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Orkaan is Stolen Goat's range of performance weather-resistant riding gear, which includes these bibtights plus an aero short-sleeve jersey, arm-warmers and a skull-cap. The tights are made from Thermodream fabric with a water resistant treatment; it's windproof and fleecy on the inside to help keep you warm. Stolen Goat also makes use of a fabric called Pixel 100 to provide reflective panels - a large one on the rear and one on the outside of each calf.
It's clever stuff, this Pixel fabric, as in daylight it doesn't really look like conventional reflective material and it's highly breathable, but car headlights light it up brilliantly at night time. Unlike some stuck-on reflective details, it won't ever peel off, which is a bonus. Incidentally, the same stuff is used in the Pactimo tights that we reviewed recently, but it's not the same as the Pixel shell material used in the Sugoi Zap jacket.
Construction quality is high, with most of the seams flatlocked, although surprisingly not those around the knee. I was initially a little dubious about the design here as there are seams immediately above and below the knee and I generally reckon that this is an area where such things should be kept to a minimum to avoid irritation. However it didn't give me any trouble when riding so I needn't have worried.
The pad is a good one, from Bioracer's Smooth range. It's the first of theirs I've used and I was pretty impressed. Positioning and thickness seem just right and it remains comfortable for long rides. There are unusually large perforations through the pad designed to ensure decent ventilation and help move sweat away from the skin. I find this really contributes to my skin remaining comfortable, although it's arguably more of a benefit in the warmer months when you sweat more.
The top half is made of the same fleece-lined material, rather than mesh, a fairly common approach for winter bibs. It's comfortable against the skin but less elastic in the vertical direction than a typical mesh, so this is an area where you need to get the sizing right. The large size tested was fine for me but I certainly wouldn't have fitted in anything smaller and could possibly have gone up to an XL. Stolen Goat are a mail-order-only company so there's not much chance to try things on, but reports are that their customer service is excellent so exchanges shouldn't be a problem if you have the wrong size. They offer male and female versions of these bibs too, which we're always pleased to see.
The fit is excellent, comfortable and figure hugging with no baggy areas of fabric when you're riding. The legs are anatomically cut to suit your position on the bike and the Thermodream fabric is supportive with a medium compression. Around the stomach the cut is a fairly standard one, without the higher coverage that you sometimes see in bib tights. I prefer it like this as I'm happy to layer up on the top to keep my torso warm; in my view this isn't the job of my tights. Some people (like our Stu Kerton) prefer higher coverage to provide some additional belly warmth but I'm not one of them as I really don't having a zip on the front.
Another opinion divider is the use of stirrups to keep the legs in place. Some cyclists like them for how they keep the legs in place while others find they can be uncomfortable (and object to how they prevent you tucking your overshoes inside the legs of the tights in the optimistic hope of avoiding wet feet). I generally just don't think they're really necessary, but the ones here are entirely unbothersome, being made of laser-cut seamless fabric. Normally it's the seams that make stirrups uncomfortable inside your shoes and you simply don't notice these ones.
How effective are these tights in protecting you from the worst that the winter can throw at you? Well, they do a pretty decent job actually. The Thermodream material is warm enough for rides down to about zero degrees; only on mornings where it was well sub-zero did I find myself wanting the extra protection you get with something like the (more expensive) Castelli Sorpasso Wind or Rapha's Deep Winter tights.
Rain protection is about on a par with the usual suspects (Sportful No-rain, Giordana G-shield, Castelli Nanoflex and so on), which is to say there's some protection but you don't stay completely dry for that long. It's not the same material as is used in the Orkaan race jersey which we're also reviewing - that uses a lighter weight but more waterproof fabric. Some other water-resistant tights have a lot fewer seams, which is certainly a good approach as far as keeping the rain on the outside is concerned. Here, moderate road spray and showers generally stay on the outside, but heavier or more persistent rain will make its way through after a while. Even when it has, though, if you're going at a reasonable pace you'll stay warm and pretty comfortable, and I found that if you're riding through showers, they'd start to dry out pretty quickly once the rain stops.
We mentioned the reflectives already but it's worth revisiting. As you can see in the pictures, the large section of Pixel fabric on the rear is pretty effective (and low enough to be visible below your jersey), and I'm particularly pleased to see the reflective sections on the outside of the legs - the red and grey panels below the knee. At night-time, decent lights front and rear are a must anyway, so often it's from the side that a cyclist can be least visible.
Otherwise the styling is restrained. It's a company philosophy at Stolen Goat that branding should be discreet, so here there's just a small logo in the corner of the rear reflective panel. There is a green-panelled version as well, although currently only available in men's sizing.
And the name? It's the Dutch word for hurricane.
In summary then, Stolen Goat are on the money here with well-featured winter tights that combine decent weather protection with really excellent visibility. The fairly high seam-count limits the protection from rain, mind. Pricing is broadly in line with other quality water-resistant tights with the added bonus of class-leading night-time visibility.
Well-featured winter tights that combine decent weather protection with really excellent visibility
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Make and model: stolen goat Orkaan Race Tech Winter Bib Tights
Size tested: Large
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?
Introducing the stolen goat Orkaan Winter Bib Tights for men & women. These ultra high performing winter bib tights have everything you could need or want to ride at your optimum all year long.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Constructed using Thermodream – a breathable water repellent fabric with an additional wind proof layer – the Orkaan winter bib tights will protect you against whatever nature throws at you. With a thermal fleece lining you'll be warm and dry and with a premium smooth chamois pad you'll be able to ride in pure comfort all day long.
Pixel 100 fabric features in the rear and side panels to give you reflectivity and hence additional safety in low light conditions. These tights are perfect for when temperatures creep below 8 degrees and even below freezing.
The legs have multi panels and the fabric is stretchy and supportive giving you a sensationally comfortable but high performing fit so you can focus on your training & racing. Ankle straps keep the legs perfectly in place.
The usual Bioracer quality.
Keeps you warm and dry through most of what the winter's going to throw at you. They're no match for heavy rain, but then neither are any of their competitors that I've yet tried.
Stolen Goat tell us that the water-resistance is as a result of fibres woven into the fabric rather than a subsequent DWR-style treatment, and that it shouldn't wear off.
Excellent pad and soft fleecy lining.
Stolen Goat's Bodyline jersey was one of my picks of 2014 for quality that defied its price point. These are more in line with what other brands charge for similar tights; not an out-and-out bargain, but a fair price for a good product.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Weather protection and other-traffic protection combined; male- and female-specific versions available.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Stretchier bib straps would allow for a wider range of body shapes. More seams than some other water-resistant tights means less protection from the wet.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute My best bike is: Rose Xeon CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.