Castelli Bib Shorts -Which High Tech NASA Fabrics Do They Feature?

Castelli bib shorts are right up there at the pinnacle of cycling shorts. Made in Italy (who knows, maybe they’re made in east Italy, aka China), there are currently (9/01/09) five models of Castelli bib shorts.

They range in price from the $229 Free bibshort to the $79 Ergo Due bibshorts.

It’s interesting to note that the chamois is now called a ‘seatpad’. I guess the new nomenclature makes a lot more sense, since it’s been a few decades since sheep had to donate their skin for the sake of bike shorts. Anyhow…the two upper end Castelli models feature the AC seatpad and the three lower end models have the Kiss seatpad.

The AC 37 Seatpad Is Out Of This World

Castelli tells us that the AC 37 (Active Cushioning, Temp Control) seatpad is a ‘feat of science’. Take note that it’s a ‘feat of science’, not musical harmonics, recreational pursuit, or esoteric contemplation. A feat of science.
castelli bib shorts

All kidding aside, like with a lot of products in the world, NASA’s research is put to good use in these seatpads. Castelli claims that NASA-designed ComfortTemp keeps the seatpad at a constant 98 degree temperature.

Since the temperature of my crotch gets significantly above 98 degrees during a strenuous hill climb, I’d look forward to a measurable cooling effect should I ever be able to afford these $229 products of the space industry. Wait, there’s more.

This chamois (there’s that old fashioned word again) uses three layers of multi-density foam which are thermowelded together. Additionally, there is a claim of additional perforations for more airflow to the pad.

KISS My Seatpad

Castelli claims the Castelli bib shorts KISS seatpad to be ‘award winning’. This could be significant or it could mean very little.

As an example, his website has been awarded ‘Edie’s (my mom) award’ many times over, which is of course very significant. If mama Castelli has awarded the KISS seatpad a prize, I’m duly impressed.

Besides the award, the only other attribute mentioned about the KISS seatpad is that the three layers have been thermowelded together.

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The fabric on the three upper end bib shorts are subjected to a hydrophilic (lover of water) treatment called Prosecco. This causes water droplets to spread out over a larger area, enhancing evaporation.

The two upper end models (the Free bibshort and the Endurance bibshort) feature Energia fabric. This fabric is designed for horizontal stretching to support the muscles. I suppose this is Castelli’s contribution to the trend toward compressing muscles to optimize performance.

Energia fabric also has a ribbed surface to aid in aerodynamics. If you haven’t heard yet, irregular surface technology, like that used on a golf ball is being incorporated into a lot of cycling apparel for the sake of aerodynamics.

The three lower end bibshorts have to be content with being made of common Affinity Lycra.

There are a few other high tech features on the upper end ‘Free’ bibshorts, like Breathe fabric. This is used on the front and low back because it is an open weave design, allowing for significant airflow.

Summation, Please…

The lower end Castelli bib shorts are well-made by a very reputable company. They will serve any cyclist well. The upper end shorts, the $229 Free Bib shorts and the $179 Endurance Bib shorts are loaded with materials to satisfy any obsession with cycling technology.

These Castelli bib shorts have technological advantages as well as ‘image’ advantages at the local coffee roasting store after a group ride.

If you’d like to see the largest online selection of Castelli bib shorts…look no further than Amazon.  They’ve come a long way from being merely ‘book sellers’.

Cycling bib shorts Wiki article
Cycling bib shorts eHow article
Homepage from Castelli bib shorts
Castelli bib shorts

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