If you spend long days in the saddle the Castelli Progetto X2 Air seamless chamois is one of the best options on the market. The Sorpasso RoS bibtights wrap it in the right fabrics to be your solution for long-distance riding in wet winter weather.
- - Top-quality chamois
- - Extra water resistance in the thigh and lower back
- - Better fit at the ankle due to zippers
- - Vertical seams in the pelvis need reinforcement
- - Logos will crack and peel off
It's hard to stay warm on a bike when the wind and rain are coming through your bib tights. If you live in a part of the world where cold and wet riding is your normal winter experience, you know this is the first place to start upgrading. Take one look at the Castelli Sorpasso RoS bib tights, and you can see Castelli understands this, too.
We think the Castelli solution is a good one - good enough that we included it in our list of the best winter bib tights for cycling in the cold. To make sure we have a good understanding of what all the strengths and weaknesses are though, we've spent a decent amount of time testing them. Castelli offers a range of options that are similar, and allow you to precisely narrow down the right bib tights for your riding. Keep reading to see all the details about the Castelli Sorpasso RoS bib tights and under what situations they are the right option to choose.
Design and aesthetics
The base of the Castelli Sorpasso RoS Bib tight is the Progetto X2 Air Seamless seat pad (chamois), it's from this point that the whole piece build. You can find the same design in summer bib shorts from Castelli so there are no winter specifics here. Instead, it's all about staying compact with high density.
The first layer is a soft four-way stretch microfibre that feels like flannel. Backing the top layer is a thin layer of foam with a three-dimensional pattern to it. There are thick sections and there are thin circular sections arranged in rows. The graphics printed on the top mimic the design but the actual structure is only in the back. The alternating thickness helps keep the top layer dry by promoting wicking.
That first layer of foam isn't there to provide padding, that job goes to the insert below. The actual insert floats freely inside a kind of pocket created by the top layer, and it's fairly narrow and sits within a compact outline. Most of the structure is a shaped foam that gets thinner as it radiates away from the pressure points. Right under each sit bone and the perineum is an extra layer of viscous padding. It's very thin and you can't differentiate it from the surrounding area. It's there to provide extra density at the contact points, making it impossible to completely compress the pad in those spots.
The rest of the Castelli Sorpasso RoS Bib Tight design comes down to the use of two fabrics. The majority of the piece uses the same Nano Flex 3G fabric you can find in the Nano Flex warmers from Castelli. The backing is a low pile fleece and the front uses a proprietary third generation of nanotechnology water-repellent finish. It features a chemical DWR (durable water repellent) coating as well as "millions of ultra-tiny nanofilaments that cause water droplets to bead up on the surface of the garment and run off instead of pooling on the fabric and soaking through."
Nano flex is highly breathable, ultra-stretchy, and generally comfortable but not all that watertight. To take care of rain intrusion the front of the torso, thighs, and the lower back uses Nano Flex Xtra Dry fabric instead. The Xtra Dry version of the Nano Flex fabric is similar but different in a few ways. The outer face uses a tighter knit, a double-layer construction, and a better DWR treatment. On the inner surface, there's still heat-trapping insulation but it's a little more compact. Both sides feel smoother because of the tight-knit.
The Castelli Sorpasso RoS Bib tights match my needs really well. In terms of fit, they are tight. This is a race fit and if you want them to be looser, size up. The bottom of the leg finishes just above the ball of the ankle and doesn't leave any extra room for cold air down low. In the rear there's a zipper that doesn't feel strictly necessary but does make them easier to get on.
A really nice feature for long-distance riding is the design of the knee. Even the best seam can start chafing on long rides. To combat the problem Castelli wraps the fabric and offsets the seam from the knee. The effect is to move it from the back of the knee to the inside.
Keep moving up and that's where the Nano Flex Xtra dry starts. The lower legs don't get much rain exposure so it always makes sense to leave those areas for better ventilation and that's the strategy. The thighs are where you get wet, and that's where you get better coverage in these. Then, since rain protection and wind protection go hand in hand, you benefit from extra wind protection in the lower abdomen. The protection from road spray at the low back is another nice feature that understands not everyone will have mudguards in every situation.
For me what the Castelli Sorpasso RoS Bib tights represent are a way to get my favourite chamois wrapped into a winter solution. Given the option, I almost always choose the Progetto X2 Air and it never leaves me bruised, no matter how long I ride. The fabrics for the rest of the design mean coverage for almost all the winter riding I'll encounter, but it's the chamois that makes it all work.
Although not specifically called out as such, the Castelli Sorpasso RoS Bib tights are an excellent long-distance solution. When you plan to spend a lot of time in the saddle and you need the right bib tights for light rain and temperatures ranging from 4-15C / 40-60F these will be a good choice. They breathe well, the inside is comfortable, and the choices made in the pattern will limit any chafing issues.
Tech Specs: Castelli Sorpasso RoS Bib tight
- Price: £170 / $209.99 / €169.95 / AU$289
- Available Colours: Black/Fiery Red, Black/Silver Reflex, Savile Blue, Black
- Materials: [face fabric] Nano Flex 3G, [front/thighs] Nano Flex Xtra Dry
- Weight: 302g
- Recommended Temperatures: 0-12C / 32-54F
- Size availability: S-XXXL
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