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Verdict: 
Superb bad weather protection but slightly restrictive fit
Weight: 
466g

Cold legs? With these Pearl Izumi Elite AmFib Cyc Bib Tights, cold legs are a thing of the past. I've been able to tackle sub-zero morning rides with a hefty dose of windchill with no problems, in fact they're the warmest cycling tights I've ever tested.

The Pearl Izumi Elite AmFib Cyc Bib Tights manage this impressive warmth by using a combination of the company's own Elite Softshell and Elite Thermal Fleece fabrics. The softshell fabric is used in key areas (seat and front of legs) to provide wind and water resistance, and the Thermal Fleece is used everywhere else for insulation, and more breathability.

The fabric is bulky, but used strategically with shaped panels and pre-curved legs to enhance the fit. Getting them on is a bit of an effort, but once on the tights conform to the legs nicely, and the size and fit is good. However, the lack of stretch in the softshell fabric produces quite a bit of restriction. It soon fades away as the miles pass under the tyres, but they're not as immediately comfortable as regular Lycra tights.

The upside however is that they're stupendously good in bad weather. The two fabrics provide unparalleled warmth. They stop the wind from causing a chill, and rains just beads off the surface. You can be out for hours in sub-zero temperatures in these and be quite happy.

When you want the absolute best protection from the wind and rain, few tights are as good. The only others that come to mind are Rapha's Pro Team Winter Tights, which offer a better fit but are a lot more costly.

There are some nice details. At the legs is an internal Lycra stirrup, and over it the softshell forms a 'gasket', as Pearl Izumi calls it, that covers the top of your overshoes. This prevents water running down the front of the legs into overshoes. It works really well.

Another interesting detail is the flap of material that covers the midriff, there to provide easy comfort breaks. Odd to look at, but works well. An elegantly simple solution to taking a mid-ride pee stop.

The bib straps are comfortable over the shoulders and there's a large panel of fabric at the back to provide a bit more warmth. Reflective details are scattered liberally over the tights as well, helping you to stand out in the dark or low light.

Inside the tights is a padded Elite 3D Chamois insert that cossets you in the saddle and provides good long distance comfort. That's a good thing because the tights are so warm you can easily stay out all day in even freezing temperatures without having to cut a ride short because it's just too cold.

Are there any downsides? Apart from the slightly restrictive fit, the fact they provide such high levels of warmth and bad weather protection means you're all out of excuses if you don't like the look of the weather. You can ride through anything in these.


These are highly impressive bib tights providing exceptional bad weather protection, and if you want to ride in the most horrid elements, the Pearl Izumi Elite AmFib Cyc Bib Tights are unbeatable. The only compromise is the freedom of movement, which does take a hit in the pursuit of extreme weather protection.

Verdict

Superb bad weather protection but slightly restrictive fit

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Pearl Izumi Elite AmFib Cyc Bib Tight

Size tested: black, 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?

The Elite Amfib© cyc bib tight is the warmest in the Pearl Izumi range and provides the wind and water protection for the cold and wet winter rides with the comfort of the Elite 3D Chamois© and support of the bib

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

The stretchable Elite Softshell fabric provides superior wind and water protection in key exposure areas while still offering freedom of movement

The Elite Thermal Fleece fabric panels on back provide superior moisture transfer and warmth

8 inches lower leg zipper withinternal draft flap and zipper garage

Internal stirrup and gasket allow tight to be worn over shoe covers

The dense Elite 3D Chamois© offers maximum support and comfort for extended hours in the saddle thanks to a 13mm 3-layers padding and active carbon yarns to improve thermoregulation

360 degree reflectivity

Form Fit

Weather forecast: Cold and wet

Temperature rating: +/- -3 degrees

Fabrics: Body is 41% nylon 41% polyester 13 elastane 5% polyurethane, Weight: 395 g/m2 10,000mm waterproof/15,000 g/m2/24-hour breathability and Panels are 82% polyester 18% elastane

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

For riding in the cold and rain, few tights are as warm and snug.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10

Slightly bulky fit due to the chunky fabric used, but does get better the more you ride.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10

Comfortable padded insert and mostly comfortable fit, sizing is spot on with the medium tested fitting just fine.

Rate the product for value:
 
9/10

A lot of warmth and weather protection for the money.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Excellent in horrible weather, helping you to stave off the cold, rain and wind.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Impressive warmth.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Restrictive fit and restricted freedom of movement.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

These are highly impressive bib tights providing exceptional bad weather protection, and if you want to ride in the most horrid elements, the Pearl Izumi Elite AmFib Cyc Bib Tights are unbeatable. The only compromise is the freedom of movement, which does take a hit in the pursuit of extreme weather protection.

Overall rating: 8/10

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.

5 comments

Avatar
redmeat [150 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Can they be called tights if they're not, you know, tight?

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themartincox [553 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

These are awesome foul weather tights, the review is bang on about that.

I can't say I've noticed the movement issue with mine though, I find them a good fit - and the 'relief slot' is so simple it's hard to see why it's not been done before!

Avatar
billbiwer [10 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I have 2 pairs of these for my daily commute throughout the winter in Minnesota.

I absolutely love them. I've worn them down to -2F degrees by themselves and even colder by tossing on a lightweight pair of long underwear.

The material is a bit heavier I'd put it somewhere between normal tights and a lighter wetsuit. That being said I've had no issues with movement.

Avatar
flyingpitman [46 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

These are the best tights I have had.They are warm and do repel water and kept me dry after 2 hours in the rain.The gasket is a great idea and as the reviewer said works really well.The comfort stop is aslo a good idea and so simple.It's nice to be positive about kit and these are my go too ones,even better than Mork from orks tights Nano nano  3  and I like Mork

Avatar
Beaumont [13 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

It has been a few years I am asking myself how it is possible that not a single bike wear producer had the idea to have tights with some kind of overflap so that the wind and rain don´t come into my winter shoes. Honestly I just don´t get it, when it is so annoying and the solution so obvious. Great to see finally first product that has this feature. By the way, I am not looking for such a warm tights right now, does not anyone know about other tights or even better leg warmers with that kind of gasket? Thanks a lot in advance