The Chapeau! Soulor Thermal women's bib tights do exactly what they set out to do – they're a simple, flattering and reliable pair of tights. There's nothing that sets them apart as being excellent, but I could ride in them for hours and completely forget about them, and they'll certainly do the job if you're looking for a pair of winter bib tights to keep you warm during those off-season miles.
Warm but breathable
Flattering slim fit
Nothing sets them apart as being particularly exceptional
Chapeau! is well known for its brightly coloured, often boldly patterned and noticeably stylised kit – but the Chapeau! Soulor Thermal women's bib tights represent a departure from that. Which is a good thing, because a go-to pair of bib tights needs to be warm, reliable, and ideally able to blend with any chosen jacket or jersey.
Created from a mixture of polyamide (66 per cent), elastane (18 per cent) and polyester (16 per cent), the Soulor Thermal bib tights consist of a pleasantly stretchy exterior which hints at the promised slim fit in store for their wearer, and a brushed fleece interior.
The upper back is covered with a mesh panel, designed to offer breathability, with mesh straps progressing to a zipped body section which finishes around the stomach. The zip features the trademark Chapeau! brimmed hat, also stamped in a reflective material on the right hand of the lower back and sewn into the neck.
The legs are finished with an elasticated band with no zips, so they simply stretch to slip a foot through and stay put with ease.
One solo label is heat-printed on the inside, doing away with any scratchy tags. As well as giving washing instructions this also tells of UV protection, which is a nice addition.
The soul of any pair of bib shorts lies in the chamois pad. Gone are the days of wearing bib shorts underneath padless tights – brands can stitch a chamois into their tights and tick the comfort box perfectly easily these days.
Chapeau! has provided a women's-specific Dolomiti Maloja pad. This varies in density, providing more padding where it's needed, but without creating 'steps' in the pad. This much is true – the pad is thicker at the sit bones and through the centre, but there are no ridges. The top layer is dimpled, and the foams have been laminated with flame heating to avoid the use of any glue.
Chapeau! Soulor Thermal women's bib tights: the ride
Cheapau! has set out to create a 'simple, flattering and reliable' pair of tights. Mission accomplished: that is exactly what it's done.
Pulling the Soulor Thermal women's bib tights on for the first time, the material clung to my legs in the familiar snap-to-skin fit that you expect from a quality pair of tights.
The straps sat well against my skin, holding the chamois pad in place with ease. Zipping up at the stomach, having a high waist meant I could easily tuck in a base layer.
Women's bib tights often either offer a comfort break solution (usually with an open front and back with a clasp/hook/halterneck) or provide a full body which removes the need for an additional base layer.
These bib tights do neither – the majority of the chest is exposed which requires a base layer, yet you need to take your jersey off for stops.
There's no real problem with this – it's just a fairly basic design that doesn't necessarily sing with the offering of anything particularly special to set these apart.
When on the bike, the chamois pad provided plenty of comfort, even on long days out. It stayed put and would be more than adequate on an all-day base mile sort of excursion.
When pedalling, the fabric on the legs remained warming, breathable and supportive – this is definitely a quality material which will easily provide at least a season's worth of happy pedalling.
At £89.99, Chapeau!'s bib tights are still sitting in the realm of reasonable, and the brand has provided a quality pair considering the price tag.
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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