Once winter kicks in dedicated winter bib tights are essential.
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Most manufacturers now integrate a chamois into their tights: not so long ago it was common to wear unpadded tights over bib shorts. Using padded tights means fewer seams and fewer straps, but if you regularly venture out into frigid temps it will mean buying more than just one or two of pairs of tights.
The simplest tights are made from a fleecy-backed Roubaix-style material and are neither windproof nor waterproof. With manufacturers like Gore throwing their weight around, more technical fabrics with varying degrees of moisture protection that still breathe are beginning to appear. 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 favorites.
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Endura Pro SL II Bibtights
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.
Made from a windproof, breathable fabric, 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. Inside, 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 added 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 C5 Thermo+ bib tights
A lot of attention to detail has been made and the Power Thermo+ tights are well designed for harsh winter 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 C5 Power Thermo+ bib tights 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 sits bones and the bib front comes up quite high, for extra protection.
Assos HabutightsMille S7 tights
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 are no zips to rub or get in the way, and though not wet weather-ready, HabutightsMille S7 tights are 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 2 bib tights
Review score: 9/10
Designed for comfortable riding in the worst conditions, these bib tights are a heavyweight option with waterproof Nano Flex light overlays over the thighs, knees, and rear.
Santini Vega Acquazero bib tights
Made from Pearl Izumi’s AmFib Lite fabric, these bib tights are chamois free, meaning you’ll need to bring your own bibs — also meaning they don’t need to be washed after every wear. The AmFib material is water and wind-resistant, standing up to a surprising amount of moisture while strategically place fleece panels keep you warm and toasty.
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 nautre breaks more easy. Some, however, forgo this and offer a full-body option, which doubles up as a base layer.
Rapha Souplesse winter tights
A close fit that’s worthy of racewear and DWR coating makes these an excellent choice that scored a full house.
We took them for a spin around the remote Peak District National Park in the UK, 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 calves.
Assos Habu LaaLaLai_S7 women’s bib tights
These Assos tights feature the Swiss brand’s RX Heavy Fabric which 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 / 40-60°F 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 as you ride.
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 modernization.
Castelli Sorpasso 2 W bib tights
Castelli has utilized Thermoflex Core2 to create these tights, with a Nylon outer layer and a hollow-core polyester inner to provide warmth, compression and stretch.
There’s some nice extra features, such as built-in lumbar support, plus reflective strips at the calves. An ankle zip will be a plus for some though others may consider this a negative.
The chamois is a Progetto X2 Air, with a variable density that our tester found comfortable.
Dhb Aeron FLT Halterneck women’s bib tights
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 an Elastic Interface Giro Custom chamois and there are silicone ankle grippers 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 cozy 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 pedaling in comfort all year? This is what to look for…
Wind and waterproofing
Bib tights often use a soft and warm fleece-lined 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 favorite 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