Most manufacturers now integrate a chamois into their tights: not so long ago it was common to wear unpadded tights over bibshorts. Using padded tights mean fewer seams and fewer straps, but if you’re a regular rider it will mean buying more than just a couple of pairs of tights.
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The simplest tights are made from a fleecy-backed Roubaix-style material and are neither windproof nor waterproof. With manufacturers such as Gore now involved, however, more technical fabrics that are breathable but with water-repellent coatings are appearing. The most sophisticated tights locate different types of fabric and different numbers of layers in the specific areas where they will be most effective against cold, wind and rain.
The best men’s bib tights reviewed
Read on down the page for information about what to look for in winter tights. But first, here are our favourites.
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Endura Pro SL Biblong bib tights £159.99
Endura has got it all right with the Pro SLs. The Scottish brand has packed in an impressive number of features – including three pad width options.
A windproof, breathable fabric with a DWR coating is used down the fronts of the legs and above the bum. The sides use stretchier panels and the Pro SL’s legs are anatomically shaped to avoid the fabric stretching over the knee. There’s a soft, red, Thermoroubaix lining to trap in the warmth.
Behind the calves are large panels of reflective dots plus white flashes at the ankles for daytime visibility.
The ankles are zipless but the front of the bib does have a short zip above the waist to reduce strap-yank during toilet breaks.
The chamois positioned itself perfectly and stayed in place, too.
Gore Power Thermo+ bib tights £124.99
A lot of attention to detail has been made and the Power Thermo+ tights are well designed for typical UK road conditions.
The brand has made use of its extensive range of technical fabrics – using Windstopper panels at the knees, front of the calves and rear end.
The rest of the Gore Power Thermo+ bibtights is made of a lighter weight, soft thermal fabric, which is fleece backed.
Ankle zips have been abandoned, but we found these easy to get on and off and there’s a reflective band around the ankles and reflective lettering on both thighs and on the rear.
Gore’s pad is quite thick and has further windproof fabric in its front, unpadded section. There’s plenty of cushioning under the sitbones and the bib front comes up quite high, for extra protection.
Assos HabutightsMille S7 tights £165
Assos’s bib tights have been selected for an Editor’s Choice award two years running – they’re something quite special.
Fit on the legs is excellent. There’s no zips to rub or get in the way, and though not wet weather ready, they’re incredibly warm and breathable.
The heart of the tights is the chamois, which uses Assos’s 8mm thick ‘waffle’ memory foam, in three layers. Then, there’s the ‘goldenGate’, which means the pad is separate from the tight, allowing for movement.
There’s some small reflective features, and these come in at £165.
Castelli Nanoflex Pro bib tights £190
Review score: 9/10
Designed for comfortable riding in the worst conditions, these bib tights are a heavy weight option with waterproof Nano Flex light overlays over the thighs, knees and rear.
Santini Vega Acquazero bib tights £139.99
Review score: 9/10
Wet weather ready bib tights, these come with an Acquazero treatment designed to repel water. They don’t come with a roubaix lining, and have mesh inserts at the back – making them a great option for days when it’s more wet then cold.
The best women’s bib tights reviewed
Women’s bib tights often have a slightly different upper section, with a halterneck or releasable clasp designed to make comfort breaks more easy. Some, however, forgo this and offer a full body option, which doubles up as a base layer.
Rapha Souplesse winter tights £210
A close fit that’s worthy of race wear and DWR coating make these an excellent choice that scored a full house.
We took them for a spin around the remote Peak District, with temperatures in the single figures, and felt warm without overheating.
The chamois is from Elastic Interface and is said to offer smaller but more accurate protective areas, with a high density foam suited to long rides.
A size small weighed in at just 274g, and there’s reflective detailing on the calfs.
Assos Habu LaaLaLai_S7 women’s bib tights £235
Assos’s tights feature its RX Heavy Fabric – this is water repellent and designed to be quick drying.
The women’s specific pad has 8mm of memory foam, uses three layers of ‘waffle’ fabric and the infamous Golden Gate floating insert.
Whilst the chamois is notably soft, the dominant fabric on the legs has a feeling of durability, hugging quite tightly on first wear but easing off to reveal a supportive, robust fit that’s plenty warm.
We tested the Assos tights between 4-15°C and never felt too hot or too cold.
In rain, you’ll never stay totally dry but huge beads of water do drop off the fabric.
Assos has used the same over-the-head neck strap, with a clasp at the front for several years – we feel to make these perfect the toilet break mechanism could do with modernisation.
Castelli Sorpasso 2 W bib tights £149
Castelli has utilised Thermoflex Core2 to create these tights, with a Nylon outer layer and a hollow-core polyester inner to provide warmth as well as compressive properties and stretch.
There’s some nice extra features, such as built in lumber support, plus reflective strips at the calfs. An ankle zip will be plus for some though others may consider this a negative.
The chamois is a Progetto X2 Air, with variable density which our tester found comfortable.
Dhb Aeron FLT Halterneck women’s bib tights £85
These tights come from dhb’s performance-orientated collection and feature Flashlight Technology for added visibility.
The tights use Italian Roubaix brushed fleece that provides warmth, though breathability is still promised.
The pad is a Cytech Elastic Interface Tour HP and there’s a silicone ankle gripper and YKK lock-down zippers.
We found these warm enough and never felt we were overheating. The fabric hugged calves, knees and quads in the cosy fashion of a much more expensive pair.
dhb’s halterneck bathroom break feature is simple: a stretchy upper provides plenty of movement but is tough enough to keep the bottom half in place while riding. The stretch does mean the straps adopt the ‘around the bust’ position but in our opinion this beats having a clasp holding the straps in the middle.
Overall, fantastic value for money.
What to look for in cycling bib tights
Shopping for bib tights that will keep you pedalling in comfort all year? This is what to look for…
Wind and waterproofing
Bib tights often use a soft and warm Roubaix fabric to provide insulation. However, some also incorporate windproof panels, and others go further and sew in water resistant or waterproof elements. The more protection you get from adverse conditions, generally the more bulky the tights will be – but sometimes a little freedom of movement is worth sacrificing. The very best bibs will be able to provide waterproof elements with a supple fabric.
Sure, you’re looking for kit to wear during cold weather. But that doesn’t mean you’re not going to sweat. The fabric needs to be breathable, especially at the upper body where mesh is often used.
At the heart of any pair of bib tights is the chamois. This needs to provide comfort when spending hours in the saddle. In years past, brands often provided tights without a pad, to be worn over your favourite cycling shorts. These days, they can all sew in pad into tights in a way that’s comfy and the reduced seam count is preferable.
Waist vs bibs
We’ve reviewed bib tights below – these have upper body portions which means they can’t fall down, they don’t cut in at the stomach and the chamois stays put. It is possible to get waist tights, but we’d always recommend bibs.
Not what you’re looking for? We’ve got plenty more bib tight reviews for you to check out…
We’ll keep updating this page as the season goes on, adding our best reviewed products