For £59.99, Van Rysel's Winter Bib Tights offer impressive protection for cold, dry rides and the quality exceeds its price point. The full bib adds another layer for the torso, but it can be overbearing if the mercury rises a little. Comfort breaks are made easy, providing you don't get base layers caught in the Quick-Zip, but comfort and fit are both compromised by a system that, perhaps, needs revision.
Good protection in cold conditions
Quick-zip system compromises comfort
Bib can be over-bearing
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Van Rysel Women's Winter Cycling Bib Tights aim to provide warmth, value for money, and a helpful comfort break soloution.
Whilst the first two objectives have been ticked off, our tester found the Quick Zip a detraction from performance.
Construction and fit
Van Rysel has used the same upper body design in these winter tights as in the Quick-Zip Shorts (opens in new tab). (opens in new tab) which I tested during the summer. I didn’t get on with the shorts so well. I've found the winter tights much better, but still have reservations about the Quick-Zip system.
The tights have a substantial, high reaching ‘bib’. It’s necessary to support the two-way zip that reaches from the top of one hip, round the torso, to the other. There’s a central zip at the front too, to help create more of an opening for getting the tights on.
The fabrics are all very substantial. There's light compression around the legs and a very snug fit up top. The latter will be body shape dependant; anyone with a larger bust may struggle to find the right size. I’d say sizing up is a good idea; this will help with the fit up top. I tested a small and they have been just right. That said, they are not the easiest to actually get on; the zip makes prising them over your hips quite a challenge.
The chamois is described as an 'ergonomic pad with gel insert', it features channels for comformity and ventilation, with more padding at the rear, which implies it will offer more support in an upright position. The more delicate parts don’t get completely neglected, but the pad just isn’t quite as dense here and the channel positioning might not suit everyone.
Given the price point, the finishing is good. There are one or two loose threads, but nothing that would lead to rapid deterioration.
There's some reflective detailing on the tights. It’s not the most effective but is certainly better than nothing at all. Part of the detail is a continuous length tape that winds around the calf. I don't have the widest of lower legs so it didn't bother me. However, if you had a bit more muscle than average, I'd say it has the potential to be leaving its mark on your legs.
Once you’ve prised these on, everything feels very secure, particularly up-top; for me, the bib provided support equivalent to a good sports bra. The bib felt comfortable enough on the bike and it also provides another layer of protection from the elements. This is great in very cold weather, but a bit overbearing in milder conditions, even with strategically placed mesh at the rear. Trying to combine it with a lighter, short-sleeve, or no base layer risked leaving my arms feeling chilly.
Lower down, the fleece-lined fabric is substantial, ideal for keeping the legs toasty warm on winter rides. I personally found these tights way too much for anything over 8 degrees. They aren’t water repellent, and while the fabric dries out relatively quickly, they aren’t as light (or quick drying), for example, Velocio’s much more expensive Foundation Bibs.
So far, so relitively good, but the Quick-Zip was not a winner. for me. There's no guard behind zip, so without a good base layer, it sits directly against the skin (even with a long base layer, some section is bound to be in contact). Trying to get zipped-up after a comfort break - with a base layer positioned to protect the skin from the zip and ‘drafts’ - is an art and fabric can easily get caught in the zip.
The zip (obviously) has no 'give', it can cut into the body creating a bulge (not dissimilar to the effect of over-tight leg grippers). I didn’t find the Quick-Zip as irritating as the one on the shorts; the tights' fabric has less give than the short Lycra, so everything is held much more securely in place.
On top of the more robust fabric around the zip, I invariably combined the tights with a baselayer so my skin was protected from the Quick-Zip. However, overall, I still sensed the rigidity of it around my hips and, for me, it’s something I’d rather not ride with when other options are available. Your level of awareness will be heavily dependent on your body shape. In my opinion, these tights most definitely fall into the ‘try-before-you-buy-category’.
My other major concern with the system is the reliability of the zip. Thankfully, I've not experienced any failure to date, but I really wouldn't want to be caught out mid-ride with a broken zip.
The chamois is what you’d expect from something at this price point; I found it comfortable for rides up to 2.5 hours, but if you're often out for longer, you may wish for something more substantial.
Value and conclusion
At £59.99, these are certainly not over-priced. Indeed, if they fit and the pad is to your liking, they are a bargain. Most tights with a bio-stop system will set you back at least £100. Gore’s Ability Thermo Bibs (opens in new tab) are £100 more than Van Rysel’s, they feature a similar zip set-up, though its positioning is quite different. Velocio’s Foundation Bibs, that I have been testing alongside Van Rysel’s, are also over £100 more. For me, they offered a superior fit and less ‘intrusive’, more efficient bio-stop system.
The fit and comfort of Van Rysel’s Quick-Zip Winter Tights certainly won’t be for everyone. Trying before you buy should help avoid disappointment. If you are lucky enough to find a size that fits, and you get on with the design, you’ll be getting a great deal; these are some of the cheapest winter tights out there and they genuinely keep you warm, as well as making comfort breaks a quick affair.
If you have reservations, we suggest spending just a little bit more - we've had great success with some of dhb's reasonably priced women's bib tights, closer to £85.
- Sizes: XXS-XL
- Colour: Black
- Materials: Main fabric - Bottom 85% Polyamide, 15% Elasthane Main fabric - Top 77% Polyamide, 23% Elasthane Yoke 85% Polyamide, 15% Elasthane Padding - Outer fabric 77% Polyester, 23% Elasthane Padding - Inner fabric 100% Polyamide
- Weight: 315g (SMALL)
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