Gore's Power Thermo Bib Tights are incredibly comfortable to wear, and are well suited to high tempo riding in cold – but dry – weather.
- Pros: Superb fit and comfort
- Cons: No waterproofing
With many brands coming up with new-fangled ways of integrating durable water resistance and windproofness in their (often very expensive) bib tights, but often sacrificing a level of comfort and fit in the process, it's nice to come across a set of tights that will insulate you well from the cold air without sacrificing important ride comfort.
The Power Thermo tights embody this approach, and although they're only lightly water resistant, with a heavier-duty protection over the shins and knees, the construction and shape is excellent, made as they are of a very comfortable 85/15 per cent blend of polyamide and elastane. It really stretches and moulds well around your joints, while also hugging your legs tightly without being restrictive.
It's a makeup that's been used throughout the tights, only receiving that double layering around the knees and shins to protect against windchill and spray, as well as some extra on the hindquarters for the latter purpose. It's effective up to a point, but you'd want some hardier coverage – on the thighs especially – if you were heading out into rainy conditions.
Nevertheless, if you're only concerned with a bit of splash from wet roads rather than precipitation from the sky, they'll perform brilliantly. They're designed for drier conditions, when you're more likely to be heading out on high-tempo rides and getting some serious training in. That's where the Power Thermo tights come into their own.
The flat seams are well positioned to avoid any kind of chafing, with the fabric panels placed to give a cocooned feeling around all the major muscle groups. There's no Windstopper technology here, but that does mean the legs are very breathable, and allow excess heat to escape easily when working hard.
When things get more sedate the fleece lining helps to fend off the cold enough that you never feel chilly on a ride (I found that only happens when your legs get very wet through heavy rain). It's lovely and soft, adding to the comfortable shape around your joints.
The fabric is so flexible that Gore hasn't deemed it necessary to include zips at the ankles to help get your feet in – and I can confirm that Gore is right, and the cuffs fit flush to the skin. There aren't any straps to hang over your heels either, and you don't miss them.
The comfort extends to the bib section, which is a super-stretchy, non-seamed affair. I like this kind of comfortable construction in my summer bib shorts, so it's nice to see that here too. The back section is filled in, albeit lightly, so there's that extra sense of coverage without sacrificing breathability.
The mid-section is a little generous for my taste (I have a narrow 32in waist), but it'll work nicely if you're carrying a little extra.
Gore has included a Power Plus chamois. I was impressed with its breathability and found it an optimal shape for aggressive positions on the bike. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's almost on a par with Rapha's Cytech pad used in its Pro Team bib tights in terms of comfort, but feels, if anything, a touch cooler – ideal for fast riding.
It's plush enough for longer rides too, and graded towards the edge to keep a slim profile underneath you. It doesn't look like a pillow, but for rides of up to 100km, it feels a lot like one.
The light and breathable nature of the entire makeup (our medium test pair weighed in at 277g) means the Power Thermos are still usable when the temperature hits around 12°C. By this point many will have potentially moved over to knee warmers, but you could still get away with these tights if the morning was cold, then the weather had grown milder as the day progressed.
Gore has provided reflective strips around the ankles and lower calves, along with some tasteful reflective branding on the sides of the legs and on the hindquarters. You can have them in full black as I did, or trimmed with fluoro yellow highlights around the base of the legs for a splash of visible colour.
They've also returned from the wash really smartly each time so far, although thanks to the more textile-nature of the fabric (as opposed to a tougher windproof or water resistant fabric) they will snag very easily on things like Velcro, so take extra care to avoid catching them here.
They're not cheap at £125, but you're getting a lot of quality for your money. They're a little less than Pearl Izumi's Pro Pursuit Cycling Bib Tight, but £25 more than the well-reviewed Shutt VR Team Bib Tights.
The bottom line is that the Power Thermo bib tights are great for cool-to-cold conditions and tempo riding, as long as it's largely dry. They're not the best when it really rains, but if you're like me and tend to favour the turbo on those days, they're a great option for when you do choose to go out.
Very good tights for high tempo winter training, on drier days
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Bike Wear Mens Power Thermo Bibtights+
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Gore says: "These thermo bibtights feature doubled fabric in the knee area and back seat to protect against wind and spray. The full mesh bib construction does not cut into the skin. A pre-formed seat insert protects from the wind but is still highly breathable."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Features [from Gore website]:
- Flat-lock seams
- POWER PLUS MEN seat insert with highly breathable, preformed windproof front for pressure relief
- Wind- and spray protection at knees
- Mesh bib tunnel design with no seam close to skin, reduces friction, stops material from digging in
- Wind and spray protection panel in crotch and center back
- Reflective print on sides
- Reflective logo on back
Despite the soft and slightly lightweight feel, the construction is impressively solid. Seams seem particularly well made, and they're strategically positioned away from moving body parts to reduce chafing (and wear) too.
They're not designed for the absolute coldest or wettest weather, so that aside, I was very impressed with their performance on faster tempo rides.
They'll snag a little more on things like Velcro and rough surfaces thanks to the softer fabric, but otherwise they seem very well made.
This is where the Power Thermos come into their own – they fit perfectly for tempo riding, and are incredibly comfortable (see below).
They size up as normal, so buy your usual.
They're lightweight at 277g, and feel low profile on the skin too.
These are among the most comfortable bib tights I've ever worn, given the flexibility of fabric and fit.
Despite not being for really wet winter weather, £124.99 is a good price to ask for bib tights that excel otherwise.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very well, no problems to note.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The comfort, fit and performance feel.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's not a dislike, but they could use a little more water resistance throughout for wet weather use.
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 overall score
They're very good bib tights, really fit for purpose as long as you don't take them out in really wet weather.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding