The Free Race Bib Short has been Castelli's best selling bib for several years. Along the way, it has been tweaked and updated, but for 2015 a re-engineering took place. You will find the same classic shape and structure, but the materials, construction and stitching have all been changed to reflect advancements in knowledge, technology, and aerodynamics. The design and features you have come to love with the Free define the parameters of the new design, with the same open, low waisted front design holding true. In advancing the best selling bib, Castelli has given specific attention to comfort, muscle compression/support, and aerodynamics.
Perhaps the most noticeable change has come with the new design of the bib shoulder straps. The Carré shoulder yoke lies flat and seamless, with minimal material to acheive maximum affect. The soft, elastic material glides gently over the shoulder and upper back for irritation free comfort. The straps lie perfectly flat and don't curl up. A second area of comfort improvement is in the inner thigh region. By moving to a softer Forza fabric with a higher Lycra content, the designers improved muscle compression while reducing potential chafing in this key zone. Additonally the percentage of Lycra throughout the design has increased blood flow and compression without constricting. Special attention was paid to the leg gripper. A new Giro Air material was added to keep the gripper functional, while distributing the compression over a wider area, reducing tight spots, and allowing for more even compression. The band is lighter, and actually semi-transparent when stretched. You will want to make sure your sun protection is applied under this leg gripper.
The chamois has also been upgraded with the new Progetto X2 Air seat pad. This multidensity, shaped pad provides protection and comfort for all day events, but is light, moves moisture exceptionally well, and affords the rider as much freedom as possible. The perforated foam layer breathes and supports equally well, and the same antibacterial properties you have come to expect are here. The double V front of the pad allows for less bunching and integrates nicely with the front of the bib for ideal tension and against-the-skin comfort. Ideally we all want the chamois to function, but not be noticeable. Castelli even made the surface material of the pad softer, and it was plenty soft before. The key to the function and base comfort of the Free's open design has always been the Doppio construction of the lower torso. The new model uses a Doppio V design to keep the lower front panel providing transverse abdominal support without constriction or too much vertical pull. All the elements of the Free you have known and loved are here, just completely re-thought and improved.
Of course, the new model is named the Free Aero Race, so you know Castelli's emphasis on aerodynamics has been applied here as well. For the last few years Castelli has introduced Aero specific clothing to everyday cyclists and racers alike. We are now seeing the true integration of these aerodynamic principles, materials, and design with the best cycling clothing made. The designers have been insistent and diligent that these be true integrations with function and form matching the aero benefits, without adding significant weight or heavy materials to the garments chosen. With the Free Aero Race, you can see the Vortex dimple fabric across the lower back, into the the side leg panels and integrated with the Giro Air leg gripper band. Castelli's goal was to maximize the boundary-layer airflow as it approaches and travels from the leading surface of the leg and is forced outward over the leg and past the body. Castelli's wind tunnel says it saves 10 watts at 50 km/h, with benefit increasing at higher speeds. It can be difficult to test and consider all aero claims in total, but clothing is a part of the aerodynamic picture, and if you can gain speed and save watts, while enjoying a fantastic, supremely engineered bibshort with what many consider the best fit on the market, the Free Aero Race is your best choice.