If you’re looking to spend under £100, you'll struggle to find a better pair of winter tights than the Lusso Classic Thermal Bib Tights. Great fitting, comfortable and versatile, these are the ones to beat.
Cuffs sized for bigger ankles
The Lusso Classic Thermal Bib Tights prove that you don’t need to spend over £200 – or even over £100 – to get a great pair of winter tights. Lusso uses good-quality Italian SuperRoubaix fabric throughout, specs a very comfortable chamois and the fit is up there with the best. They’re made in the UK, too. For under £100 you really can’t go wrong.
Lusso Classic Thermal Bib Tights: construction
Lusso uses the same SuperRoubaix fleece-backed fabric from Italian brand MITI for the whole of the tights, including the bib. Since it’s breathable and very stretchy, there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be done – and it can add a useful bit of extra warmth when it’s really chilly out.
SuperRoubaix is not waterproof or windproof, but it traps body heat very effectively. Lusso doesn’t claim any waterproofing or windproofing for these tights but the fabric, which is basically heavier, fleece-backed Lycra, doesn’t hold onto water, dries out very quickly, and is warm down to 0°C thanks to the heat-trapping fleece.
One of the big benefits of using the same fabric throughout is that when you're pedalling, the fabric stretches evenly with the body’s movement whereas windproof panels, since they’re less elastic, don’t always conform perfectly to the flexing of knees and can end up pulling the chamois forwards. I found the Lusso Classic Thermal Bib Tights incredibly unrestrictive with the chamois in exactly the right place, where it stayed. For smooth pedalling and perfect chamois placement, these are the best tights I’ve ridden this year.
There are no zips at the cuffs. I prefer that, since it avoids zip clashes and misalignments with overshoes. However, the elastic cuffs were slightly too big for my ankles – it's the only part of the fit that isn’t quite perfect. My ankles are thinner than some people’s so I can't complain too hard about this. In any case, there won't be any Nora Batty shaming because if I'm wearing tights I'm also wearing overshoes. If it’s helpful, I’m testing the size medium and the cuff measures 23cm unstretched; the diameter of my ankle at the thinnest point is 21cm.
Other than that, the sizing is spot on. I’m 178cm and 68kg and the M is exactly right, corresponding with Lusso's size guide.
The big Lusso logos up the sides of the legs are reflective (and aren't peeling after washing), and there are also tabs on the calves that are well clear of the tops of overshoes.
Finding a pair of tights that allows easy pedalling with a chamois that doesn’t move is more than half the battle as far as I’m concerned, and these Lussos are definitely winning.
The Italian Teosport chamois is not only in the right place but it also has the right level of padding. It’s supportive without that sinking feeling, and although I haven't tested the eight hour-plus claim for it, for slower winter rides where there’s more pressure on the sitbones than the pedals it just works.
Any experienced rider will know what SuperRoubaix can and can’t do. Since it's breathable it's very versatile, but I would say Lusso’s stated temperature range of -2°C to 16 degrees is more ambitious at the top end than the bottom. These are warm tights and at 16°C most people will be wearing shorts, or shorts and legwarmers, anyway. However, from 0°C into the low double figures they're in their element, so to speak.
Personally I don’t miss windproofing or waterproofing for tights and would prioritise the comfort of SuperRoubaix. With the Classic Thermal Bib Tights, Lusso has focused on average British winter riding conditions rather than the most extreme ones, and it has them nicely covered.
Competitors at this price? The Morvelo Stealth Thermoactive (opens in new tab) tights that we reviewed earlier this year at £90 (also made from SuperRoubaix) are now £120.
The Endura Xtract (opens in new tab) tights are cheaper at £69.99 but are lighter-weight, made from standard Roubaix, and we concluded they were more aimed at autumn and spring rather than winter.
The dhb Aeron FLT Roubaix tights (women's halterneck version reviewed here) are also cheaper at £90 and are made from the lighter Roubaix.
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism.
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Mercian Classic fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
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