The Sugoi RS SubZero bib tights are comfortable and well made, and perform well in typically British damp, cold and windy conditions.
These are the Canadian company's second warmest bib tights (one below its RS Firewalls, which we tested last year), and the first thing you notice about them is the quality. They're made from lovely soft fabrics with flatlock stitching throughout. Sugoi has used its own Firewall 180 softshell on the thighs and the front of the legs, claiming this provides 100 per cent waterproof protection in 'critical areas'. The rest of the tights are made from warm and stretchy SubZero DWR. Both fabrics have a soft fleece backing.
Putting the tights on, it is apparent that the Firewall fabric on the front is thicker and a bit less forgiving than the rest of the tights. A good pull was needed to get them over my chunky thighs. (There are zips at the ankles to help get them over your feet, and foot loops to hold them in place.)
I was a bit worried that this might mean they would be uncomfortable on the bike, but it proved not to be the case. The positioning of the Firewall panels has clearly been given a lot of thought and the stretchiness of the Subzero DWR fabric more than compensated for this initial stiffness.
Sugoi's own Formula FX chamois is quite thick, but there was no chafing either on a long road ride or a bumpy blast on the cyclo-cross bike.
The front of the bib comes up quite high, but there's an offset zip for toilet breaks, although to my mind it would probably work better if the zip was in the middle.
In cold conditions heading towards freezing, I found the tights provided just the right level of warmth when pedalling quite hard. The windproofing of the Firewall fabric is impressive, although cold air was able to penetrate the other panels. This wasn't particularly a problem as I found it helped stop me from overheating. The mesh back no doubt helps here too, allowing any heat build-up to escape.
Riding in a particularly heavy rainstorm, the water beaded remarkably well on the front of my thighs. Eventually wetness did penetrate elsewhere – most disconcertingly when it trickled down the back of the tights, giving me a bit of a shock (and a soggy bottom). But the tights dried out quickly when the rain stopped, and in less extreme conditions I didn't notice any seepage. The waterproofing also seems to have survived a few trips to the washing machine.
A last word on fit: you might need to size down – the pair I tried were medium where I would normally go for a large. It would certainly be worth trying these before buying if you can.
Well-made, high-quality winter tights that work well in most of what the British weather throws at us
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sugoi RS SubZero Bib Tights
Size tested: Medium, Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Sugoi says: "RS level performance and fit with mixed materials for comfort and protection in inclement conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
SubZero DWR material provides a high level of insulation and water repellency
Strategic placement of Firewall 180 in the thighs and front of the legs for 100% waterproof protection in critical areas
7 inch locking ankle zippers
Formula FX chamois for all day comfort in the saddle - 1. Perforated forward ventilation 2. 4-way stretch side panels mold to body contours 3. Brushed synthetic knit with 2-way stretch with V-Control high density vibration dampening relief pads 4. Welded center channel with perforation for ventilation and pressure relief 5. V-notch for ventilation 6. Advance lamination process for smooth seam-free surface
Flatlock stitching throughout. High quality zips and super-soft fabrics.
Coped very well in all but the heaviest rain.
Well finished, good quality materials. Waterproofed areas not affected by several washes.
Comfortable, if thick pad. The Firewall fabric is a bit unforgiving.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Worked well in cold, damp conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The quality of the finish and the fabrics.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Personally I would prefer a central "comfort" zip.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Genesis Day One Singlespeed My best bike is: Souped-up Cannondale CAADX
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Andy Ward works his socks off for the NHS as a GP and teaching at Leicester Medical School. After a brief foray into road racing he decided it hurt less to fall off on mud and is now most likely to be found on his cyclocross bike. He recently surprised himself by completing the Three Peaks without breaking his bike or any limbs