The Pinnacle Thermal Cycling Tights are suited to casual rides in cold, dry weather. If you're seeking some padless tights to keep you warm when running errands on an upright bike, they'll do the job. However, the cut and styling make them unsuitable as a more sporty, road cycling option. Sizing down might reduce some of the bagginess at the waist and ankles, but the seam placement and absence of compression will still disappoint most Lycra loving riders.
Poor 'cycling' fit
Pinnacle, the in-house brand at Evans Cycles, offers these Thermal Cycling Ladies Tights with an extremely reasonable price tag.
We did find them to be very warm in cold conditions, and the style will perhaps be ideal if Lycra is not your go-to. However, performance-seeking roadies might be looking for a closer fit in the best bib tights for winter cycling.
Construction and fit
These tights are 'bib free', which does make comfort breaks easy, but means they're best with a cycling base layer tucked in to avoid a cold back when in the riding position.
They are also padless, so for longer road rides you'll want to pair them with a pair of the best cycling bib shorts for women to provide a chamois and coverage of your back, or padded cycling knickers - a great solution for commutes.
Following Evans' size chart, I opted to test a size 12. My go-to size is a 10, and indeed, the 12 was pretty generous. There was plenty of length in the leg, a plus for those with longer limbs. The waist and lower calf/ankle both offered more ‘room’ than I would expect from a pair of cycling tights. I’d say size down if you want a snug fit.
The fabric is very soft and stretchy. It's a 'clingy' fabric rather than a compressive one - I personally didn't find this flattering; I prefer something that offers at least a little compression. If you like a loose fit, this may suit you more.
The waist reaches higher than most, particularly at the front. Normally something so high would cause discomfort but the fabric here has loads of give. In fact, there’s very little in the way of elasticity to it. It makes for a comfortable tight on the bike, but it’s not ideal for holding the tights firmly around the hip.
The fabric at the ankles is very similar. Pinnacle has used a long zip at the ankle but I didn’t actually need it to get the tights on, or off. If I wanted to get them over a pair of cycling shoes, the zip came into its own.
The seam at the knee is not so well-considered. I was permanently conscious of it when riding, more at the front of the knee than the rear. Since the tights are already pretty loose, I’d say it does very little to improve the fit and detracts from the comfort.
For such a thin fabric, the protection these tights offer in cold, dry weather is remarkable. We’ve been plunged into some icy conditions recently and I have been impressed with the protection these tights offer. They really do keep off the cold air and are breathable too.
I’ve teamed the tights with cycling shorts for road rides and normal underwear for commutes and ‘errand’ rides. The height at the waist is good for shorter than average jerseys but this is made redundant by the fact that the waistband fabric lacks elasticity and is super smooth - it tends to just slip and gather in wrinkles.
A pair of tights like these are ideal for commuting and general 'on-the-bike' errands. They offer the protection of cycling specific clothing, without screaming ‘cyclist’. I’ve actually used them for running and gym sessions too. My personal preference, and recommendation, is to use the tights for this kind of functional riding.
For sport-focused road cyclists, even if you like to spend winters riding in bib shorts with padless tights, I am not convinced that these offer the fit that most people hope for in a 'pure' cycling tight.
Value and conclusions
As a pair of performance tights, these aren’t a great investment, in my opinion. They lack the cut and fit for this. Altura’s £65 Progel Thermal Tights (opens in new tab) are a relatively good comparison if you want a cycling specific waist tight, they have an integrated pad though. Fewer and fewer cycle-specific companies offer tights without a chamois. Perhaps comparing to something like Ron Hill’s £36 Core Running Tight (opens in new tab) is not unreasonable.
For me, Pinnacle’s Thermal Cycling Tight isn't really a cycling specific garment. The fit and cut is very relaxed and some of the seams have not been well considered. I’d say the tights are very well suited to ‘casual’ riding, commuting or off-the-bike use. Utilised in this way, the fabric performs well in cold, dry weather; it keeps the legs toasty warm and is breathable too.
- Sizes: XS-XL
- Fabrics: Leg 87% Polyester, 13% Elastane. Waist and cuff 65% Polyamide, 35% Elastane
- Colour: Black
- Made in China
- Weight: 230g (12/M)
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Emma’s first encounters with a bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
With a couple of half decent UK road seasons under her belt, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there, spending two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, working primarily as a domestique for Emma Johansson. When Redsun folded, Emma was offered the opportunity to ride with a newly formed Belgian team and home to the first year senior and budding rider Anna Van Der Breggen.
After retiring, Emma returned to teaching, setting up her own tutoring business. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. While the road bike remains her true passion, she has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been sightings of Emma off-road, on mountain and gravel bikes… As if all of this isn't enough, she's been working as a freelancer since 2005, testing and reviewing the latest kit and sharing her insight into the sport.