If you want a comfortable and insulating bib tight with the capacity to shrug off really wet and wild weather, these Madison Sportive Shield Softshell Men's Bib Tights With Pad do just that, and at a reasonable price. They're slightly let down by the less than perfect fit, but this didn't hamper their performance or comfort.
Madison are one of the UK's largest distributors of components and accessories. The likes of Shimano, Thule, GoPro, Park Tool and Kryptonite are all looked after by the company. Madison also produce their own extensive range of clothing, much of it has benefited from the feedback garnered from the Madison-Genesis professional cycling team.
These bib tights are constructed from a windproof softshell fabric with an Italian sourced thermal roubaix fabric. This provides the insulation, ample to see you through sub-zero rides quite happily. A DWR treatment gives added rain and road spray protection, and they'll keep you dry. They're as good as the Rapha Deep Winter tights in this regard.
The tights feature some nice details. I particularly liked the Roubaix fabric extending high up at the front, giving another layer of insulation over the chest zone. The long zipper aids getting in and out of them, and comfort breaks were no problem. Now I'm no fan of foot stirrups, but they proved to be unnoticeable when riding. There are a good handful of reflective details ticking the box for commuters and those heading out for a ride after sunset.
Fit is mostly perfect, but as you can see from the photos, they are a bit baggy around the knees. Madison say the tights have a pre-curved shape to aid the fit and avoid any restriction of movement, and during riding they certainly turned out to be very comfortable. There was no tightness anywhere in the legs; they fit comfortably despite their baggy appearance. That said, there are plenty of manufacturers producing tights with equivalent comfort without the baggy appearance, so perhaps there is room for improvement.
Inside the tights we find a custom Madison 4G-Race gel insert. It has an antibacterial treatment and was a very comfortable padded layer between bum and saddle, and showed not a hint of discomfort on any rides, long or short.
There's a lot of choice in the £99 bib tight market, and the Madison tights offered the level of performance we would expect at this price. Of particular note is their warmth for really cold weather riding, making them ideally suited to the current temperatures. Despite the baggy appearance in the photos, they are comfortable on the bike.
Warm and weatherproof tights with a comfortable padded insert, slightly let down by their baggy appearance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Madison Sportive Shield Softshell Mens Bib Tights With Pad
Size tested: medium, black
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?
The Sportive Shield bib tight is the only choice when the weather turns really sour
The dual fabric construction features a waterproof and windproof softshell fabric which is partnered with an Italian DWR thermal roubaix fabric
Plenty of pre-curved shape gives this bib tight a superb fit and all day comfort in the riding position
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Custom Madison 4G-RACE gel chamois pad with anti-bacterial fabric help keep you comfortable
Reflective details on the calves and rear yoke give low light visibility while the white reflective bands around the thigh add a touch of style
Soft Italian mesh panels on the back panel and over the shoulders vent the body's hot spots
The Italian Roubaix fabric up the chest give an extra layer of warmth for the really cold rides
Foot stirrups keep the leg firmly in place and prevent unwanted drafts around the ankles
A waist zipper make for hassle free comfort breaks
Limited lifetime warranty
Lots of choice at this £99 price, these, despite the baggy knee appearance, are a good option. They're certainly ideal for riding in the cold and rain, where they demonstrate great insulation and rain protection.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great insulation and ideal for keeping road spray at bay.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Baggy appearance at the knees, but didn't seem to deter from comfort of performance.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Really warm and weatherproof tights with good comfort for long and short rides.
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.