Bib longs and tights are an essential piece of kit for winter riding, and the Lusso NiteLife Thermal bib tights do a decent job, offering comfort, warmth and plenty of visibility.
As well as feeling good on the bike, the NiteLife bibs also include a few features that should really make a difference to your winter riding.
Their appearance is dominated by the grey panels on the lower calf and upper rear thigh. This grey fabric is reflective and catches light fantastically, even in bright daylight. This is extremely useful if, like me, you commute in the dark or do training rides in the mornings/evenings before or after work. Although not measurable, the reflective panels gave me a boost in confidence that I was more visible to other road users. And as it's a woven fabric, the reflective property isn't going to peel off – as has happened with some ageing garments in my possession that feature (or used to!) a reflective print.
It's surprising just how well these panels reflect light. The light source doesn't have to be at 90 degrees to the garment to catch the reflective elements in the fabric. Their position is well thought out, too: the calf panels not only give 360-degree coverage, crucially, they're a moving object, which helps draw attention as they follow your pedal stroke. And on top of this, the upper thigh panels give further high-level coverage.
Inside, the H4 pad is comfortable, extending well towards the inner thigh and with decent coverage from front to rear. Long training rides and short commutes have been carried out with no ill effects, despite the pad not feeling the most supple when I first took the tights out of their packaging. It's also an easy pad to walk around in, which is good when you wander into the café for your post-ride cuppa (and cake, goes without saying).
Sizing is as expected; there's a bit of give to the four-way-stretch fabric, so the bibs don't feel restrictive. The reflective panels have a different feel, not restrictive as they also offer a decent amount of movement, but different nevertheless. Leg length is also good, allowing the pad to be positioned correctly without straining the foot loops. These are my first foot loops for a while, having had issue with them on a previous pair of bib longs where they were uncomfortable, but Lusso has got them right. They're not noticeable when you've got your shoes on, and they keep the lower leg in place well.
The bib straps sit well over the chest area, with no nipple chafing thanks to the broad and softly seamed edges.
The back panel also hugs you firmly around the kidney area and extends high to the rear, while the front is high enough for decent midriff support yet low enough to make a mid-ride pee a fairly straightforward affair. There's no zip around the front, and the looped feet means no ankle zips either, so no moving parts that could end up compromising the tights' longevity.
The thermal fabric is brushed on the inside and is fairly toasty, and doesn't get overly hot if the temperature warms up to the high single figures. The warmth they retain does mean they're more suited to the lower temperatures of winter rather than late spring/early autumn, though.
Thermal bib tights with 360-degree visibility in low light levels, all-day comfort and great UK-made build quality
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Make and model: Lusso NiteLife Thermal Bib Tights
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?
Lusso doesn't offer much description about who these bib tights are aimed at, but the reflective panels and long distance pad suggest that they're designed for keeping you comfortable on long rides, and for coping with low light levels or darkness. Knowing that the reflective panels increased visibility to other traffic, I felt more confident when riding along my usual A road commute during dark morning rides.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Nitelife 360° Reflective
* 4 Way Stretch
* H4 Seat Pad
* Foot Loops
* Italian Fabrics
* Made in UK
Rate the product for quality of construction:
There's a bit of furring around the printed Lusso logo on the leg (the one on the back panel hasn't suffered the same fate), but the flat-lock seams, overlocking and construction generally is spot on if slightly chunky.
Rate the product for performance:
A warm garment – hence the thermal tab – but they disperse heat and sweat well.
Rate the product for durability:
No visible change from new after wearing them on a variety of rides, from training commutes to five-hour club rides.
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
For a thermal fabric with a brushed internal finish, weight is good.
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Foot loops can be a love/hate affair, but I found that they sat in the right place under the arch of my foot. General sizing and pad comfort is as expected. The 'Nitelife' panels do a have a slightly different feel in terms of their compression on your legs, but this is quickly forgotten about on a ride.
Rate the product for value:
Very good value at rrp, and at the time of writing, they're down to £67.99 – a bargain for the quality of garment.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Nothing to fault. The lack of zip at the front makes a mid-ride pee a slightly contorted affair, but the in-saddle comfort and reflective qualities are encouraging.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The reflective fabric, which is well positioned on the leg to draw other road users' attention.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The slight difference in feel of the reflective panel, though this wasn't restrictive and is more a minor note rather than a dislike.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Great comfort, good all-round visibility at night, great build quality.
Age: 34 Height: 183 Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Kinesis Racelight T (winter) Cervélo S2 (Summer) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking
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