What we cyclists wear on our bottom half is arguably more important that our top half. In terms of comfort, certainly, the quality of your bib-tights or shorts is fundamental to the quality of your ride.
With that in mind I recently put in plenty of good winter miles in these new ‘Winnats’ bib-tights from Rivelo.
Lets get straight to the point. There are two areas where these tights really shine: comfort and warmth.
Over the past few weeks I have test ridden them around seven or eight times, and it wasn’t until about the third ride that I realised I hadn’t given the comfort and the padding a second thought. Slightly remiss of me, you might say, bearing in mind I’m reviewing them, but I found them so comfortable I had little reason to dwell on how they felt.
The fit of a pair of bib tights is always a personal thing, and what works for some won’t necessarily work for everyone, but I have owned tights in the past where I’ve spent half my ride hitching and adjusting them, and sliding around in the saddle searching for a comfortable spot.
With these Rivelo tights there was none of that; the fit is just the right kind of snug, and they felt so good they could have been hand made to my proportions. The chamois – the padded bit in the seat of the tights – also worked beautifully for me. It’s got enough well placed padding to give a bit of comfort but without making you feel like you’re sitting on a spongy cushion.
It also stayed firmly in position between saddle and backside – an absolute pre-requisite for any decent pair of tights.
The biggest compliment I can give about the other big selling point of these tights – warmth – was the disgruntled noises coming from my fellow riding companions. As they grumbled about the cold causing their leg muscles to seize up, I was wondering what the fuss was all about.
“Are you not cold?” I was asked on more than one occasion, from beneath raised and weather beaten eyebrows. As we pedalled into horizontal rain on one particular occasion I distinctly remember feeling almost – almost – guilty at the fact that they were definitely suffering far more than me.
The fact is that on a cold winter’s day standard lightweight tights are not really going to cut the mustard. In cold conditions these Winnats tights had my legs feeling genuinely snug and warm. They certainly repel a decent amount of rain, they keep much of the wind off, and they have a cosy, almost fleecy inner, which is just the ticket – that’s the Thermo Roubaix thermal fabric doing it’s stuff.
It’s worth mentioning that they protect much of your mid-section and upper body too, as they zip right up to the base of your chest. This only adds to the cosy-ness.
The trade off from this weather protection is that they don’t look quite as racy as lighter tights would – a result of that extra thickness of the material as much as anything. This is not a criticism but an observation; these are winter tights designed with warmth and weather protection firmly in mind, and I’m not sure you can have both that and racy, ultra-slick and skin-tight.
There’ll be plenty of time for looking like a bike racer when the weather perks up a bit!
My only criticism would be the ankle cuffs, which although they have sturdy and good quality zips to close them, don’t grip the ankle as tightly as I would like. This isn’t a major issue, as invariably when I’m wearing these tights I’ll be wearing overshoes too, and the ankle cuffs will be wrapped tightly inside.
It’s an area for improvement though, for my money.
If you’re in the market for some proper winter bib-tights to take the edge off the weather then this offering from Rivelo is definitely worth considering.
Should you find them as comfortable as I did then you get your money’s worth right there. If you also happen to enjoy watching your mates suffer in the cold while you pedal happily along then these might just be the tights for you.
You can’t put a price on that kind of satisfaction.