Part of Castelli’s ‘Rain or Shine’ collection, the Sorpasso RoS women’s bib tights are a practical and performance-oriented piece of cycling kit that doesn’t compromise on comfort.
The Sorpasso bib tights are designed to help keep you comfortable on long rides, so I clocked up big days in the saddle to fully test this claim. I found the fleece lining soft but not too thick and the tights were suitably breathable over several hours.
As Castelli itself will admit, these tights are not designed to be waterproof, rather water-repellent, but they outperformed my expectations in heavy rain and kept the vast majority of the water away from my skin.
The fit is the true showstopper though, with a high back piece and lay-flat straps supporting my upper body and compressive panels on the legs. Castelli states that the bib tights use an anatomic cut on the hips and knees and, whilst I haven’t seen the fabric pattern, I can confirm they were extremely comfortable in both areas.
Castelli Sorpasso RoS women’s bib tights: Fabric and features
Like most cycling clothing, the Sorpasso RoSs boast a long list of proprietary technologies. The bib tights, in simple terms, are made of 85% polyamide (nylon) and 15% elastane (spandex) and this is broken down into two proprietary Castelli fabrics.
The main bulk of the bib tights is made from Nano Flex 3G material, which is the third generation of the brand’s water-repellent fabric. According to Castelli, this version of Nano Flex has its best water-repelling performance without compromising on breathability, warmth or stretch.
Nano Flex Xtra Dry fabric has been used on the hips and thighs, areas more susceptible to direct wind and rain, for added warmth. Castelli recommends the Sorpasso RoSs for riding temperatures between -2 to 10°C, a decent range for winter riding in moderate climates.
The bib tights also feature YKK Camlock ankle zips. I’m generally quite sensitive to zips on clothing – often finding them to itch or bunch up mid-ride – but these have been fitted on the back of the calf so don’t clash with the ankle bone and were unnoticeable when on.
In the same area of the bib tights, two of the colour options have reflective panels, bigger than the minimalist decals that you typically see. They won’t light you up on the road but they are a nice addition for those who want to be a little more visible.
The chamois is Castelli’s long-distance women’s padding, the Progetto X2 Air. According to Castelli, it adapts to ‘the shape of your body and saddle without any folds in the fabric’ and also features a ventilated skin-care layer. Perforated padding is used to protect the most sensitive areas of the riders anatomy.
The only missing element is that of a comfort break feature, which does feature on some of Castelli’s other bib tights such as the Semifreddo. Given that the Sorpassos are pitched at longer winter rides where you are more likely to be layered up for hours at a time, a nature break feature would have been the icing on the cake.
Castelli Sorpasso RoS women’s bib tights: Fit and sizing
The Sorpasso RoS tights are designed to be a performance fit, aiming to utilise compression without compromising on warmth or comfort.
I got these in a size large and, as a size 12 in regular clothes, these were a good fit and felt true to size in comparison to other bib tights I’ve tried. The hip and knee panels are cut to follow the rider’s anatomy and they didn’t bunch or fold while riding.
If you’ve not used compressive bib tights before, I’d say to expect them to feel a little tighter than usual.
At 5’7, the legs are a good length for me and also feel like they have enough stretch to fit both taller and shorter riders.
The straps are flat, connecting to a high back panel, and are stretchy but not too slack. Combined with the back piece, they give more support than I was expecting and worked well whilst in a riding position.
Castelli Sorpasso RoS women’s bib tights: Performance
I was lucky enough to be testing these over a snowy period of winter so got to experience them at the bottom end of their recommended temperature range.
In -2°C, the Sorpasso RoSs kept my legs warm and blocked the majority of the wind from coming through the fabric. I had worried that the compression would make my legs feel cold but this was not the case and I maintained good circulation throughout.
The compressive fit gave the bib tights a racy feel whilst the fleece lining and high waist and back panels made them a pleasurable wear for many hours on the bike.
The chamois felt quite thick when I first got on the bike but quickly bedded down into an almost indiscernible layer. It performed as Castelli said, bending rather than folding which meant that it was even and protective regardless of what position I was in on the saddle.
The ‘Rain or Shine’ element of the bib tights also lives up to its name. The fabric kept the water away from my skin in heavy rain, initially beading up on the surface and then eventually forming a run-off layer.
After the longest wet ride in the Sorpassos, there was some moisture on the inner side of the fabric but this was more from perspiration rather than rain, making breathability the only area that these bib tights could marginally improve on.
Castelli Sorpasso RoS women’s bib tights: Verdict
The Castelli Sorpasso RoS bib tights are an ideal set of winter bibs for those who want to put in long hours on the bike, in all conditions, and still be comfortable whilst doing so. They would also make a good race bib tight for the colder parts of the season.
They aren’t cheap, coming in at £199, but would make a worthwhile investment for those willing to commit.
Still on the prowl for the perfect pair of winter bib tights? See our buyer’s guide to the best women’s bib tights for cycling in the cold.