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review

Castelli Entrata Thermal Bibknicker

8
£105.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Warm, comfortable, affordable and Castelli good looks – what's not to like?
Warm, even when wet
Comfortable pad
Well cut
No DWR treatment
No flat seams
Weight: 
224g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Castelli Entrata Thermal Bibknicker is a stripped-back, relatively low-cost 3/4 bib for cold days. But don't let the price or spec fool you – it's a cracking ride and exceeded expectations in a wider range of conditions than expected.

> Buy now: Castelli Entrata Thermal Bibknicker for £57.75 from Merlin

Looking for new tights? Our best 3/4 length cycling tights buyer's guide lists our top choices at a wide range of prices.

I've been a huge fan of 3/4 or 'knicker' bib shorts for years. I dig them out in cloudy weather below about 10°C – as my legs run pretty cold, and I relish the feeling of warm knees. I'm not a huge fan of leg warmers as I find them a bit of a faff. The beauty of a knicker is that you can pair it with short or long socks, and when paired with a knee-length thermal waterproof sock, the combined effect of keeping blood warm on its way down to your feet is nothing less than a revelation when it gets properly nippy.

2023 Castelli Entrata Thermal Bibknicker - cuff logo.jpg

It's not a case that 3/4 bibs are just for road or gravel either – I often wear them under waterproof mountain bike trail pants, where the bib knees can make the often crinkly waterproof fabric more comfortable to pedal in without overheating.

The Entrata is definitely a base-spec product – but being Castelli that doesn't mean cheap or nasty. At £105 they are still a significant investment – but you get performance that belies the price.

2023 Castelli Entrata Thermal Bibknicker - straps front.jpg

The main point here is the use of Thermoflex fabric, which is at the core of Castelli's highly regarded and long-lived thermal arm, leg and knee warmer range. Flexible, breathable and brushed-fleece-warm, quick to dry and comfortable even when wet, Thermoflex really is a miracle fabric.

No, it's not waterproof, and doesn't have a DWR treatment that would allow water to bead off. That's just about my only criticism of the Entrata Thermal – and I'd possibly consider doing a DIY DWR treatment using a technical wash solution to up the fabric's game.

As befits the price you're getting Castelli's KISS AIR2 pad, which I found perfectly comfortable for rough, rocky rides over three hours long. The seams aren't flatlocked but I found no irritation next to my skin.

2023 Castelli Entrata Thermal Bibknicker - chamois.jpg

There's a white reflective logo below the right knee to aid visibility, and a small Castelli scorpion logo on the other knee so people can see your brand affinity.

2023 Castelli Entrata Thermal Bibknicker - logo.jpg

The back and straps are made of a light mesh fabric that I found wide enough to be supportive.

2023 Castelli Entrata Thermal Bibknicker - straps back.jpg

The Thermoflex comes up high enough at the back to keep your lower back warm, and about to navel level at the front.

2023 Castelli Entrata Thermal Bibknicker - straps mesh.jpg

Castelli rates the Entrata Thermal down to 12°C – but I can happily testify that they work well far below that. My coldest ride was hovering at around just 2°C for a couple of hours and I was perfectly comfortable. That said, I was working pretty hard, and I'm not sure I'd have have been warm enough otherwise. But if I was on a more leisurely ride at that sort of temperature I'd have probably gone foe padded thermal trousers.

2023 Castelli Entrata Thermal Bibknicker - back.jpg

I also found that the Entrata worked well in the wet, though again this will probably depend on how hard you're working. On one consistently wet ride – we've had cold, so why not wet? – the tights had completely wetted out after a couple of hours, but crucially they still remained comfortable.

There seems to be a point beyond which Thermoflex doesn't absorb any more water, when it works almost like a wetsuit: you heat up the water that's against your skin and that's it.

2023 Castelli Entrata Thermal Bibknicker - legs back.jpg

The fit is what Castelli calls 'Regular'. I'm 6' tall, 83Kg and used to be a slim build – curse you, metabolism, wine and cheese! The Large fitted perfectly, with Castelli's size calculator telling me they would be a personally 'tailored' fit, falling between 'Race' and 'Relaxed'.

Value

If money is no object, you might be enticed by the Ashmei Winter Merino knicks Ashmei Winter Merino knicks I tested and really liked a few winters ago. These cost over £200 and are made of a merino-mix material, which offers a step up in both warmth and water resistance.

Hollis liked the much more affordable Endura FS260 Pro Thermo Bibnicker that comes in at £89.99. These are quite long in the calf and I'm not convinced of the looks, but that might just be me.

Jo rated the Stolen Goat Orkaan 3/4 tights, which benefit from a long-lasting DWR treatment, so they might also be worth a look.

Conclusion

There's not much more to write about these – I found the Entrata Thermal Bibknicker warm and comfortable, they don't cost that much and they wash up well even after pretty mucky gravel rides. At that price you could have two pairs on rotation and not wince much. Chapeau, Castelli!

Verdict

Warm, comfortable, affordable and Castelli good looks – what's not to like?

road.cc test report

Make and model: Castelli Entrata Thermal Bibknicker

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the product is for

They are for people wanting to ride in cold and maybe wet weather, but who want the flexibility of a 3/4.

Castelli says:

Cooler than tights warmer than shorts, the Entrata Thermal Bib Knickers are ideal for mild to cool conditions where you want a little extra coverage and don't want the hassle of warmers.

For those days when you need to cover your knees but it's not quite cold enough for long tights, enter the Entrata Thermal Bibknicker. This no-nonsense tight simply uses our insanely soft, warm, and stretchy Thermoflex fabric for comfort along with our KISS Air2 seat pad, which is comfortable even over long rides and rough terrain. This is "less is more" done right.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Key Features

Thermoflex fabric for warmth and comfort

KISS Air2 seat pad

Mesh bib straps

Reflective logo below the knee

12-18˚C / 54-64˚F

Weight: 204g (M)

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Well-built, but no high-end production like flatlock stitching or welding.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

I really rate them overall, and suitable for riding in the cold and wet for a few hours.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

The Nanoflex fabric is pretty robust, and the construction seems good enough.

Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10

I really like the fit - I forget they're on.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10

They size really well. Usual caveats apply.

Rate the product for weight:
 
8/10

Being such a basic tight, with a light pad, they're on the light side.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10

Yes, I found them comfortable – no complaints. Though not quite Assos-wow-comfortable...

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

For the quality and performance you're getting from these I think these represent pretty good value.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Washed well, no marks.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

I found that they kept me warm and comfortable, even well below the predicted temperature range.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The warmth that they afforded even when wet.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The lack of a durable water resistant (DWR) layer.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Middling to good - about middle of the road compared to the likes of Endura and Stolen Goat.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Marking down on the low-but-not-that-low price, and lack of DWR finish.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe  My best bike is: Nah bro that's it

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L

Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.

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1 comments

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Secret_squirrel | 2 months ago
1 like

Whats not to like?  The word "Bibknicker" perhaps?

Joking aside I didnt know Castelli did value products like this.  Its almost cheap!

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