'Maximum comfort in every detail' is certainly a gutsy product description. The Total Comfort Bibtight from Sportful talk the talk but how do they really perform as a winter bibtight, pitched against the UK weather?
I've been impressed by Sportful's material engineering in the past. These tights are no exception.
Constructed from 'Thermodrylex Double', a fabric with a hollow polyester core creating a air gap that insulates but is still able to wick moisture away to the Nylon outer layer. The inner layer is an extremely soft roubaix-like fleece that make my legs feel like I'm being cuddled by a herd of sheep. Part of that cuddling is thanks to a near compression fit; the material has plenty of stretch meaning they hugged my figure well - no baggy bum that some tights create.
The knees and front thigh feature an extra inner liner to keep those exposed areas toasty. Being a rather lean figure, I often find this common feature in tights creates tightness that can cause the knee to track incorrectly; causing injury. I didn't find this to be the case here; it has been well implemented and was unnoticeable during riding.
One of the pillars of total comfort has to be the pad. Sportful haven't skimped here and have included a serious cushion for your derrière. Somehow it is chunky (almost 2cm thick at points) yet remains dynamic and mouldable in the saddle. I stand by their description of 'unbelievable' softness; normally a pad this soft would get in the way but it doesn't here. I think it ranks right up there in my top pads to grace my buttocks!
Final touches to the tight are Sportful's BodyFit bib straps - like the ones on summer shorts - which are thin, tape like straps, providing solid support. They are braced by the tight material further up the back to provide a tad more warmth.
An elastic cuff with zip is used at the leg, which I think looks clean and held well. The zips are branded and have a quality, lasting feel to them, including a reflective cover strip to aid visibility and keep dirt out. I tested a medium and at 184cm they fitted me perfectly, finishing just below the ankle.
In terms of riding, I've already expressed my pleasure for the pad - these are perfect for long winter base miles. Weather wise I found them to offer protection down to around 7 degrees. They don't include much wind protection, allowing them to breathe extremely well but that's why I limited them to the milder winter days - when wind chill isn't such an issue. No water resistance is touted either and whilst they'll be good in a bit of spray or drizzle, I wouldn't wear them in the rain. Their excellent wicking properties do mean that if you are caught in a shower however, they dry relatively quickly.
I think I did find total comfort in these tights - in the right conditions.
Totally comfortable long-distance winter tights.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Total Comfort 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?
'Engineered inside and out to make your winter training more comfortable.' These are for those that literally want total comfort on the bike and to look good while doing it.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Maximum comfort in every detail.
Total Comfort chamois with maximum padding.
Thermodrytex Double for active wicking and moisture management.
Liner in front and knees for extra warmth.
YKK(R) camlock ankle zippers.
Innovative mesh bib straps.
Premium materials used throughout, held together with solid stitching, one of the best pads I've used and top tier bib straps.
In terms of a comfortable winter tight they'd get a 10. They aren't perfect though as they can be a little cold in the depths of winter .
During the month that I'd ridden with them they don't show any signs of wear they could cause problems down the line.
Honestly, the comfort is 'excellent'.
These tights are £130, which is about what I would expect to pay, sitting just shy of the Castelli's and Assos. For the comfort that these offer they could be priceless to come and to a fair weather enthusiast, I'd say buy them. They probably wouldn't offer great value to a commuter though, as they aren't going to get you through all weathers.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a winter riding tight, designed for complete comfort, superbly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The 'unbelievably soft' pad, that manages to be dense whilst remaining dynamic and mouldable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The lack of wind protection - but you can't have it all.
Did you enjoy using the product? Thoroughly.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 23 Height: 184cm Weight: 66kg
I usually ride: Orbea Onix (Carbon) - Summer, Orbea Asphalt (Alu) - Winter My best bike is: Orbea Alma G10
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, club rides, mtb,