I’ve long been a fan of ¾ length cycling legwear. For starters it’s more flattering than most shorts, which have a tendency to exaggerate flaws in all but the trimmest of thighs. Most crucially though, they are wearable almost year round.
Ground Effect’s Witches Britches are more attractive than the average plain black ¾ tights, with contrasting light blue stitching along the flat seams of their 8 panels adding a bit of interest, without being excessive. Those with a morbid fear of shiny Lycra will also love the matt black used here. There’s a reflective logo on each calf for visibility.
As with much of the kit produced by New Zealand company Ground Effect, these tights suit UK conditions really well. The slightly fuzzy thermal backed lycra they are made from is ideally suited to Spring and Autumn riding, but will happily do the job on less chilly winter days and during the worst of the average UK summer too. The density of the fabric and the amount of stretch is just right to support and gently compress muscles without ever feeling anything other than comfortable, with a side effect that they’re flattering too. They are washable at 40 degrees too, unlike many technical fabrics.
The pad is a good shape, extremely comfortable in use, even on the longest day, and unobtrusive. The density of padding varies dependent on anatomical pressure areas, it’s fast drying and finished with an anti-bacterial treatment.
Fit wise, the sizing is spot on. Unlike many European brands, Ground Effect kit is sized for real people and true to size. A size Medium will suit a UK12 perfectly, with just the right amount of stretch to accommodate any inter-season ‘fluctuations’. The high back means there won’t be a gap between jersey and tights, while the broad waistband means they’re very comfortable to wear. Leg length will vary depending on your height obviously, but is somewhere between just past knee, and mid to lower calf, meaning they’ll suit a variety of sizes and shapes, including going up to XL. There are no leg grippers but I’ve not had any problems with them.
Ground Effect Witches Britches NZ$129 (approx £60)
A genuinely useful and well-considered pair of three season tights. Flattering, attractive and comfortable.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ground Effect Witches Britches
Size tested: WM
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?
Ground Effect is predominantly a mountain bike brand, but the majority of the kit easily makes the crossover from off to on road.
They say "Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble... genuine black magic for piloting broomsticks and fighting winter chills. Witches Britches combine 8-panel performance with below-the-knee styling and Hot Shot Lycra to keep you and your knees toasty warm."
Good for any broomstick, whether road or mountain variety, and good for a range of weather conditions and seasons.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
8 Panel construction with shaped flat seams
Thermal lycra offers warmth
Tough stretch matt fabric
Shaped, multi-density, quick drying foam chamois, with anti-bacterial treatment
No leg grippers
High back to prevent chilly gaps
Reflective logos at backs of lower leg
All seams well finished. Good quality fabric.
Does just what a pair of three season cycling tights should. Comfortable and unobtrusive.
Should last a good number of years. Good quality materials.
Just the right amount of support from the stretch lycra fabric and an excellent synthetic chamois.
Slight fluctuations in the price from exchange rates, but duty and taxes are included in the prices so no nasty surprises from the postie!
Excellent value for money for a high quality product.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well, especially in spring and autumn conditions.
Always comfortable and supportive.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
40 degree machine wash
Shape and fit
Matt black flattering and supportive lycra fabric
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Without a doubt.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Every cycling wardrobe should contain a pair of these. Or four.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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, general fitness riding, mtb,
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.