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Morvélo's range of women's clothing has gone from strength to strength over recent years, with direct input from a variety of female riders and strong feedback via sponsorship. Favoured by cyclo-cross riders in particular, the Morvélo Women's Stealth Stormshield Bib Tights promise a lot in terms of weatherproofing and cold conditions comfort and, while definitely sitting within the upper echelons of price, they do indeed deliver.
Designed with the worst of winter weather in mind, and northern European conditions in particular, these bib tights are not only thermal, but are also water repellent and windproof. The MITI SuperRoubaix fabric is used alone where wind resistance and water repellency is less important than breathability, while panels at the fronts of the legs and the lumbar area use a tougher water and wind-resistant finish to give extra protection from the elements.
During wet weather, they shed water well and for protracted periods, but I found that in less severe conditions they have a tendency to result in slightly clammy legs, because of the reduced breathability of those windproof and water-repellent sections. This is less of a problem in really cold temperatures or wet conditions but in the very changeable and slightly warmer weather we've experienced in the UK this year, I'd have been inclined to choose tights without the enhanced weatherproofing. Cyclo-cross riders would almost certainly disagree...
On the bike, they have a good amount of stretch and no real feeling of constriction, despite the tougher, less stretchy nature of the windproof sections. There is still plenty of freedom of movement. That said, some tugging on the fabric was required to get the tights to sit where required, which became increasingly difficult as perspiration came into play during a ride.
Sizing is about standard for women's cycling kit, with the large I tried being roughly equivalent to a UK14. There is a good amount of length in the leg, although taller women may find them a little on the short side, particularly if coupled with sturdier legs. It's a sort of either/or situation, allowing for stocky legs OR longer than average legs rather than both at the same time. There are reflective strips on the calves.
Body length is good. The complex multi-panel design of the tights – with foot loops to help secure the legs – is paired up with a super-stretchy mesh between-the-breasts style bib section. This isn't unduly intrusive, and the 'between' design does make allowances for all sizes of bust. The fit overall is comfortable and pliable.
The foot stirrups aren't too intrusive, and keep the legs well secured. They also work well with winter riding boots or overshoes, although they do add a little to sock bulk so might be better for those who tend to size up for winter footwear.
The Italian Dolomiti female-specific pad uses two layers of high density memory foam to give shock absorption and pressure relief, while perforations also allow for ventilation and moisture management. It is exceptionally comfortable, for all lengths of ride.
All in all, these are comfortable and effective tights, great for super-bad classic northern European winter weather. The quality of the design and material – these are handmade in Europe from Italian fabrics – and the levels of comfort and performance easily account for the high price tag (although they're reduced to £86.25 at the time of writing). Ultimately, it's a case of assessing whether these are higher performance tights than you actually need, or whether the extra weatherproofing and high-end quality matches your riding needs, making them worth the investment.
Top notch performance and quality but probably overspecced for all but the most hardcore of winter riders
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Morvelo Womens Stealth Stormshield Bib Tights
Size tested: Large, 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?
Morvelo says: "Morvelo's Women's Thermoactive Stormshield Bib Tights are an essential winter kit choice if you're riding in bad weather. The Miti SuperRoubaix fleece backed lycra is thermal, water repellent and windproof for ultimate comfort"
Aimed at demanding female riders who want to ride whatever the weather with good performance.
Absolutely spot on.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Thermal x Water Repellent x Windproof
Miti SuperRoubaix fleece backed lycra
StormShield Water Repellence
Italian Dolomiti dual layer chamois
Brushed fleece-back straps for maximum insulation
Flat lock stitching
Heat seal label
Panelled construction for superior fit
Pedal Panel behind the knee removes the central rear seam for pedalling efficiency
Rubberised Morvelo seam tabs
Handmade in Europe from Italian fabrics
Superb quality fabrics and flawless finish.
Ideally suited to foul weather and cold conditions. A little clammy when temperatures are warmer than expected.
Very good quality materials.
Well cut and fit comfortably, but best suited to one or the other of longer than average legs or chunkier than average rather than both at once, as fabric in legs can be a touch unforgiving.
About standard for cycling sizing vs "real life" sizing.
Very light for the level of protection.
Very comfortable, particularly the chamois. Windproofing resulted in some clamminess in drier, less cold conditions.
Great value if you're a hardcore rider who rides in ALL weather conditions and therefore needs this level of protection and quality. Probably overspecced for a lot of riders though, me included. Currently reduced to £86.25.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very. Washed well at 30. Occasional washing with a technical re-proofing product is a good idea to maintain the water repellency.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Cut, fabric quality, comfort – particularly the chamois.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Slight clamminess in legs in less cold conditions, cost.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely – if I was more committed to foul-weather riding and/or cyclo-cross.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if she was hardcore or rich.
Use this box to explain your score
Extremely high specced tights and very well performing but probably more than most mere mortals require, considering the price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.