The Alé Warm Reflex Bibtights are warm enough for most wintry conditions, they're comfortable and they offer loads of reflectivity, although the price is only okay.
They are very good tights, though. They're made from thermal Super Roubaix fabrics, different panels using slightly different compositions. They're all super-stretchy and the reinforced flat seams bode well for durability. They're certainly looking good so far.
All that stretchiness – even more than usual – means that you might feel these tights don't offer quite as much squeeze and support as some others, but they do offer excellent freedom of movement.
There's no windproofing so all of the panels are highly breathable, the reflective material that covers your calves being perforated to allow cool air in and warm air out. The lack of windproof panels could leave you wanting more protection when the temperature is very low. Alé gives these a temperature range of 3°C to 10°C. I run cold and I'd say more like 5°C to 13°C for me. We're all different.
The seams are well-placed around the knees to avoid rubbing – it's virtually impossible to position them over those prominent tendons at the back there – and silicone grippers stop the tights from riding up at the ankles. I found them tight enough in that area too. Ill-fitting ankles are bad news! Zippers at the bottom make the tights easy to get on and off even over shoes.
Wide shoulder straps keep the bib section in place comfortably, and a mesh panel at the back provides support without affecting breathability.
Alé's new Double Ergo seatpad features a high-density (120kg) foam that sits underneath your contact points (both perineal and ischiatic) and a honeycomb-like surface sheet next to your body. It might not look particularly high-tech, but it works really well to keep you well cushioned without too much bulk, and it doesn't get particularly sweaty when you ride hard.
I mentioned the reflective panels earlier. They're huge, and because they move as you pedal they're highly noticeable to cars approaching from the rear. The logo on the side of the left leg is reflective too, although it's not as prominent.
All in all, there's not a lot to complain about here. These tights have become a real favourite over the past few weeks. They're warm enough for a wide range of off-season temperatures and they're very comfortable. I just think that they'd be a lot more tempting if they were about 20 quid or so cheaper. Still, they're built to a high standard so they look set to last.
Warm and comfortable winter bib tights with exceptional reflectivity
road.cc test report
Make and model: Ale Warm Reflex Bibtights
Size tested: Medium
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?
Alé says: "These bib tights are suggested for use in temperatures from 3° to 10° since it protects from cold thanks to the thermal fleece material."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Real multi-panel construction with an ergonomic cut for the riding position, without constraint to allow the maximum freedom of movement.
Main: SUPEROUBAIX 245 g.
Additional: SUPEROUBAIX CARBON 245 g.
Crotch area: THERMO 290 g.
Inserts: PERFORATED REFLEX
New for 2016: the new DOUBLE ERGO shammy, has a bi-component surface in the front and lateral parts in the groin. The high density 120kg foam covers the contact point on the saddle (perineal and ischiatic) but it is reduced in the remaining parts to guarantee the minimum bulk.
Reflective zippers on ankles to increase visibility and for an easier wear.
Security Reflex on the back leg for an increased visibility.
Wide Reflex panels made of perforated reflective material for visibility.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy. These go into the washing machine with everything else and come out fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The performance is very good. You get high levels of warmth and comfort and exceptional visibility, from the rear at least.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The comfort and the build quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not a lot. The price is only okay rather than exceptional. I guess some traditionalists won't be down with the huge amount of reflectivity but I think it's a neat addition.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly, although it is a very crowded market.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The clothing market is so competitive that these don't stand out for value, but these are made in Italy to a high standard and they're very comfy, and that earns them an 8 overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.