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Extended Review: Castelli Climber’s 3.0 Jersey and Premio Bib

We take a close look at our tester's favorite bib short/jersey combo for the 2021 summer season. If it's hot where you ride, read on.

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Review Rating


Basics

A lightweight and highly wicking jersey that keeps you cool and sheltered from the sun’s UV, while maintaining some trickle-down aerodynamic benefits from the Aero Race Jersey. The Premio Bibis Catelli’s top-of-the line, all seasons bib short designed with premium fabrics, a spare-no-expense chamois, and unique features such as lie-flat bib straps to keep everything in place.


Pros

Stays in place allowing you to keep the hammer down opposed to adjusting your clothing

Lightweight Excellent moisture wicking/quick drying

Aerodynamic benefits

Cons

Rear pockets are small and snug, limiting storage options

Excessive packaging


Size Reviewed

M/M

Brand

Castelli


Price

$140 jersey, $260 bib

The Basics

Castelli does not shy away from their commitment to aerodynamic benefits by designing their top-end jerseys in collaboration withTeam Ineos, a pro road cycling team known for maximizing marginal gains. The Climber’s 3.0 Jersey features computational fluid dynamics-placed fabrics for aero efficiency and elbow-length raw cut sleeves for added wind-cutting speed. Although this jersey is made for the big European climbs, when heat is a factor, it could be a great choice for hot, long-course events like Kona, if you’re not into a tri kit. It is exceptionally ventilated and quick drying while being absurdly lightweight at only 107 grams. The Premio Black Bib Shorts prove their moniker of less-is-more — constructed with fabric weighing 30% less than comparable fabrics, yielding bibs that weigh only 156 grams.

Additionally, the shorts are made with only three panels, which means fewer seams to rub against the skin, less stitching (the rear of the bib shorts is bonded,as opposed to being stitched to the back, eliminating feeling the edge of the shorts), and lighter fabric through the thighs giving a next-to-skin feeling.

The Good

I don’t like to fuss with my kit while I am riding. If it is something that I have to deal with, it means I’m not focusing on enjoying the ride or putting out my maximum effort. With Castelli’s offering, that is a moot point. Once you put this kit on, you do not need to touch it until it is time for it to come off. The sleeves on the jersey are long and the fit is very “pro.” Neither the jersey nor bib shorts bunch, move, or shift at all — maintaining the same aero fit and benefits throughout your time on the bike. The jersey does an excellent job at keeping you cool, as I realized I had barely needed to “open up” the jersey on even long, sun- exposed climbs.

The bib shorts are definitely one of the most comfortable bibs I have ever worn, and I have worn a lot of different brands over the years. They also provide the proper amount of compression, mid thigh, with unique compressive bands, as opposed to an entire panel of simply tighter fabric. There is consistent flexibility through the hips and back that does not shift around when moving from seated to climbing out of the saddle positions. On the back, the rear of the shorts are bonded (i.e., glued) to the vented back panel. Although I question it’s longevity through multiple washes, the absence of any stitching across the lower back was very welcomed — let’s just say a “riding commando” kind of welcoming. The jersey and bib short materials wick sweat off you efficiently, leaving no moisture or making you look like salt lick.

Finally, Castelli claims that the rear fabric blocks 90% of UV. Although I was apprehensive heading out on a sunny day wearing what appears to be vellum (that’s that wasted piece of translucent paper over fancy wedding announcements), I was pleasantly not sunburnt despite five hours of time on the bike.

The Not-So-Good

Let’s be honest, this is a $400 warm-weather kit, making it a tough pill to swallow when you are considering buying those new custom racing goggles. Although the bib shorts can be used year round (and due to the subtle, minimal branding could pair with multiple top pieces throughout the year), the jersey is definitely limited to warm riding. It is nearly transparent (you can see my tattoos through it), and although you could layer it with a base layer – the fabrics and noticeably smaller rear pockets do keep this in a hot summer “climber” jersey category.

Although the bibs are premium, the packaging does not have to be. When we should be focusing on environmental sustainability (after all, our sport depends on it), the packaging is way over the top (the bibs are wrapped in nice paper with an information booklet/pamphlet, placed in a box within a box). Unboxing the bibs made me think that the pricing could come down a bit with some more reasonable packaging. At the very least, I hope they look towards competitors such as MAAP and Velocio for their commitments towards sustainability.

Conclusions

As Ferris Bueller puts it, “It is so choice.” If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” This kit is a Ferrari. It is fast, aerodynamic, with sleek Italian styling (and in my case, was red), but also expensive and not very utilitarian. However, for days when the temperature and road points upwards, this is an excellent choice.

RELATED: Triathlete’s Men’s 2021 Summer Cycling Clothing Roundup