Rivelo's Women's Monsal Bib Tights have a bit of an odd fit for me – perfect leg length but a slightly restrictive (and not very stretchy) bib section. If they fit you, though – and you get on with the slightly-hard-for-my-liking pad – they're really good.
That might sound like too many provisos already, but they're pretty personal issues. If these fit, there's little to dislike. In fact there's a lot to like.
Top of my list – bottom of the garment: there are ankle zips to help you pull them on – not something I'm overly fussed about, to be honest – but what I really like is that they're covered with soft baffles so they don't rub against your leg (not that you can see them in the photo – but they're there!). No other tights with ankle zips in my collection have this much-appreciated touch.
They're very cosy too, with a lovely soft Thermo Roubaix fabric, and flatlocked seams throughout. They've kept chills out and also have DWR (durable water repellent) panels; I'm not absolutely sure how you assess their water-resistance while riding, but on a couple of showery rides – some heavy enough to bring out the rain shell – my legs stayed warm enough, and nothing felt too soggy (apart from my feet). A quick update since writing that... after one morning's ride into work (about six miles) in pouring rain my knees were damp, and you could see the moisture on the inside of the leg at the knee, but the rest of me/the leg was dry.
As temperatures have risen the tights haven't become too warm, and strike me as a good weight that'll see you through to shorts weather. On a low-teens weekend ride (with showers) they were great.
Where they're not so great – for me anyway (and another tester who tried them) – is in the slightly restrictive fit of the bib section, and longer-ride pad comfort.
I'm slap bang in the middle of medium according to the size guide (and have a medium Rivelo baselayer, which is marginally too big – the one I'm wearing in the pics). Just a little extra stretch in the straps would sort it, so it's a bit of a shame. They're tight to get on, and I could occasionally feel the straps digging into my shoulders – particularly when sitting up and trying to get as much oxygen in while climbing. (And Rivelo actually recommends sizing down if you want a more 'compressive' fit…)
Also, though I was perfectly fine on a three-hour-plus ride, pad-wise, I could feel some soreness building and wouldn't have been keen to carry on for much longer. The sections under the sit bones are quite hard and not particularly wide. It's all very neatly finished though – all flatlock stitched, with varying densities, no rough edges at all; just a little hard for my liking.
Overall, I'd say they're a very well made pair of tights that suit rides on changeable days, and if the pad and bib section suit you they're well worth a look. Value-wise, £130 isn't small change, but they do seem very good quality with good attention to detail – and if you buy at the right time you might find them half price...
Very good quality, but a little more stretch and a softer pad would suit this tester better
road.cc test report
Make and model: Rivelo Women's Monsal Bib Tights
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?
Rivelo says: "female specific premium winter cycling bib tights, made to support you through the longest, coldest winter rides. anatomically cut for comfort & performance whilst on the bike and using Italian Thermo Roubaix thermal fabric with strategically placed DWR panels. these bib tights have been designed, tried and tested by female cyclists, so you can just focus on the ride ahead no matter what the weather."
My only issues are with the bib fit and the pad – both of which are quite personal. Very well made with nice touches.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Italian MITI Thermo Roubaix Thermal fabric, with DWR (durable water repellent) leg & seat panels to keep you warm and dry, even in the
coldest or wettest weather
female specific high density chamois pad, covered with Oeko-Tex certified antibacterial stretch fabric – suitable for any length of ride
upper leg and seat pad DWR panels for wet weather protection
ergonomic panel construction gives the perfect fit whilst in the riding position
breathable mesh brace section, with YKK zip front, for support whilst riding and easy 'on & off'
reflective visibility details
long, accessible cuff zips with reflective detailing
soft flat locked stitching on all seams for comfort
soft silicone Rivelo gripper at cuffs for a secure fit
no scratchy labels – care label is made from a soft fabric and sewn flat
This fabric is not compressive, so if you are between sizes you may wish to size down
Soft zip covers on the legs are a nice touch. Very neat stitching throughout.
Generally warm and comfortable, with useful rain resistance, though a slightly restrictive fit in the top half is noticeable at times. I found the pad comfortable for rides of up to three hours or so, but wouldn't want to spend much longer in them. Another tester who tried them commented that she didn't find the pad that comfy – but it's a very personal matter.
They seem really well made, and no signs of anything giving way. A little patch on the leg looks like it's been 'Velcro'd' in the wash, so be more careful than I have and they should be fine.
They're quite long in the leg, but short in the torso – and the bib straps aren't particularly stretchy. Once you're in the riding position it's less noticeable, though I did feel slightly 'compressed' when sitting up and climbing.
I usually wear a medium, and these were a medium. Though see my 'fit' comments above.
They feel like a good weight for keeping you warm on cool rides.
Bar the slightly restrictive feel, they're comfortable for at least three hours in the saddle. The Thermo Roubaix fabric on the inside is cosy, and I love that they have soft baffles to protect your skin from the leg zippers – something definitely missing from other cycling tights I've worn.
You can pay a lot more than £130 for a good pair of cycling tights, but you can also pay a lot less. Rivelo products are sold through SportPursuit.com, where you'll often find big discounts, and currently these are a very appealing £59.99.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy – but keep them away from Velcro...
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They've kept me warm, even in showers where the DWR panels have repelled rain, and pretty comfortable, though I'm not completely bowled over because of the slightly restrictive fit and a pad that isn't as comfy as some I've worn.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The zip covers on the legs – a nice touch that too many others omit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The bib section isn't stretchy enough, and feels quite restrictive.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe at sale price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – if they were happy with the fit.
Use this box to explain your score
I think 7 is fair for these. Pad comfort and fit are pretty personal, so I can't really mark these down on that, except that for the leg length the bib section does seem a bit short; a little more stretchiness in the straps would sort it. Otherwise, they're really good. And I love the leg zips being covered.
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's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.