Extremely comfortable bib tights which tick all the boxes: warmth, water resistance, breathability and fit. There's no restriction around the knees and the pad provides ample comfort. A comfort break feature that works is on our 'would like' list for the future, but for now these have performed so excellently we're happy to overlook the omission. The ankle zips don't really serve much purpose, but didn't cause irritation, either.
Would like a comfort break solution
Not a fan of zipped ankles
The Castelli Sorpasso RoS women's bib tights were selected for an Editor's Choice award in 2020. This year's list contains 78 items which scored a 9 or 10/10 with our tech team - this gear is the best of the best, and has received the Cycling Weekly stamp of approval.
Protection from mother nature's winter wrath, breathability, the power to eliminate sweat, flexible fabric which doesn't restrict movement... cyclists ask a lot of winter tights. Castelli has met all of these needs with its Castelli Sorpasso RoS women's bib tights, without a price tag that has you expecting the ability to auto-adjust like a weather-responsive chameleon.
The only thing that's missing in this women's model is a comfort break feature. However, despite the fact it's much more necessary in the winter (when stripping off in a bush is infinitely less desirable), Castelli is far from alone in this omission. It is arguably more difficult to build in such a feature without affecting ride quality, taking into account the weight of winter fabric.
Castelli Sorpasso RoS women's bib tights: construction
The Sorpasso RoS women's tights sit below the top-end Nano Flex Pro 2 model in the range, but I'd wager they provide more than adequate protection for most riders.
The key fabric is Castelli's legendary Nano Flex 3G material. This has been applauded countless times for its warmth, water repellency and high stretch properties – creating adequate weatherproofing without any pulling, bunching or tightening around the knees. At the front, and around the thighs, there are panels of Nano Flex Xtra Dry fabric, which provides extra cosiness in these areas which tend to stay stationary and thus are often wanting more cosseting.
At the waist, an extra-stretchy elasticated section sits between the bib straps, ensuring that there's no digging in when leaning over the bars. The straps themselves are constructed from a high-stretch fabric and lie flat, around the chest in my case.
At the ankles, Castelli has provided zips. I've never been a huge fan of this approach, but they never particularly irritated me, and the reflective inserts at the calves are an excellent addition which I will always appreciate in kit designed for the lower visibility months.
The pad is Castelli's Progetto X2 Air seamless seat pad, which is generous in its provision and will suit long winter base miles.
I tested the size Medium. At 166cm/57kg I'd usually wear a Small in Castelli's winter kit - this is just the size we had sent; the tights didn't bunch up and the chamois stayed put but I could have done with sizing down - so expect sizes to be true to expectation (NB Castelli's women's winter kit seems to come up a little more generous than its summer kit).
Castelli Sorpasso RoS women's bib tights: the ride
I received these tights as winter conditions began to make themselves known, and I've worn them on mild but fairly sunny days as well as during proper winter drench-fests. They've performed excellently on all occasions. Of course, they won't keep you dry in a thunderstorm, but they do shield the worst of light drizzle and road spray from ruining your ride.
When working hard on the hills I've yet to overheat, and the chamois pad has provided ample comfort whilst staying in place throughout four hour excursions.
The advertised weather range is 0 to 12ºc, and my experiences so far have proven this correct. The heavier fabric of the top-end Nano Flex Pro 2 model means these extend from -2 - 10ºc. I reckon most riders will get more use from the Sorpasso RoS's greater breathability and more flexible material (particularly at the ankles).
The lack of comfort break feature is a shame. However, a lot of brands who do offer this within their summer ranges cease to do so when it comes to winter kit. Though I'd like to see this status quo challenged in the future (and some brands have done so, successfully), for now the excellent fit and winter protection on offer here has meant these have been my first choice for every winter ride since they arrived within my collection.
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan 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 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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