These Bodyfit Pro Thermal Bib Tights from Italian company Sportful are warm enough for the coldest winter days with a comfortable padded insert and excellent fit. They're well priced too.
They're constructed from a combination of Thermodrytex Double and Thermodrytex Plus fabrics, which feature a nylon outer face with a fleece polyester inner layer with hollow core fibres. It sounds complex, but it it is exceptionally good at providing adequate insulation on even the very coldest days.
A really nice feature is the double layer of material over the knee. This serves not only to provide additional warmth over the knee joint, which it does very well, but also to increase freedom of movement. The outer layer is able to slide over the inner layer, and this makes the tights impressively comfortable when pedalling.
Sportful clothing is well constructed and these tights are no exception, with flat-lock stitching ensuring good durability and also aiding comfort. Side ankle zips with camlock zippers make getting in and out of the tights easier.
The top half of the tights is constructed from mesh fabric, with wide straps sitting comfortably over the shoulders. The mesh doesn't add much extra insulation like some winter tights, but does allow good breathability with a base layer and jacket. Toilet stops proved not a problem with enough stretch in the front of the tights.
Pulling the tights on reveals a luxuriously soft lining. They're a bit snug when first pulled on (I tested a size medium) but once into place they're nice and comfortable. No tightness or pulling at the knees.
On the bike and in a range of temperatures from zero to 12 degrees they showed very good capacity to provide plentiful insulation while avoiding overheating, with enough breathability in the material that you never get sweaty.
Inside the shorts is Sportful's own TC Pro pad. It really is a brilliantly comfortable insert. Short commutes and long winter training rides are handled with utter comfort, with no chafing or unnecessary bulk. It's soft on the skin and has an anatomic shape so it sits flush with the body. The urethane foam ranges from 9 to 14mm thickness along its length, so there's more padding around the sit bones and less along the middle.
These are the first tights I've ever tested that have a finish that makes them look like you're wearing bib shorts and leg warmers. My girlfriend asked my why they would design them like that, and the best reply I could come up with is 'why not?' I think they look cool, you may not agree, and if you don't like the yellow other colours are available.
Like all of the BodyFit range, these have essentially been designed for the Saxo Bank team so you're buying the same kit the pros train in through the winter, only without the sponsors' logos.
The £100 asking price slaps them right in the middle of the range you can expect to pay for a pair of bib tights. Considering the quality of the materials used, the pro-approved fit and the excellent insert, these really are very good bib tights, though they are probably more suitable for the performance cyclist looking for good winter training tights than the commuter or touring cyclist. Shop around and you can find them for a bit less too, which I reckon makes them a bit of a bargain.
Superbly comfortable bib tights and impressively warm for winter cycling.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Bodyfit Thermal Bib Tights
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?
Pro issue apparel, without the livery of the sponsors. Grand Tour and classic victories are won in the racing season but earned in the winter months.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fit and construction as used by Team Saxo - Tinkoff
Constructed from the excellent Thermodrytex Plus material. The brushed fleece is soft and warm against the skin. Good stretch to ensure range of movement isn't prohibited.
Double layer construction on knees, protecting ligaments / tendons from the cold.
TC Pro seat pad, seamless construction, anatomical in shape. Dimpled and perforated surface for great moisture management and enhanced comfort.
Cam lock zipper at ankle
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Kept my legs warm on the coldest winter days so far, without overheating and with a padded insert that goes the distance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The double layer knee panel boosts warmth and movement.
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
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.