As we're sure that you know, we love to dig into every detail of cycling apparel, especially the fabrics. However, when something is as fresh, new, and innovative as the Castelli Inferno Bib Shorts, we understand that trade secrets will not be divulged. Instead, we're forced to put the nameless under the microscope and investigate how the fabrics work as a system. So, like a great musician, we've come to appreciate, and even rely on, the Inferno as a body of work, not a collection of hit singles.
The reasons for this are stacking. Of the seven fabrics used throughout the Inferno, five them are only found on this one piece. That's right, Castelli developed and engineered five distinct materials for the shorts portion alone. So, the question begs to be asked, for what purpose? Well, as the name implies, the Inferno was created as a counter-offensive to treacherous heat. And along these lines, you'll immediately notice what appear to be mesh panels along the sides of the legs. Note that we said 'appears' in this instance. This is worth noting, as this is no ordinary mesh. Instead, Castelli developed this material as a perforated panel of 94% polyester. As a result, breathability is increased throughout the shorts, and due to its composition, moisture absorption is reduced to nearly nano levels. Additionally, in comparison to mesh, this fabric shields the skin from exposure, meaning that you don't appear half naked on the bike.
However, if your mind thinks like ours, support to the muscles becomes an immediate concern when viewing such a lightweight, breathable panel. Well, there's no need to fret, as Castelli designed this material with a fiber weight that lends itself to both flexibility and support. In fact, this trend is carried out throughout the rest of the shorts, as well. Truly, this is where the Inferno separates itself from anything else on the market.
Typically, bib shorts are either supportive or breathable -- you get one or the other. However, 'one-or-the-other' simply wouldn't cut it for Team Garmin Barracuda in the sweltering heat of the 2012 Giro and Tour. Accordingly, a balance was struck between these characteristics, and the front and rear panels feature a proprietary 190 gram polyester/Lycra blend. If you're seeking relevance for this designation, it ranks similarly, in the supportive sense, to the material used in the Aero Race bib shorts. However, there isn't simply one panel for both the front and rear. Instead, you'll find that Castelli place another exclusive fabric directly over the quadriceps and hamstrings. These panels feature a rib knit construction that adds both a compressive nature and an increased permeability. So, breathability continues as the name of the game throughout ever centimeter of the shorts.
As for fit, the Inferno is a racing thoroughbred. It's slim, precise, and deliberate. And given that it was developed directly with the Garmin squad, this should come as no surprise. Along these lines, the cut of the bib shorts follows a contour in order to mimic and support the movements of cycling. So, there's no risk of bunching, pinching, or abrasion when you're either stretched over the hoods or buried down in the drops. Supporting the fit are Castelli's lightweight polyester/Lycra bib straps. And when we say lightweight, we mean it. In fact, the entire upper design is so lightweight that it's nearly transparent. At the legs, you'll find Castelli's venerable Giro3 single-layer leg grippers that're found on the Aero Race bib shorts.
For the chamois, Castelli incorporated its most innovative insert, the Progetto X2 Air. The Progetto's surface uses a skin-care layer comprised of a seamless bacteriostatic fabric that conforms to the body without folding. Accordingly, this material supports airflow, while also aiding in rapid evaporation. For the second layer, the X2 features a variable density foam with variable thickness. Essentially, this places support where you need it, not where you don't. The comfort level is also aided by Castelli's Viscous comfort inserts, which are perforated padding at the highly-sensitive ischial and perineum pressure regions.
The Castelli Inferno Bib Shorts are available in six sizes from Small to XXX-Large and in the colors Black, Black/white, and White/grey. Please note that due to the lightweight composition of the Inferno, Castelli recommends applying sunscreen when you ride in these shorts. This design trend has been carried out throughout the rest of the shorts, as well.