There's a lot to love about these bib tights - the mid-weight fabric will provide a good option through most of the year and the chamois itself is good. Unfortunately, we found the halterneck system wasn't as effective here as it is when paired with Giro's shorts, which let the whole package down.
Chamois affected by halterneck
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Giro's halterneck bib design (opens in new tab) has long been a favourite for me when it comes to shorts. This solution provides an in-built baselayer, and makes comfort breaks extremely easy. The promise of a bib tight (opens in new tab) version of this was music to my ears - after all, stripping off all of your upper layers to go to the toilet is a much more involved and unwelcome process in winter than it is in the summer months. No one wants to remove a sopping wet jacket, in a public toilet or nestled under the cover of a large bush.
However, the reality of the halterneck bib tights from Giro didn't quite live up to my expectation, with the system, unfortunately, affecting the experience on the bike in this case. This said, they do provide a nice mid-weight option for rides in spring and autumn.
Giro Women's Chrono Expert Thermal Halter bib tights: construction
Giro's party trick here is the use of its halter bib design. This has a mesh upper, with a halterneck that stretches to allow the back of the tights to be pulled down.
The legs use the brand's Italian thermal material, with a windblock insert of the centre panel. The fabric features a durable water repellent (DWR) coating to keep the worst of the rain off. The fabric also boasts a UPF 50+ rating, which might be useful for riders elsewhere in Europe who tend to wear tights even when the sun is out, but won't feature much on the requirement list for those in the UK.
Inside the tights is Giro's Chrono Expert Cyctech chamois, which the brand claims can offer protection for rides up to five hours.
The ankles feature zips with reflective accents.
In a rather nice touch, the mesh upper features three pockets at the rear for extra storage. You wouldn't want to load them up with anything really bulky, but on long winter rides, any extra pocket space can be a bonus.
Giro Women's Chrono Expert Thermal Halter bib tights: the ride
Pulling these tights on, I was immediately impressed with the stretch of the fabric - which offers 17-18 per cent elastane at the main body and windblock panels with 28 per cent spandex across the mesh upper.
The fabric is light enough, and breathes well enough to be worn on slightly warmer days - up to 15ºC in my book. This makes them a good choice for the spring and autumn, when truly heavyweight tights can become a bit of an overkill, though with a warm enough jacket and accessories I can see them managing fine in deep winter.
The zips at the ankles are accompanied by reflective details. I didn't really use the zips to get the tights on and off, and I'm not really a fan of their inclusion - but they didn't chafe or rub.
The chamois itself offers plenty of padding, and when in place it did the job just fine. My problem was that it didn't tend to stay in place.
The struggle with making effective halterneck systems work for tights is that the lower body fabric is heavy, if the upper is too stretchy, the chamois won't be firmly held in place - and that was my experience in this case. Whilst the back did pull down easily offering the promised quick stops, it also didn't stay in place on the bike.
I have worn halter bibs that achieved the goal more successfully, such as dhb's version (opens in new tab) which sadly appears to be discontinued.
Giro Women's Chrono Expert Thermal Halter bib tights: value
At £129.99, these tights come in at a much more reasonable price when compared with premium tights we've had on test over winter, Rapha's drop tail option costs £210 (opens in new tab), for example. Whilst they're not the cheapest - dhb offers women's thermal bib tights from £60 - the value is good when considered alongside Giro's usual high level of quality.
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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.
Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor.
Michelle 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 1904rt.
Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.
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