Men’s version on the left, women’s on the right.

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.

closeup of fabric panels and parts for new 2021 castelli premio black cycling shorts

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.

2021 castelli premio black cycling bibshorts for men and women

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.

2021 castelli premio black cycling bibshorts for women

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.

Ride Review:

2021 castelli premio black cycling bibshorts for men and women

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.

castelli climbers jersey has longer sleeves for more aerodynamic sun protection

The Castelli Climber’s Jersey has longer sleeves, which are great for aerodynamics and sun protection, yet it’s still super lightweight.

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.


  1. K-Pop is dangerous to your health on

    At the rate everything is becoming longer we’ll be wearing Spiderman suits in a few years. Any tips on what brands make bibs that don’t come down to your kneecaps and short sleeves that go to the elbows?

  2. Rock on

    These looks great – Castelli – if you’re reading…. make these available in CUSTOM through the custom program. The Aero Bibs, while OK, are faaaaaaar below your competitors (Pearl Izumi, Garneau, Rapha, Giordana, etc) in terms of comfort (the straps suck, and there are too many seams). These shorts look like a step in the right direction.

  3. JRAshow Andrea on

    If you make a premium women’s bib without a pull-down-to-pee design of some sort, you’re way off the mark in today’s market, and it’s painfully obvious that making a women’s short was a “crap, I guess we need to do a women’s model or else they’ll yell at us” sort of decision.


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