Tights & longs
These Powerlogic Olympic bib tights are the top tights in the range from Italian company Zero RH, and they're most notable for the unusual bib section that holds them in place.
The lower sections – both the black and the white panels – are made from what Zero RH call Icedry Gold 200 fabric, which is essentially a brush-backed nylon/elastane roubaix. It’s warm, breathable and quick drying, like most, although the high price doesn’t get you any windproof panels or double layers to provide extra protection from the cold.
Skins are not the biggest brand in cycling apparel but have certainly helped start a trend with their compression wear for both on the bike and travel and recovery. The C400 Bib Shorts from Skins certainly impressed this summer but at £153 these bib longs seem to fall a little fall of the mark by Skins own very high standards.
These new tights H2O tights from Santini are made from a fabric called Acquazero which feels like a normal fleece-backed Roubaix – warm, stretchy and highly breathable – the difference is that it’s very water repellent.
Altura's Ergofit range is their higher end gear that's attempting to steal a portion of the more enthusiast market. We've had a range of kit on test and so far it's been a bit of a mixed bag; the gloves and gilet came out with good marks while the three-quarters fared less well. So what of the longs?
These well-made Deep Winter bib tights from Rapha come with windproof panels down the front to keep you pedalling comfortably when the weather turns arctic, as it has recently.
The stretchy windproof panels extend from the tops of the legs right down to the ankles, although they don’t cover the crotch. That area is protected by two layers of a fleecy fabric though and, coming without a seatpad, these tights are designed to be worn over a pair of shorts, so that makes three layers in all.
With Windstopper panels to block the cold air, Gore's Contest Bib tights will keep you warm in temperatures down to freezing point and beyond.
The Contests are the cheapest bib tights in the Gore Bike Wear range to feature Windstopper fabric (the version without a seatpad is £99.99) – although the non-bibbed Vistas are £80 with a seat pad and £70 without.
When the weather is wet or cold, or both, you need your whole legs covered in something warm and sturdy to protect them from the elements. The full-length Pace Super-Roubaix Windproof bib-tights from dhb do just that.
The dhb legwear range employs various fabric types, but the Pace Super-Roubaix tights use the a relatively heavier option - measuring 245g/m2 - meaning they’re thick enough to be warm on the bike, but not too thick to restrict your pedalling.
The Finchdean bib tights from Wiggle are aimed squarely at winter riders, and will keep you warm through those chilly days in autumn and spring too, making them ideal for commuting, training and early season sportives.
I’ve got thin blood, so in the depths of winter I wear big fat windproof mountain-bike tights, even when I’m out on the road. But once the icy winds disappear around early March, I need something a bit more slim-line, though still nice and warm, and the Finchdeans do just the job.
The Cadence tight is the top non-bib model in the Polaris range. At a penny shy of fifty pounds this is placed in a tough market with many brands fighting it out in the entry-mid range price tag. I am not usually one for non-bib anything but all previous experiences with Polaris leg wear have been positive and the Candence tight offers some great features for the money.
These are good mid-weight longs. The main fabric offers much more warmth than standard Lycra and, although it isn’t as insulating as a deep Thermo-roubaix, windproof knee panels keep the cold air out a treat without noticeably affecting breathability. There’s more windproofing – provided by a polyurethane laminate – at the front of the torso although, under a jersey or jacket, it’s less useful there. You might want more warmth for the really bitter days, but for most off-season conditions these will do the job.