Best bib tights for cycling reviewed

How to find the best bib tights to keep your legs warm as the weather changes

cycling around a corner in bib tights
(Image credit: Future)

Once the heat is lost from the sun post warmer summer months, and the colder winter months are upon us, dedicated winter bib tights are essential. Vital for keeping your lower half warm, the best bib tights will also ensure that your lower back and midriff are also kept out of the cold.  

The best cycling shorts and best leg warmers and knee warmers will get many riders through September, October and perhaps November for the warm-blooded, or late season races, but they aren't suited for year-round riding.

Most manufacturers now integrate a chamios into their tights: not so long ago it was common to wear unpadded tights over padded 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 in order to keep up with the wash-wear-dry cycle. 

If you're curious as to what else to wear in the colder seasons then our guide to winter cycling clothing: what to wear for comfortable riding breaks down what to look for when wanting to keep warm on the bike. 

The best bib tights come with a variety of features, each having their own merits for choosing. The simplest tights are made from a fleecy-backed Roubaix-style material and are neither windproof nor waterproof. These are great for milder temperatures, and are often at the lower end of the price scale.  

As with many cycling pieces of equipment, the more you pay, the more you get, with some of the best bib tight manufacturers selecting more technical fabrics with varying degrees of moisture protection, that are still breathable and ensure unrestricted movement.

The most sophisticated bib 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.

Of course, if you are selecting a pair of the best bib tights for doing battle with the elements, you'll also want to invest with the best cycling overshoes to ensure that the extremities of your lower body are also sufficiently protected. 

The best bib tights for cycling reviewed - Men's

Read on down the page for information about what to look for when buying your ideal bib tights. But first, here are our favourites.

Endura Pro SL II Bibtights are great bib tights for multiple sizes, here's an image of a medium sized pair with a pad.

Endura Pro SL Bibtights II

Best bib tights for choice of padding

Specifications
Fabrics: Thermoroubaix, Four-way stretch windproof
Water/ Wind proofing : Wind proof and water resistant (eco-friendly PFC free DWR coating)
Chamios: 700 series
Temperature range : Below 44°F/ 7°C
Sizes : XS - XXL
Colour : Black only
Reasons to buy
+Constructed for a great race tight fit+Overall comfort of tights and pad +Fabric performance meets higher priced competitors 
Reasons to avoid
-Best suited to really cold conditions

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 making these one of best bib tights on the market. 

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.

All these features do, however, add up to a rather warm pair of bib tights, so making these an option when the mercury is at the low end of the thermometer. 

They aren't by any means an entry level price point, but a fair amount cheaper than high-end models, such as the Assos Mille GT Ultraz Winter Bibtights, and certainly compete with them performance wise. 

This front on photo of the Assos Mille GT Ultraz Winter Bibtights show their tight flawless fit

Assos Mille GT Ultraz Winter Bibtights

Best bib tights for winter weather protection

Specifications
Fabric : RX Light, RX Heavy and NEOS Ultra materials
Wind/ Water proofing : Both
Chamios: MILLE GT EVO
Temperature range : 41°F/ 5°C - below freezing
Sizes : XS - XLG and TIR
Colour : Black only
Reasons to buy
+Great flawless fit+Warm in the coldest riding conditions+Great water resistant capabilities+Very comfy chamois
Reasons to avoid
-Very high price tag

These bib tights combine excellent protection from the elements with a flawless fit. With the front cut lower than other brands, these really lend themselves to riding in an aggressive, aerodynamic position.

The high degree of stretch from the fabric not only allows for a figure-hugging fit, but it also meant that my pedal stroke felt fluid, without any of the tightness that other winterised bib tights can sometimes induce.

The RX Heavy fabric is so warm and, combined with that NEOS membrane, our testers legs felt as if they were in their own microclimate as they cycled in frosty conditions. 

These are totally the crème de la crème of bib tights and tick every wish list box, but you'll just have to empty your wallet in order to gain this level of performance and protection. 

If you are after a slightly more palatable option, then Endura's Endura Pro SL II Bibtights do put up a really good fight. But as with all things Assos, once you've seen and tried, it's hard to make the compromise, and knowing the quality of the brand, it's often easier to part with your money knowing that they will serve you well for many winters to come. 

The Castelli LW 2 bib tights in the image show their multiple panal design

(Image credit: Future)

Castelli LW 2 bib tights

Best bib tight for light winter temperatures

Specifications
Fabric: Thermoflex fabric, Nano Flex Light
Wind / Water proofing : Strategically place wind and water repellence
Chamios : Progetto X2
Temperature range : 50°C / 10°C – 64°F/18°C
Reasons to buy
+Great temperature balance in milder weather+Great un-restrictive  pro rider fit+Water resistant lower leg for road spray protonation 
Reasons to avoid
-No reflective detailing-Chamois padding  designed for significant saddle hours, so some might find it excessive. 

We've long been a fan of Castelli's bib tights, finding it's long standing Nanoflex Pro bib tights a firm favourite despite their ageing years.

The Castelli LW 2 bib tights are designed for milder winter conditions, and according to the brand, designed in conjunction with pro riders from Team Ineos Grenadiers. 

While many of us mere mortal riders might still be in bib shorts and leg warmer combos at their specified temperature range, these tights have been specifically designed for riders who want the benefits and comfort of just one piece of apparel, without the associated extra warm. 

To that end, these bib tights have been zoned, with the upper leg featuring a stretchy fleece and the lower leg just water proofing, to protect from road spray - in other words acting like a wearable fender. 

The end result is a fantastically breathable pair of tights, that are perfect for high intensity training, dealing with winter downpours. 

As could be expected with professional level bib tights, the padding has been designed to  withstand several hours in the saddle day after day, and the more armature rider might find it a bit overkill - but it's a personal fit feel. It's also worth noting that there isn't any reflective detailing. One can only assume it's because as a professional rider, you probably aren't using an after dark workplace commute as part of your training regime. 

Price wise, these are middle range, and do make the Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bib tights seem eyebrow raising high. 

Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bib tights are pictured with the reflective detailing seen on the shins

(Image credit: Future)

Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bib tights

Best bib tights for cycling either side of deep winter

Specifications
Fabrics: Polartec Power Wool
Water/ Wind proofing: None
Chamios : Santini C3 Endurance
Temperature range: 44°F/ 7°C - 59°F/ 15°C
Sizes: XS - 3XL
Colour : Black only
Reasons to buy
+Work well across wide range of temperatures+Very comfortable+Fabric includes natural merino+High-quality construction+Made in Italy
Reasons to avoid
-Ankle wrinkles-High price tag

Polartec Power Wool gives the Santini Adapt bib tights a softer, stretcher feel than the type made with 100 per cent synthetic fabrics. The largest proportion of the tights – the legs/hips – is made with 21 per cent merino, so it’s more than just a token twill.

It's worth noting that these aren't water resistant, although their construction means that the shed water rapidly and are quick to dry on the move. 

A really comfortable bib, that felt barely there when riding, is teamed with a superb C3 Endurance pad that balanced the needs of comfort Vs being unobtrusive very well. 

The large rainbow reflective detailing on the lower legs are great at drawing attention to yourself out on the road in low light levels. 

A great fit and are the best bib tights for for either side of deep winter, they’re very comfortable and very well made – but they’re also very expensive coming not far off the price of a pair of  Assos Mille GT Ultraz, which are all singing all dancing feature wise. They're also notably more money than Santini's own Fashion Vega bib tights, so a considered purchase for sure, but if you do decide to make a purchase, you won't be disappointed. 

The best bib tights reviewed - Women's

Women's bib tights often have a slightly different upper section, with a halterneck or releasable clasp designed to make nature breaks more easy. Some, however, forgo this and offer a full-body option, which doubles up as a base layer.

Castelli Sorpasso RoS women's bib tights come in three colours, the image shows the blue pair

(Image credit: Wiggle)

Castelli Sorpasso RoS women's bib tights

Best all-round winter bib tights for women

Specifications
Fabric : Nano Flex 3G fabric, Nano Flex Xtra Dry
Wind/ Water proof: Wind and water repellent
Chamois : Progetto X2 Air seamless seat pad
Temperature range : 32ºF/ 0ºc - 53ºF/12ºc
Sizes: XS - XL
Colour: Black, Pink/black, blue
Reasons to buy
+Warm in cold conditions, yet constantly breathable +Great water resistant properties+Reasonable price for performance
Reasons to avoid
-Would like a comfort break solution-Zipped ankles won't suit all riders

On test we found the Castelli Sorpasso RoS women's bib tights to be extremely comfortable, ticking all the right boxes: warmth, water resistance, breathability and fit, gaining them a coveted Cycling Weekly Editor's Choice Award.

Worn on both dry and mild winter rides, as well as dank and cold ones, they've proved themselves capable at both thanks to both the wind and water resistance and high breathability.  As with all of the best bib tights, the Castelli Sorpasso RoS pair manage to do all the above without restriction around the knees or thighs. 

 The pad provides ample comfort for many hours in the saddle, but it's a shame that some form of quick access comfort break feature wasn't designed in. The only other not perfect aspect is that ankle zips don't really serve much purpose, but for some, it might make getting the tights on and off a little easier. 

All in all however, these are a superb pair of women's specific bib tights that will get a lot of wear, and seem a positive bargain when compared to the Rapha Women's Pro Team Winter bib tights.

Rapha Women's Pro Team Winter bib tights

(Image credit: Future)

Rapha Women’s Pro Team Winter bib tights

Best bib tights for quick comfort breaks

Specifications
Fabric: high Polyester mix fabric DWR coated, Thermoroubaix fleece
Wind /Water proof: Wind and water resistant
Chamois: Rapha women's specific
Temperature range : Below 50ºF/ 10ºc
Reasons to buy
+Drop tail for quick and warm comfort breaks+Water and wind resistant front of legs +Spray-proof rear+High thermal properties for cold conditions+Reflective detailing visible all round
Reasons to avoid
-Ankle cuff quite loose-Magnetic clasp can be fiddly (especially with cold hands)

Wind proof and water resistant with an, almost, handy, dropped tail for comfort breaks - the Rapha Women's Pro Team Winter bib tights are a go-to winter riding companion.

Strategically positioning of water and wind resistant fabrics provides protection where it's needed, while more breathable, but super cosy Thermoroubaix fabric helps prevent sweat build up.  It’s worth noting that they perform best below 10º for optimal temperature regulating comfort.

The dropped tail clasp is a little tricky to master, especially if it pings up your back, under your top layers and you've reach peak winter ride immobility, consider it a team mate bonding exercise. 

We really like the fact that the subtle but highly reflective details are visible from the sides,  and it seals the deal on these being one of the most practical pair of bib tights out there, making us over look the too loose ankle fit. 

However, while they are the bee's knees in terms of performance and overall fit, their price tag lets you know it and is nearly double that of the 

Endura Xtract bib tights

(Image credit: Future)

Endura Xtract bib tights

Specifications
Fabric: Roubaix fleece
Wind/ Water proof: None
Chamois: 400 series antibacterial, multi-density gel pad
Temperature range : Above 46ºF/ 8ºc
Sizes: S- 3XL
Colours: Black only
Reasons to buy
+No frills design+Entry level price point+Ankle grippers nice and tights+Soft fleece inner for super cosy feel+Female and male specific fit options
Reasons to avoid
-Gel padding might be too bulky for some

No frills can still mean no chills with the Endura Xtract bib tights. 

The sumptuously warm bib tights are great as an alternative to thermal shorts and leg warmers, and arguably a lot cheaper in some cases. 

With no wind or water resistance, some riders will find the lack of technical attributes not for them, but on test we really liked their simplicity and found them great for mild dry winter conditions. 

The gel padding is noticeable, and while it will offer a lot of protection, it might feel nappy like, especially if you are reasonably new to cycling and haven't really ridden with padded cyclewear before.  

The fit on the women's specific pair was excellent, and, while we haven't yet tested the men's version, the Endura brand will reassure you that you are really getting a lot of value for money with either pair. 

A fantastic entry level option and probably the best bib tights at the price point. 

What to look for in the best cycling bib tights

Shopping for the best bib tights that will keep you pedaling in comfort all year? This is what to look for...

Wind and waterproofing

The cyclist in this image is wearing bib tights on a damp ride

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 bib tights will be able to provide waterproof elements with a supple fabric.

If you have opted for a pair of water resistant bib tights, it's highly likely that this is provided from the fabric gaining a DWR (Durable Water Resistant) coating. After time and washes, this will need to be re-treated. It's a really task and there are lots of spray on the market to choose from. Our guides on the best waterproof treatments and how to re-waterproof your cycling jacket are both applicable to re-treating bib tights too. 

Breathability

Balancing keeping warm Vs breathability can be tricky when it comes to winter kit. Although it can be cold outside, you can soon warm up on and bike and if your bib tights aren't breathable, you're quickly going to work up a sweat that will make you very damp on the inside.

The best bib tights will use strategically placed panels of different fabric to take account of where you need rain and spray protection, wind proofing, and where to provide exhaust ports. In general the front of legs get the most weather protectio, while the back is more breathable, as is the upper body where mesh is often used to help heat escape.

Chamois pad

The image of a Castelli chamois shows the distribution of padding densities.

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.

We've got a lot more on the subject on our dedicated  waist shorts vs bib shorts: which are better and why page. 

Hannah Bussey
Hannah Bussey

Hannah Bussey is Cycling Weekly’s longest serving Tech writer, having started with the Magazine back in 2011.

She's specialises on the technical side of all things cycling, including Pro Peloton Team kit having covered multiple seasons of the Spring Classics, and Grand Tours for both print and websites. Prior to joining Cycling Weekly, Hannah was a successful road and track racer, competing in UCI races across the world, and has raced in most of Europe, China, Pakistan and New Zealand. For fun, she's ridden LEJoG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, win 24 hour mountain bike race and tackle famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas. She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.