The good fitting FWE Women's Coldharbour Thermal Padded bib tights are an affordable gem that punch well above their weight. A great value purchase that won't disappoint.
Good leg fit
Simple but effective design
Chamios fit could be better
Is there anything more annoying than a converted person? Be it a new vegan, ex-drinker, ex-southerner... Whatever sins of the past, mine was being a Londoner, are now dashed aside and a evangelical rhetoric now spouts forth.
I'm fully aware that this is now me since moving north, 3 years ago. Where Southern England loyalty should be, instead stands a burly northern mindset that the North of the country do things much bigger and better, including the weather.
So when the claim of the FWE Women's Coldharbour Thermal bib tights being develop for the cold south, I immediately want to put them through their northern paces, to really see what they're made off.
The FWE Women's Coldharbour Thermal bib tights are made using an Italian made Roubaix thermal fabric, which boasts high insulating, yet breathable properties. This fabric is continued high at the back and sides, into the bib element of the tights.
The rest of the bib is kept simple with a breathable mesh up and over arms design.
The ergonomic fit of the FWE Women's Coldharbour Thermal Padded bib tights use flat lock seams to prevent skin irritation, with even the women's specific Coolmax chamois pad transitioning neatly into the seat of the bib tights.
At the bottom of the tights are zipped ankle closures, and a five centimetre silicone backed ankle panel that helps reduce fabric bulk round the ankle.
FWE has been gracious with its reflective detailing, and included it just above the chamois pad at the back, both ankle zips and smaller side inserts at the hips.
The over all fit of the FWE Women's Coldharbour Thermal bib tights is good. The bibs are really comfortable and soon forgotten about once on, and, thanks to the ankle zips, the legs fit really well round the calves.
Including the thinner silicone backed gripper at the bottom was a really canny move by the Evans house brand design team, as it meant that teaming the tights with over shoes really worked well as they neatly slot inside (we'll leave the inside/ outside over shoe debate well alone).
However, this design neatness somewhat makes the reflective detailing down there superfluous, as I've said before on several other reviews where ankle reflective detailing has been used, it needs to come much higher up the leg as most of it gets covered up.
For me personally I found the chamois a bit too wide at the front. Measuring around 12cm, it sits in-between the dhb Aeron Women's FLT Roubaix bib tight's Elastic Interface® pad, and Castelli Sorpasso 2 W bib tight's Progetto X2 Air seat pad in terms of comfort on the bike.
Giving the FWE Women's Coldharbour Thermal bib tights the same testing ground as the Sportful Cometa Wind Vest, it's fair to say they are very good for their money. And it's here I should probably eat my initial thoughts of the tights not being up to northern cold.
It's actually fair to say I was impressed with how the tights stood up to, what can only be described as arctic blasting at the top of one of the local hills to me in the Peak District known as Bowstone Hill.
It wasn't a wet day in the saddle, but ground surface water, and the off-road adventure route I'd selected meant the FWE Women's Coldharbour Thermal bib tights were also tested for a sprinkling of water too. It was only when I rode through a proper puddle on the road that the water penetrated the fabric completely.
Even then, after the initial cold surprise, which made me realise how well they had been putting up with conditions, I remained warm enough in the legs to tolerate the long decent back home. Not bad for a pair of tights that don't even have rank as having a smidgen of water resistance.
I feel I've found a bit of a hidden affordable gem in the FWE Women's Coldharbour Thermal Padded bib tights. At £60 they're the cheapest bib tights I've tested in a long time, by at least £20, and aren't far off the performance of brands over double their price.
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.
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