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BUYER'S GUIDE

Best bib tights for winter cycling 2022 — keep riding through winter and keep your bottom half warm

If you ride outside year-round, the best winter bib tights will help keep your toasty for plenty of warm and comfortable off-season miles

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If you want to carry on cycling through the cold winter months, it pays to get properly wrapped up; keeping yourself warm with some of the best winter bib tights and best cycling jackets you can afford can be a total lifesaver for your enjoyment and comfort once the temperatures drop in late Autumn and beyond.


Whether you're commuting every day, heading out for a training ride after work or joining the weekly club run, here's a selection of the best gear to keep your legs protected from the cold, no matter your budget or anatomy. 

Winter tights range from lightweight waist tights that add a bit of insulation to full-on warm and waterproof weather armour. Therefore if you're planning on riding in the rain look for fabrics with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating. It’s also important to note that some winter tights are expensive, but for some, not being wet and miserable while riding in cold conditions is worth it.

If you do, however, already own a pair from our best bib tights list, then it’s highly recommended you look into investing in a winter jersey. Couple this with a pair of the best winter gloves, and you’ll be ready to venture out into the elements in total comfort and warmth.

The best winter bib tights: our top picks

Rapha Pro Team Winter Tights with Pad II

Rapha Pro Team Winter Tights with Pad II

Rapha Pro Team Winter Tights with Pad II

9
Best all-round (male)
Buy now for £230 from Rapha

The Rapha Pro Team Bib Tights II with Pad take the excellent DNA of the Pro Team II Bib Shorts and add warmth, water resistance and a performance-orientated fit to create an exceptional all-round winter garment, though it does come at some cost.

With Rapha's second generation Pro Team bib shorts, which offered impressive performance and quality, these full-length versions repeat a winning formula for the performance cyclist, while keeping you comfortable and warm no matter how bad the conditions. 

The features under the skin are a bit of a repetition: a size-specific Cytech chamois provides all-day comfort in the saddle, while the new seam structure is carried over too. That means if you're used to the feel of any of Rapha's Pro Team II bib garments, then you immediately feel the familiarity.

Read our review:

MAAP Team Thermal Bib Tights

MAAP Team Thermal Bib Tights

MAAP Team Thermal Bib Tights

9
Best high-end (male)
Buy now for £215 from Sigma Sports
Soft and warm against the skin
Slight compression in the fabric
Very comfortable chamois
Good temperature range
Top quality construction
No rear reflective detailing
Price may be too rich for some

These MAAP Team Thermal Bib Tights work across a wide range of temperatures and are very comfortable for long days in the saddle. They're pretty expensive, but they are well made and look to be durable.

And it's nice to see a brand bring out a pair of bib tights that aren't black. The navy option (black is also available) here looks good and may just help you stand out a little bit more on a winter's day.

For the main construction of the Team Thermal tights, MAAP has used a midweight Roubaix style fabric which offers four-way stretch and a small amount of compression. The fleece-backed fabric feels very soft against the skin and helps keep you warm. 

MAAP gives them an operating temperature range of around 5-15°C, but I found that they worked well down to around freezing and up to the low-teens; any higher than that and breathability starts to suffer.

Read our review:
Pactimo Men’s Alpine Thermal Bib Tight

Pactimo Men’s Alpine Thermal Bib Tight

9
Best thermal bib tights with pockets (men's)
Buy now for £91 from Pactimo
Comfortable chamois pad
Great fit
Useful cargo pockets
The price
DWR coating could wear over time

Described as "extremely comfortable" on rides of any length by our reviewer, Pactimo's Alpine Thermal Bib Tights fit well, have useful reflective details and also come with cargo pockets to keep plenty of stuff in.

Pactimo do actually have even deeper winter bib tight options, and the Alpine is for the least severe (probably your best bet for our mostly drizzly British winter weather). They're made with what Pactimo describes as as a mid-weight, breathable, stretchy, brushed-back Italian fabric. 

While you can get decent bib tights for less, the quality and performance you're getting here with the extra bonus features make them a worthwhile investment. The recommended 5-12°C temperature range will do for most of a UK winter. 

 

Read our review:

Castelli Sorpasso RoS Wind Bib Tights 9

Castelli Sorpasso RoS Wind Bib Tights 9

Castelli Sorpasso RoS Wind Bib Tights

9
Best wind protection (male)
Buy now for £130 from Merlin Cycles
Windproof front panels
Water repellent
Excellent seated comfort
Logos crack and peel

The popular Italian cycling clothing company Castelli are popular amongst cyclists for their comfort and quality. The Sorpasso RoS Wind Bib Tights are no exception. They offer male riders excellent seated comfort thanks to its super comfortable chamois that will easily see you through a day's winter riding without any undercarriage discomfort. 

Unsurprisingly, given they are our best pick for wind protection, these Castelli bib tights offer excellent protection against wind chill. This is thanks to the windproof panels on the front of the legs which of course are the first to hit the icy cold winds that we all experience come winter time. They may still prove tougher to ride against, but without a doubt, wearing these the wind chill from it won't be an issue.

Not only to the Sorpasso RoS Wind bib tights offer excellent wind protection, but they also provide water repellency for those wet rainy days on the bike. Helping to keep you dry and comfortable no matter what the British weather has to throw at you. Overall, they are a really solid option, if a little on the pricey side, but definitely worth the investment. 

Read our review:
Albion Three Season Tights

Albion Three Season Tights

9
Another great set of road.cc-recommended men's bib tights
Buy now for £150 from Condor Cycles
Soft and comfortable
Great fit
Windproof and water resistant
Lightweight fabric
Good reflectivity
Very comfortable pad
A little short in the leg for some

Described as the "standout piece" in Albion's range, by our reviewer, the Three Season Tights offer everything you could possibly want from a pair of bib tights to fend off the UK's changeable winter weather. The pad is comfy, the fleecy fabric warm and a combination of windproof knee panels and water-repellent treatment keeps your legs well protected.

They also fend off cold and wet weather, and work across a wide range of temperatures, not just deep winter. You don't have to worry too much about what to wear on your legs, just stick these on and you're pretty much good to go from almost zero degrees up through to the teens.

While they are not cheap by any means, Albion has priced these tights quite competitively against similar premium offerings, and they should last you many a winter. 

Read our review:

Velocio Women’s Thermal Bib Tights

Velocio Women’s Thermal Bib Tights Best wind protection (female)

Velocio Women’s Thermal Bib Tights

8
Best wind protection (female)
Buy now for £219 from Velocio
Very well made
Wide, comfy straps
Fabric keeps you warm
Low-bulk fabric
Exceptional chamois
Easy-pee system not guaranteed to work for all
Straps a little tricky to arrange
Price

The Velocio Women's Thermal Bib Tights are both warm and well made, featuring an exceptionally comfortable chamois as well as front-facing Integrated windproof panel for added protection from the cold, landing themself in our best bib tights for wind protection.

These bib tights have also been made using very warm ThemroRoubaix Power fabric which is fleece backed and treated with DWR technology on the outside to ensure water repellency: keeping you warm and dry during your winter riding while still being highly breathable.

Overall, even though these impressive bib tights from Velocio offer great protection from the wind and elements, they are still very comfortable and manoeuvrable thanks to the stretchy nature of the materials used. They also range in sizes XXS to 3XL which is of course great for exclusivity.

Read our review:
 
 
 
manoeuvrable

Iris Women’s Signature Winter Bib Tight Light

Iris Women’s Signature Winter Bib Tight Light

Iris Women’s Signature Winter Bib Tight Light

9
Best for milder conditions (female)
Buy now for £135 from VeloVixen
High quality
Quick-exit magnetic bib buckle
Comfortable chamois
Not black
Buckle a little more tricky than the Iris shorts but still easy

Company founder and former pro, Iris Slappendel has created the Iris Women's Signature Winter Bib Tight Light thanks to her wealth of experience in riding and training over the winter to answer your needs for all but the coldest conditions.

Soft, stretchy, warm and pliable, with a great chamois and easy-to-use buckle system for toilet breaks, these are a well-designed and high-quality pair of tights at a decent price. Not to mention, they also look great too. 

These tights are designed with early winter and spring in mind rather than the coldest days, but it's worth bearing in mind that Iris is based in the Netherlands and their idea of 'deep winter' can be a whole lot scarier than the UK version. That said, these are mid-weight rather than heavyweight tights, made from high-quality ThermoRoubaix fabric with plenty of stretch.

Read our review:

Rapha Women’s Pro Team Winter Tights

Rapha Women’s Pro Team Winter Tights

Rapha Women’s Pro Team Winter Tights

9
Best all-round (female)
Buy now for £230 from Rapha
High quality
Quick-exit magnetic bib buckle
Wind and water resistant
Warm
Slightly tricky to tuck in baselayers after pee stops
Expensive

The Rapha Women's Pro Team Winter Tights are a great all-round option that provide good levels of warmth and weather protection, together with a comfortable chamois pad. The bib strap and buckle has been designed for easy loo stops which is a useful and effective feature. Fantastic quality, but pricey with it.

Designed for the worst of winter, these full length bib tights have plenty of features that show great attention to detail for the needs of women riding in cold conditions. As well as being made with a tough but lightweight three-layer fabric, including windproof and water-repellent panels at the front and Thermoroubaix fabric at the back, the broad stretch straps are designed to sit around the outside of the bust, and a heavy duty magnetic clasp at the back allows for pee stops without having to strip off.

Impressively, the levels of warmth offered by these bib tights is perfect on days hovering around zero, and they also effectively protect from freezing winds. The water repellency is enough to deal with road spray as well as reasonably heavy rain. Keeping your legs warm without making you too sweaty or uncomfortable, even when working hard. These are aimed at demanding riders and it shows: no matter what is thrown at them, they deliver on comfort and offer a great level of protection against the British winter.

Read our review:

Gore C3 Thermo Bib Tights

Gore C3 Thermo Bib Tights

Gore C3 Thermo Bib Tights

8
Best for under £100 (male)
Buy now for £79.99 from Wiggle
Comfort
Fit
Price
Not as technical a pad as some

Gore's C3 Thermo Bib Tights+ offer excellent fit, warmth and comfort at a price that compares very favourably with their rivals, hence they fit into our list as the best winter bib tights for under £100.

The key to comfortable cycling through all seasons is protection from the elements without bulk or unnecessary weight, and the C3s hit the mark. Easy to pull on and remove, the leg fabric sits lightly on the skin while the mesh straps do their job excellently without applying undue pressure to your shoulders. The seamless design also ensures zero irritation. Gore suggests you will forget the straps are even there when riding, and for once a marketing claim rings true.

The thermal fabric used throughout works well in trapping warmth while allowing sweat to wick away, and the water resistant panel on the back should be a bonus for maintaining comfort should you get caught out on a bike without mudguards in the wet. Helping to keep you both warm and dry, be it from outside elements or your own sweat. Overall, for under £100 these are a bargain, but they aren't as technical as more expensive options.

Read our review:

dhb Merino Tight

dhb Merino Tight

dhb Merino Tight

8
Best value for money (male)
Buy now for £120 from Wiggle
Comfort
Fit
Temperature regulation

Coming from Wiggle’s own brand, the dhb's Merino Tights can, without a doubt, hold their own for comfort, fit and warmth against offerings from the biggest names. Which is why they’ve made their way into our best value for money spot. 

These bib tights offer an excellent, racy fit with no bunching or bagginess, they don’t ride up and nor are the seams irritating, despite the fact dhb has cleverly incorporated panels of windproof and showerproof material in the shin area where your legs are most exposed to the elements. 

With an RRP of £140, you are getting bib tights that perform on a level with competitors that would cost upwards of £200, such as the MAAP Team Thermal Bib Tights. Therefore, if you are in the market for performance merino bib tights, do yourself and your wallet a favour and check out the dhb Merinos. You won’t be disappointed.

Read our review:

Nopinz Endurance Bib Tights Woman's

Nopinz Endurance Bib Tights

Nopinz Endurance Bib Tights Woman’s

9
Best value for money (female)
Buy now for £79.99 from Nopinz
Comfy
Well-specced chamois
Low-bulk fabric
Great fit
Short in the leg
No ankle zipper won’t please all

Nopinz have created the Endurance Bib Tights with comfort and performance at the forefront of their design, and they come in a men's version too priced the exact same. These tights have been created with low-bulk fabric to ensure total comfort and a solid fit while out riding and layered up.

Coupled with a comfortable chamois to ensure undercarriage comfort and these are certainly a tough option to beat: hence they have been given our road.cc recommends title after testing. Even though they are low-bulk, they are still also fleecy lined to ensure warmth stays in during even the coldest of winter rides.

Also benefitting from a hydrophobic coating in order to protect against road spray, these Nopinz bib tights are a really great value for money choice for anyone wanting high end performance and comfort, but at a brilliant price.

Read our review:
best aero cycling helmets

Stolen Goat Orkaan 3/4 Length Bib Tights

8
Best 3/4 length winter bib tights
Buy now for £97.5 from Stolen Goat
Comfortable
Fluffy inside
Bands rather than silicone gripper will please some
Reflective tags on the calves would be better than the rear panel, if I'm being picky

The makers of the road.cc cycling kit collection cater for all preferences, and for some cyclists 3/4 length bibs are a decent option for less severe winter weather or just to pair with extra long thermal socks and warmers. Our reviewer praised the Orkaan bibs for being incredibly warm and weather resistant, with a snug fit and enough comfort to make them suitable for rides of any lenght.  

The Tempest fabric is reassuringly thick and fluffy inside, with a Roubaix lining to keep you warm. The material is also wind and water-resistant, which makes them an impressive barrier to the elements. The Orkaan bibs are not exactly fancy and do what they say on the tin, but the fit is great, the chamois is comfortable and the material is great for their intended temperature range.

Read our review:

Honourable mention: Le Col Pro Thermal Bib Shorts II

Le Col Pro Thermal Bib Shorts II

Le Col Pro Thermal Bib Shorts II

9
Great alternative to bib tights
Buy now for £195 from Le Col
Comfortable
Soft fabric
Weighty feel
Very cosy
Breathable

If layering up is your thing and bib tights can maybe feel a little on the claustrophobic side then a great option to consider instead is wearing bib shorts rather than the long variety above.

A fantastic option with regards to bib shorts to wear in the winter or during colder climates are the Le Col Pro Thermal Bib Shorts II, which replace our very highly reviewed Pro Blackout Therma bib shorts. These great brushed fleece inner lined shorts, paired with a set of leg warmers, offer a comfortable, and still warm, alternative to bib tights. 

A solid set of leg warmers to couple with these fantastic shorts from Le Col can be found from brands such as Assos or for a smaller budget still looking for brilliant quality, Endura.

Read our review of the previous version:

How to choose the best winter bib tights

faq-icon
What are winter bib tights?

It's fairly self-explanatory what cycling bib tights are, but essentially you have a long-legged garment with straps (or 'bibs') that go over your shoulders to keep them in place. You can get tights and shorts without the bibs but in our book, straps are best. In colder weather a gap between your top and bottoms isn't going to help keep you warm, and there are potential modesty implications too if your shorts don't fit perfectly! 

Focussing specifically on winter bib tights (which make up a large part of the market) these are obviously aimed at keeping you warm and dry. They're made of heavier materials, often with thermal properties, in comparison to normal tights made for fairer weather.

A winter bib also usually features technical fabrics such as DWR water repellent coatings and thermal qualities. This helps them to perform in bad weather conditions and colder climates. The fabric is also thicker which helps to keep you warm and comfortable. 

Additionally, winter bib tights will also often have other features to battle the winter elements, such as windproof panelling in order to keep the wind chill from zapping the enjoyment out of your winter riding and training. 

faq-icon
What are the warmest cycling tights?

The warmest cycling tights will be those that have thermal qualities and windproof panelling to ensure your body heat stays in, and the cold keeps out. Moreover, water repellent materials can also offer excellent protection against the elements, as keeping dry will also go a long way in keeping you warm. The same can be said with riding in snow or sleet: once you get wet it's hard to warm up, therefore bib tights with water repellent or waterproof qualities are always a great feature to look out for when seeking the warmest bib tights for cycling. 

Additionally, bib tights that are also well fitted, being tight and not baggy is also an important aspect when looking to get the most out of your bib tights with regards to warmth. This is because you will want your bib tights to be more like an extra layer of skin, you need to be able to move around in them freely but they would be tight to your skin in order to keep in warmth. Just as you'd wear a base layer. 

faq-icon
Can you wear bib shorts in winter?

Wearing bib shorts in winter is an alternative to wearing bib tights if you feel uncomfortable or claustrophobic while wearing bibs. Paired with a set of the best leg warmers, bib shorts can be a comfortable and warm option. A great pick for winter shorts would be the Le Col Pro Blackout Therma bib shorts, they offer thermal protection and comfort even in the coldest of conditions.

Hence these bib shorts from Le Col made it onto our list as an honourable mention: in general bib shorts can be a little colder but these really do keep you nice and toasty during the colder months. 

faq-icon
What temperature do you wear bib tights?

The temperature in which bib tights should be worn really depends on a couple of things. First and foremost, are you cold? If you find that you get cold pretty easily while out on the bike then it's a good idea to air on the side of caution and be a little too hot rather than a little too cold. Another factor to consider is the type of riding you are doing: for slower miles you may need to wear more in comparison to days where you are doing short and higher intensity style riding. But overall it's personal preference. 

But, in general a common unwritten rule is to cover your legs (either with leg warmers or bib tights) when temperatures drop under 17°C. This is to ensure your muscles keep protected and warm. However, as previously mentioned, it is personal preference. But full-blown winter bib tights are more suited to temperatures 10°C and under: especially if it's raining and the thus the temperature seems a little lower than it actually is.

Additionally, if being covered while riding is something you feel you need to do in order to keep to your religious practices, then a great option is to wear lighter bib tights or summer shorts with leg warmers. This way you can keep cool in the summer months, even when the temperatures are well into the double figures. 

faq-icon
How do you wear cycling bib tights?

The best way to wear cycling bib tights first and foremost is without underwear. Yep, wear those bib tights like it's one big nappy. Although I appreciate this may be a little odd if you are new into cycling, this way of wearing them really helps to improve overall comfort as well as helps you to get the most out of your chamois (pad) which is designed for your skin / undercarriage to sit directly on without any other fabrics in between.

Also, ensuring you have the correct fitting bib tights will also make a big difference in terms of how you are meant to wear them. This is because baggy or loose-fitting bib tights won't be as effective, nor as efficient at keeping your heat in, which is a vital part of winter riding. Therefore, a nice snug fit which allows movement is the best fit and way to wear your bib tights.

It's important to note that the straps of the bib shorts should also be comfortable for you. They shouldn't dig in and cause discomfort but nor should they be baggy and not holding your bibs in place securely. You should feel supported and comfortable with them over your shoulders without any issues. 

Having learnt to ride a bike in order to race age 4, Charlotte is no stranger to life on two wheels. Racing across multiple disciplines over the years, she now focuses her time on road racing. Racing at the UCI continental level with her British based team. Not only that, but Charlotte has many years experience working within the cycling industry alongside her racing endeavours. Therefore, it’s fair to say that anything with two wheels is right up her street.