Keep the chill and drizzle at bay with a new pair of bibtights
The best equipped of all these bibtights to cope with foul weather, the Windchill has a windproof membrane on the front of the leg, from hip to ankle. This gives the tights a slightly stiffer feel, but it’s more than worth it for the warmth in the face of an arctic blast. The backs of the legs have a more breathable fabric so it doesn’t get too clammy behind the knees, and the bib element is a fine mesh to boost breathability.
There’s first class detailing in these tights, from reflective strips at the ankles to robust YKK zips, and even a zipped fly. The chamois pad isn’t Endura’s top-of-the-range model, but offers great long-distance comfort. Or, save £10 and buy the same tights without a pad.
Verdict: An excellent option for cold, windy winter days
2: FWE Coldharbour Thermal Padded Bib Tights
These tights may carry the lowest price tag of any on test, but their principal fabric is Roubaix thermal, found on garments that cost more than twice as much. It’s soft, stretchy and warm, providing just the right level of insulation when the weather hovers between five and 10 degrees. A deep, thin ankle cuff helps a secure fit, and zipped ankles make them easy to pull on, but there’s very limited reflective detailing and most of the reflective patch on the back was covered by my jacket.
My only real issue was with the chamois pad, which while soft seemed to squash flat, denying me the support and padding I’d like for a long ride – I found it fine for an hour or so, but then started to wish for more.
Verdict: A very competitive price, but better worn for shorter rides
3 DHB ASV Roubaix Bib Tight
At last, a pair of bibtights that doesn’t make a rider look like a black tadpole – the blue flash on the thigh colour codes with other dhb kit. The Roubaix fabric extends high enough up the bib section to keep the lower back warm, before a mesh construction between the shoulders helps with breathability. The chunky ankle zips feel robust, but didn’t fit comfortably inside the Lake CX145 cycling boots I wear through winter; and the soft, ridged seams weren’t quite as comfy behind the knees as the flat seams of most rivals.
The chamois pad is the same as the Hoy Vulpine’s, and it’s good to see top branded features and fabric on Wiggle’s own-brand product. Even better to see the current special offer price of £60 as we went to press.
Verdict: Buy now – at £60 they’re a steal
4: Madison Sportive Fjord DWR
Caught in a nasty squall while out riding, I was relieved to see the rain bead on the surface of these tights until the downpour became too heavy and they started to saturate. Thankfully, they dried fairly quickly, and the Roubaix fabric soon restored its warmth. There’s decent reflective detailing, and the ankle grips work well – the foot hole is a tight opening with no zip. As with shoes and saddles, different styles of chamois pad suit different posteriors, and I found the own-brand Madison to be the second comfiest in test, behind only the Endura – it’s a dense pad that felt ever better as the miles accumulated.
My only concern is with a small abrasion appearing on the inside of the left thigh, which I wouldn’t expect to see so early.
Verdict: An impressive combination of weather protection and a good pad
5: Hoy Vulpine Men’s Roubaix Bib Tights
There’s an extraordinary degree of stretch in these bibtights, delivering excellent freedom of movement. This allows a design with no zips at the ankles and just gripper cuffs to keep them securely in place. It’s a bit of a squeeze to push high volume feet through the holes, but the bonus is a snugger, more comfortable fit, especially if you wear winter boots. It’s good to see the large reflective detail on the right calf too.
The Roubaix fabric has a lovely, soft feel, and the CyTech chamois pad is the same as in the dhb bibtights, using high density foam for long distance ride comfort. Personally, I preferred the deeper pads in the Madison and Endura tights, but that’s a subjective preference.
Verdict: Soft, snug and stretchy protection against winter
6:Louis Garneau Providence Chamois Bib Tight
The most weatherproof bibtights on test, the Providence deploys different fabrics in different places for protection from the elements. On the front of the thighs and shins, and on the back, there’s a double layer of fabric, the outer fending off wind, rain and rear wheel spray, while the inner provides insulating warmth.
Elsewhere it’s just a single layer of fleecy fabric for warmth, although the fabulously stretchy Polartec Light Wind Pro material at the knees deserves a mention for its wind protection and breathability without compromising pedalling action. Zips and grippers keep the ankles firmly in place, and the chamois pad does the job. At just £61.74, they’re a bargain.
Verdict: Square up to winter’s worst days in these bibtights