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In drizzly, damp conditions, Madison's Sportive Oslo DWR Women's three-quarter-length bib tights are just the job. When it's not wet enough to warrant waterproof overtrousers, but you really, really don't fancy just putting regular Lycra between you and the mizzle – these fend off showers and spray and keep you comfortable and warm.
Water beads off the DWR (durable water repellent) fabric, and for short rides or commutes of less than an hour in not too Biblical weather you should get home to Soggy Bottom without too soggy a bottom. (Or legs.)
They're ideal for much of the weather we've had for autumn, and should be great for spring. That said, they've continued into an unseasonably warm December too, and a pair of leg warmers/thick socks underneath on colder days could keep them going well into winter, if it ever arrives.
In persistent heavy rain they do wet out eventually, but for shorter, showery rides they're ideal. After a morning commute in a light shower, for example, not only will you arrive fairly dry, you'll appreciate them at the end of the day, too, when you pull on a pair of tights that aren't soaking wet on the inside for the ride home.
The soft, fleecy Roubaix fabric inner is very cosy, and all the seams are flatlock stitched for comfort. There were a couple of extra lengths of thread poking out, but I only saw them and didn't feel them. The pad is perfectly comfortable too, with well-positioned cushioning for your sit bones.
As you can see from the photos, the bib is almost vest-like, coming up very high at the front and back and providing an extra layer against the cold. It's all quite stretchy, so no problem hoiking the straps up over your shoulders getting in and out.
Incorporated into the front and over the shoulders/top of the back are areas of mesh for ventilation, which seem to do the job, though this isn't the most windproof of garments anyway. Being three-quarters, it isn't really designed for depth-of-winter rides.
My only minor gripe was with the gripper on the legs, which I found overly tight. For my leg length/the bib tights' length, I would have preferred the gripper to sit slightly higher up my calf, but it was uncomfortable. On the bike it wasn't a problem, but off the bike it felt like the gripper was pulling the tights down.
Going down a size would have made the tights tighter (I'm a 10-12/medium and the size 12s on test were slightly generous), but then I think they'd be fighting even more against the too-tight gripper.
So on the bike you might not get a soggy bottom, but walk around in them and you might get a saggy bottom. I did anyway.
Very useful legwear for those showery days that don't warrant full-on waterproofs
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Madison Sportive Oslo DWR women's 3/4 bib shorts
Size tested: Size 12, 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?
Madison says: "Perfect for the cooler or damp ride, the Sportive Oslo 3/4 bib shorts keep the chill out without overheating
"Close fitting Italian thermal roubaix Lycra backed with a micro fleece lining is perfect for the late Autumn and early Spring rides"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Madison lists these features:
A durable water repellent coating helps the fabric bead off the rain keeping you dryer for longer
The multi-panel design is pre curved for superb comfort in the riding position
Custom Madison 4G-RACE gel chamois pad with anti-bacterial fabric help keep you comfortable
Reflective details on the legs and rear yoke give low light visibility
Soft Italian mesh panels over the shoulders and on the back vent the body's hot spots
Lightweight Lycra panels on the chest and back avoid any irritation
Elasticated bands with silicone grippers fit snug around the calf to keep them firmly in place
Flatlock stitched to prevent chaffing and discomfort
Limited lifetime warranty
A few thread ends poking out, but didn't affect comfort.
Very useful protection on showery days.
Water repellency still seems to be working after half a dozen washing machine cycles.
The leg grippers were a bit too tight for where I wanted them to sit on my legs, and it felt like they were pulling the tights down when off the bike. This wasn't a problem on the bike, though. The rest of the bibs was nice and stretchy for easy dressing, though I could have got away with a smaller size for a tighter fit.
They felt a little loose while cycling, and I could probably have got away with a smaller size, but then the overtight grippers might have been more of an issue.
Grippers a little too tight for my (not massive) calves.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems. Dries quite quickly.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well. There are many days when it's too wet for just regular Lycra, but not wet enough for waterproofs - these were ideal.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Too tight grippers, and slightly loose fit.
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
A very good option for showery rides, and if my body shape/leg length suited the size 12 better I'd like them even more. Stretchier leg grippers would definitely help.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She joined road.cc in 2015 but first began working on bike magazines way back in 1991 as production editor on Mountain Biking UK, then deputy editor of MTB Pro, before changing allegiance to road cycling as senior production editor on Cycling Plus. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.