The Sugoi RS Firewall Bib tights are the company's top of the range winter leggings. In keeping with that they give a good impression of quality when you first take a look at them. It's easy to see a range of fabrics in the construction, multiple panels, plus an impressive looking pad and even the zips look like they're quality items that should last well.
Like many top of the range bib tights now, they do feature a pad built in. If you're looking for a bib tight without a pad, look away now. Perhaps one of the key reasons many manufacturers like Sugoi are making top end tights with pads, is that they can ensure you have the fit and the positioning of the pad for optimum performance out on the road.
In practice this does have the benefit of making winter clothing choices simpler (one less thing to decide) but it also makes for more laundry.
Another feature of the RS Firewall tights that also seems less common these days is the foot straps that come with scissor marks on them to let you know you can cut them off. I've lamented for a number of years that fewer and fewer bib tights have these, so I've not cut them off and I'm not planning to. It's a good feature that helps you make sure you've got the legs at the right length. The RS Firewalls also have leg grippers at the bottom of each leg, which also helps you keep them the right place.
The size I've been testing is a medium which was a decent if slightly looser fit than some other brands. Keep this in mind when you're considering these tights. Ideally try them on in store if you can. The medium was a touch looser than I'd have liked and this may have impacted some of my findings out on the road.
The timing of the RS Firewall arriving for testing has been perfect. Temperatures have been dropping and winter winds have arrived, along with some rain and even some hail. During the testing I've had a good chance to try these bib tights right down to 1 degree Celsius.
Sugoi describe the RS Firewall as having a Firewall 260 main body construction for wind protection and thermal insulation, with added durable water repellent coating in strategic areas and a seamless front panel. You can see the warmer windproof material down the front of the legs in a multi-panel pattern, and there is what appears to be more breathable Roubaix fabric on the rear and inside of the legs.
On one of my first rides there were rain showers with occasional hail and it was possible to see the DWR treatment helping the water to bead on the front of the thighs as I rode. However it didn't take too long for the rain to turn to a dampness on the front of my thighs, cooling them down as I rode.
On colder rides, I found that the fronts of my thighs were protected well from the wind thanks to the Firewall 260 fabric. However this finished at the seam along the inside of the thighs and this transition definitely let cool air through compared to the very best winter tights.
If you run hot, as some riders do, the RS Firewall tights could work very well for you. The protection on the front of the legs is very effective and the more permeable inner thighs and rear of the tights could allow you to regulate your temperature as during our testing they didn't completely block out the cold.
The Sugoi Formula FX chamois is multi-density and has a range of technologies to help keep you comfortable while maximising your freedom of movement. It's a pad that looks like it should do a great job with lots of contours shaping and padding. On the bike for what's quite a thick pad, it has a comfort level on the firm side of soft.
The price of the RS Firewall tights puts them in a very competitive segment of the market, a little below the top end but expensive enough to have some strong competition. Where they do very well is in terms of construction. They feel like a quality product and seem very well made.
Where they struggle a little against the very best is in keeping all of the wind out when it's really cold. Granted the fact that the fit was a touch looser than I'd have expected in a medium may have influenced things but I was a bit disappointed at the cold weather performance for what is billed as the top of the range from Sugoi for the coldest conditions. The wind proofing on the front of the thighs works well, it was on the inner thighs at the seams where the fabric changed that it let in cooler air.
As we said earlier, if you run hot and would like wind resistant fabric on the front of your legs but not too much these could be perfect for you. If you want maximum protection from the elements, these may not be the tights for you.
Well made, feature rich bib tights that don't block the wind as well as the very warmest
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Make and model: Sugoi RS Firewall 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?
Sugoi say these are their best winter tights for cold weather outdoor performance
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Firewall 260 main body construction for wind protection and thermal insulation
Subzero DWR construction in strategic areas for improved ergonomics
Seamless front panel for comfortable performance fit
Stirrups at the ankle opening, can be removed depending on rider preference
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These are good tights. Well made and well featured but they don't quite deliver when it gets really cold which doesn't match Sugoi's claim
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good attention to detail in the construction, quality materials and a feature list that reads well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The sizing was a touch more generous in a medium than some other brands but I was most disappointed in having more cold air get through than I would have expected in a "wind proof" tight design
Did you enjoy using the product? When it was warmer, yes.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The Sugoi RS Firewall tights are quality, well-made bib tights with some excellent features that ultimately suffer from slightly large sizing, less wind proofing than the best and a pad on the firm side of medium. With a few tweaks to the design these could jump up towards the best on the market. As it stands they don't quite make it to the top tier.
Age: 46 Height: 180cm Weight: 68kg
I usually ride: Stoemper Taylör My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: sportives, general fitness riding, Social, Family and whatever I get talked into