Cushioning is key with the Le Col HC bib tights. The fleece-lined fabric is very comfortable against the skin, the bibs sit comfortably without being loose and even the splash-repellent ends sit without irritation. However, at £220 these need to be better than the likes of Assos and Castelli and they don't quite hit the mark, especially when it comes to the chamois, which doesn't hold position out of the saddle.
Fit isn't perfect
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Though you'll need to be ready for the elements as cycling in harsher conditions without the right kit is a big no-no. And that is where the Le Col HC bib tights come in.
They sit at the top of the Le Col bib tights price range and claim to be 'highly waterproof and breathable for all winter weather'. At £220 this surpasses Castelli and its highly acclaimed Sorpasso and NanoFlex bib tights by over £50 and we don't feel you get anything extra for that price. So what do you get?
Well before we totally dismiss the Le Col bib tights on price alone, let's get down to how they perform.
Comfort and warmth wise these bib tights are top notch. The fleece-lined fabric is very good against the skin, with no irritation, and feels luxurious and warm (note it hasn't been insanely cold of late).
However, I never felt stuffy, clammy or sticky when the temperature did start to rise or when I started to press on, which gives a nod towards the tights' breathability.
Fit is generally good too: the small size were slightly too long for me personally. Despite this I had no bunching around the back of the knee and the fabric hugged the contours of my legs really well. The pad, although comfortable, does move around slightly and remains noticeable whilst riding, especially felt while out of the saddle.
Reflective parts are a nice addition along with the splash protection on the lower leg, which makes wet weather riding slightly more bearable, taking the sting out of the cold water.
The Le Col HC bib tights manage to avoid making your lower shins sweaty too, something that the Castelli NanoFlex Pro couldn't do.
Although elsewhere the material has a small amount of water beading capability, it isn't exactly highly waterproof as suggested but at least the material doesn't soak up the moisture and get soggy.
Zip leg holes work nicely and also manage to be comfortable against the leg. Usually this type of fitment can leave skin indents and become sore over time but not on the Le Col HC bib tights.
At £220, however, you are really paying a premium price. For that money you are knocking on the door of Assos, which is what I'd put my money towards, though Castelli at a cheaper price seriously puts a question mark over the price point of these tights.
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