I've had the pleasure of testing a bunch of Louis Garneau's winter gear lately, and have found it all to be well thought out and constructed but I was a little disappointed by these Oslo bib tights.
They are designed for intermediate conditions, that is to say; a typical cold (5-10 deg C) and drizzly British winter's day. My expectations for the Oslo tights were high (perhaps overly so) and after putting in the hard miles in them, I have to say that although everything started very promisingly and they are good - they are not quite as good as I'd expected.
The tights use Louis Garneau's 'Heatmaxx' (that extra x makes all the difference) which is very similar to generic Roubaix material often found on bib tights, and is fleecy to the touch. This material is used on the inside only with the outer having the feel of standard lycra. This fleece material is also used on the front of the straps, with the back being made out of mesh. The front is cut low (below the belly button) in a similar way to standard bib shorts which is different to a lot of bib tights. Given that the Oslo's are sold as 'intermediate' condition tights, this low cut really improves their versatility as you can adjust your upper body warmth through layering instead of being stuck with an overly warm bib.
The material isn't specifically wind or waterproof, but its natural warmth helps to overcome these limitations. The upshot is that the Oslo's are a lot lighter than tights which employ such heavy duty fabrics which makes a big difference psychologically when heading out. You won't feel weighed down with gear with these on. Once wet, there warmth isn't totally compromised and they do dry out quickly.
Out of the box, the Oslo's were remarkably comfortable in the way that all fresh chamois tends to be. The panels are well designed to follow the contours of your body and the whole ensemble felt tight in all the right places. Unusually for my skinny legs, I didn't experience any bunching around the knees even when standing up straight. That's not to say that they aren't suited to stockier folk as the material is very stretchy and is able to fill out nicely.
After only a couple of washes though, things have gotten decidedly baggier. The straps in particular seem to have stretched a far bit which caused some sagginess around the midriff. The knock on effect of this is that the pad is more prone to move about when getting in and out of the saddle which has compromised its comfort. On the other hand, the leg panels have retained their elasticity and still conform well to my legs.
Speaking of the pad, I found it to be somewhat stiff on the sides which make it feel a little large and unwieldy. You get plenty of padding of various densities, but it just doesn't mould to me as well as some higher end models. This isn't so much of a problem when the tights are new and everything in firmly in place so to speak, but the sagging straps cause the pad to shift around quite a bit which is irritating. A couple of vents holes front and back attempt to keep things cool down below but this is always going to be a challenge in fleecy bibs such as these.
Zips at the ankle ensure a tight fit around the sock and saves the material from being over stretched when pulled over feet/shoes. A silicon gripper is included also which keeps the lower leg from bunching up around the knee.
Although largely black, Louis Garneau have included some reflective detail on the calf to deal with the night time riding that you'll inevitably be doing this time of year. The reflective material is quite poorly stuck on though, and has begun to peel off which is disappointing considering the £85 asking price.
A great fitting pair of tights out of the box, the Oslo's are let down by excessively saggy straps. The cheapness of the reflective detailing further undermines what could have been a great option for winter riding.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Louis Garneau Oslo Bib Tight
Size tested: Black - M
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?
According to Louis Garneau, "the Oslo 3D Bib Tights will keep you warm and dry during early morning chilly rides".
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Stretchable trim on bib straps
7'/18 cm ankle zip
Signature ankle gripper
Back reflective arrows
Bottom reflective logo
Perfo 3D chamois
The flatlocked seams are all very sturdy and have held up well to the washing machine. The reflective detailing has begun to peel off and isn't going to last much longer
These tights were great initially but they have got saggier than they should have after a couple of washes. This has affected how the chamois pad is located compromising comfort.
The fabrics themselves are tough enough to handle any knocks but they have stretched noticeably in the wash. Reflective material is poorly attached and has started to flake off.
Very light for their warmth and the conditions in which they can be worn.
The pad isn't quite as well positioned now that the straps have stretched means it does shift around when in and out of the saddle.
For the price, I have to say I expected more.
Did you enjoy using the product? I did initially, but my enthusiasm has since waned
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
About the tester
Age: 20 Height: 190cm Weight: 70kg
I usually ride: Giant TCR Advanced 2 My best bike is: Canyon Ultimate CF7
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, sportives, mtb,
For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.