Madison clothing is renowned for offering practical clothing that's comfortable for body and bank balance, and that's certainly the case with the Madison Sportive Race halterneck bib shorts and tights.
This all-weather ready duo gets a place in our Editor's Choice awards of 2017, here's why...
Bib shorts and tights offer superior comfort when compared to waist options because the lower back is never in danger of being uncovered, there's no band to dig in when folded over in the riding position, and the chamois pad is in far less danger of shifting.
However, most clothing brands will tell us that they still sell far more waist options than bibs to women.
Largely, this is because whilst men are able to stop for the politely named 'comfort break' in bibs with (relative? we guess?) ease, a traditional bib upper requires a woman to strip off to do the same.
However, most brands - including Madison - have now come up with a solution to this - making the superiority of bibs just as accessible for women as for men.
Arguably the women's bibs are even more superior, in the case of Madison, who offer a dual purpose halter neck as their answer to the women's bib short conundrum.
Both Madison Sportive Race halterneck tights and shorts have been designed around the needs of female cyclists, using an upper which both makes comfort breaks easy and provides a built in base layer.
A stretchy mesh upper sits around the neck comfortably, with matching mesh panels all the waist, hips and back - not quite covering the bust but more than adequate when paired with a good sports bra. Arguably this is the best way to go, since women's dimensions vary so greatly that trying to encapsulate the chest just won't work for everyone.
The breathable material prevents overheating whilst offering a comfortable cocoon for the upper body.
The Sportive Race bib shorts have been constructed from an Italian lycra that's been pre-curved to suit the riding position. An Italian TMF chamois pad is suitable for long days in the saddle and silicone grippers at the thigh ensure it all stays in pace.
There's a hidden stash pocket for valuable too - in a thoughtful nod to the pro standard of including a race radio pocket, perhaps.
The winter ready tights are suitable for the very worst of conditions. Water and windproof, they utilise an Italian DWR thermal roubaix fabric which beads droplets without bunching when on the bike.
The upper is soft and covers the stomach, whilst the same Italian made TMF chamois pad is nearly stitched in and sits well without discomfort whilst foot stirrups keep it all in place and prevent drafts from creeping up the leg.
The Madison Sportive Race halterneck shorts come in at a wallet friendly £79.99, whilst the Madison Sportive Race halterneck tights carry a value of £109.99.
Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining the two with a career in cycling journalism.
When not typing or testing, Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Favourite bikes include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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