Northwave's Blade bibs are good-quality Super Roubaix tights with enough warmth for most winter conditions and a decent Elastic Interface pad to keep you comfy.
The fabric is Super Roubaix (polyamide/elastane) throughout apart from a mesh section over your upper back. Chances are that you've used Super Roubaix before: it's brush-backed fleecy stuff and mega-stretchy both up and down and crossways so you can get a close fit without any restriction when you pedal. It moves moisture away from your body quickly too so you don't get drenched in sweat.
The legs are a generous length and silicon grippers hold the bottoms in place so it's unlikely these will leave your ankles exposed. The Super Roubaix extends well up your lower back so you're not going to get any chills around there either.
It's not the heaviest-weight fabric out there and cold air can blow through, so I swapped to tights with windproof panels at the front when the temperature dropped below about 5°C although, of course, everyone is different. I know other people who would be happy wearing these down to freezing point, maybe even below. The top end of the temperature range, for me, is about 13°C, so they'll get plenty of spring and autumn use too.
The seams aren't flat-stitched but they're relatively unobtrusive and they're well sited around the knee. The panel that runs along the side of your upper leg sweeps across the front of your knee so there are no seams to irritate at the back as you pedal.
The seat pad is Blaze Air model from Elastic Interface. It's a relatively simple pad but it does a good job. Grooves in the pad mean it doesn't crease when you put it on and a channel down the middle reduces the pressure on your perineum. The foam is perforated so it's fairly breathable and it varies in thickness from 5mm to 10mm. That's a middling depth. I found that it provided enough cushioning for a couple of hours in the saddle. Any longer than that and I wanted a pair of padded shorts on too.
The logos are of the iron-on variety. I thought they'd be flaking off after a couple of goes through the washing machine but they're actually doing okay. The large one on the back of the left leg has cracked a bit already, though, so guessing it'll be the first thing to start looking old.
If you're after reflectives to get you seen at night, you're out of luck here. Well, there is a small tab on the back of the left leg but it's towards the kerb-side if you're cycling on the left, so it's not all that useful for us Brits.
If you're not into the redness of these bibs, they're also available in black/white, black/blue and, surely the correct answer, just black.
Super Roubaix bibs that are warm enough for most off-season conditions, with a decent seat pad to keep you comfy
road.cc test report
Make and model: Northwave Blade bib tight
Size tested: Large
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?
Northwave don't tend to give their products big write-ups. They simply say:
"MAIN FABRIC: Superroubaix
PAD: Blaze Air E.I.T.
BRACES: 3D mesh
REFLEX INSERTS: BACK"
You can't really argue with that, can you? These are general-use winter tights. The seat pad isn't particularly deeply cushioned so any longer than about two hours in the saddle and you're going to start to get uncomfortable.
The seams aren't flat-stitched and there are no windproof panels – which you may or may not want – but these are well made from good materials.
There are no real surprises here; you get a good performance all round. These are made from Super Roubaix fabric with a fairly basic Elastic Interface seat pad.
The iron-on logos are starting to look a little aged after several washes but everything else is looking good. I can't see any reason why these won't deliver decent longevity.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They do a sound job. There's nothing remarkable here, I guess, but they do what they're supposed to do.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Useful in a broad range of temperatures, ease of movement, lack of seams to rub behind the knees.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd prefer a higher-end seatpad for longer weekend rides.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly, although I'd usually go for a more cushioned seatpad
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
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: time trialling, 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 youthful 45-year-old 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.