Castelli Omloop thermal bibs

Castelli's Omloop bibs earn high marks for providing plenty of cold-weather insulation without feeling restrictive





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If you live anywhere with cool to cold temperatures and haven’t tried thermal bibs, this is the year to give them a go. Thermal shorts are the jam and Castelli’s Omloop thermal bibs are our new go-to choice for chilly fall rides.

Photo: Brad Kaminski |
Photo: Brad Kaminski |

They look a little funny at first glance with longer legs panels that stretch down to the knees. In fact, I didn’t know what to think of this extra long design and initially assumed they were supposed to be knickers and that my legs were too long. But they are in fact shorts and are meant to reach all the way down to your knees without actually covering the joint. The bibs use a soft, raw edge at the bottom of the leg panels for added comfort instead of elastic bands or grippers. This keeps the long short from squeezing or digging into the backs or your knees when pedaling.

Castelli came up with this funky bib design thanks to Jeremy Hunt of the 2009 Cervélo TestTeam. Hunt raced Omloop Nieuwsblad in knee warmers cut off at the knee because he wanted the extra protection on his legs without adding resistance around his knees. So Castelli took this idea and went to work designing longer bibs for cold and rainy rides just like you’ll find during Belgium’s early spring races.

The Omloop bibs use a thermoflex fabric that is soft and fuzzy on the inside for a cozy and warm feeling but they maintain the signature flex and breathability of Castelli’s normal bibs. The fleece lining protects the hips from the cold, which kept me from feeling so tight and rigid after finishing a chilly spin. They’re best suited for temperatures around 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit but I’ve been wearing them on even colder days when paired with a set of leg warmers and warmer jersey.

Photo: Brad Kaminski |
Photo: Brad Kaminski |

The women’s specific Omloop bibs are comfortable with a Progetto X2 Air women’s chamois that is made for long rides and mesh bib straps that stretch gently over shoulders without causing uncomfortable pressure. At $149, the bibs aren’t actually that expensive compared to some of Castelli’s and other luxury apparel companies’ bibs and tights. They are more of a limited use kind of item, one that calls for pretty specific conditions to use, but they’re so comfortable and cozy that we hope our cool fall and winter weather sticks around a little longer this year.

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