The PRR Ponente Bib Tights from Alé show why sometimes it's best to keep things simple and just do it well. What Alé has created is a great fitting, warm pair of bib tights that are so comfortable they have become one of my favourite pairs.
The fabric is a polyester (85%) and elastane (15%) combination that moves with you as you ride, without being overly compressive. It's a great mix as you don't get any uncomfortable bunching of the material behind the knees at any point in the pedal stroke, even though the legs aren't 'pre-shaped' like some more expensive competitors.
The material is fleece backed and it's this that provides the warmth; the Ponentes are good down to low single figures, though I'd want something a little thicker for those days when it reaches freezing and below.
With regards to the bib section, they use a thinner fabric, but it's also fleece-backed which helps both in terms of temperature and also comfort, feeling soft against the skin. I'm long in the torso so it was good to see the straps offer plenty of give without digging into the shoulders; you barely notice you're wearing straps.
The Ponentes have ankle zips to help with getting them on and off, and I'll admit I'm not a fan, for a couple of reasons. Because of the size of my calves I always seem to struggle to get them to fully close, and I had this issue with the Alés. They slowly undid, with the ends flaring out close to the chainrings. Also, when you wear overshoes that also have rear zips you can get some rubbing of the two on your Achilles tendon.
Even though the zips kept coming undone, the legs didn't ride up, highlighting how good the close-fitting PRR Performance design is.
A chamois pad's design can make or break a decent pair of bib tights, and thankfully here it's the former. On the face of it the Alé '4H' pad isn't really that technical. It uses high density (90kg/m2 if you're interested) padding around the ischiadic and perineal zones that is basically laid out in a saddle shape with a section of thinner padding right in the centre to relieve pressure. The rest of the padding is pretty minimal, with no channels or any such wizardry.
What it is, is very comfortable indeed. Thick enough to soak up the bumps on an 80-mile ride, while being thin and firm enough not to allow any bunching or movement when you are in the saddle.
Overall the Ponentes are a great pair of bib tights that offer comfort, warmth and an excellent fit at a reasonable price. The overall quality of the stitching and materials makes them worth the £115 RRP, and the fact that they are made in Italy will always add a bit of a premium.
Lovely bib tights that keep things simple but perform well in chilly conditions
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Alé PRR Ponente Bibtight
Size tested: 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?
Paligap says: "Here Alè offers its high end line, the CLIMA PROTECTION and PRR collection. Meant for the real cycling enthusiasts, for those that race and ride at granfondo events, training through even the worst of the winter months. An extremely technical line, highly technological and using innovative materials to offer the finest fit, feel, comfort and warmth."
The fit and feel suggest they're intended for the more serious cyclist, with a slim and narrow cut.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Thermal fleece fabric
Alé '4H' chamois
Printed panels in the legs and in the back panel
Security Reflex seams in the bottom leg
Well made and a real feel of quality to the stitching and zips.
They feel lightweight for winter tights though they still manage to keep you warm down to around the freezing mark. The fit means they are comfortable in the saddle for hours.
Material and stitching seem robust so far.
Surprisingly light and thin for such a warm pair of tights.
The pad is quite simplistic in its design compared with a lot of others on the market, and provides an awful lot of comfort without any sign of bunching.
You get what you pay for.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very comfortable bib tights to wear for any length of time, and warm too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The comfortable pad.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The ankle zips won't stay done up.
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 brilliant pair of bib tights that are perfect for the typical temperatures found in autumn/spring and a mild winter. The quality is great and exactly what you would expect for £115.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Mason Definition
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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!