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Verdict: 
Decent quality tights for the money that'll keep you plenty warm enough in those chilly winds
Weight: 
313g
Contact: 

Caratti delivers some decent quality kit at very sensible prices, and it's continued that theme here with these Elite Windproof Bib Tights. At 65 quid they are ideal for the commute or general riding and training, and have all the bases covered for riding through the chilly months.

  • Pros: Good choice of pad, great price
  • Cons: Windproof panels feel quite thick which restricts movement

I've tested quite a bit of Caratti clothing over the years and on the whole I've always been pretty impressed. It may not have the attention to detail of some of the more expensive brands and the fabrics might not feel as plush, but I've always found the fit to be good and surprisingly durable.

> Buy these online here

The Elite Windproofs are finished with a Roubaix-style fabric; for those of you not in the know, that means a material that has a fleece-like backing that sits next to your body to keep you warm. It feels soft to the touch and very comfortable to wear.

To provide the additional windproofing over its Sport Bib Tight stablemates, Caratti has added thicker-density panels at the front of the thighs and over the knees to keep out the cold sting of a winter breeze.

Caratti Elite Windproof Bib Tights - knees.jpg

The fabric is quite thick and doesn't allow for the same levels of movement that you find with the rest of the material. It's not a massive difference but is noticeable, especially on a long ride.

I would also like to see the windproofing extended to the front panel above the pad; in a full-on headwind you can be noticeably chilly below the waist.

Caratti Elite Windproof Bib Tights - front.jpg

Caratti has used multiple panels to create a good fit and the addition of the two circular panels behind the knees removes awkward seams and allows for a bend of the leg without any bunching of the fabric.

Caratti Elite Windproof Bib Tights - knee details.jpg

The legs are held in place by an ankle zip which isn't my favourite method of retention, especially if you are wearing overshoes over the top, but I found these to be unobtrusive with their small zip tab.

Caratti Elite Windproof Bib Tights - ankles.jpg

You get some reflective detailing here as well, with a thin panel sitting over the zip.

The bib straps are quite wide, and the rear mesh panel covers your entire back. It keeps you warm while allowing for breathability to stop you getting too sweaty.

Caratti Elite Windproof Bib Tights - straps front.jpg
Caratti Elite Windproof Bib Tights - straps back.jpg

When it comes to sizing, Caratti tends to be typically Italian (it's an Italian brand, although the tights are made in China); the size recommended for me was XL rather than the medium I usually wear. I've always got away with wearing medium in Caratti's bib shorts and I found the tights to be a reasonably good fit, although if I was buying them I'd probably go up to a large to get just a little bit more length in the legs; other than that, the cut is good. (It's not me in the pics.)

You need a good chamois for comfort regardless of how expensive your tights are, and it's good to see that Caratti has gone for a pad made by Elastic Interface, one of the largest chamois makers out there, used by many of the big brands.

Caratti Elite Windproof Bib Tights - pad.jpg

Here it's the Tour HP model, which has multiple density foam padded sections with various channels passing between them to increase blood flow. I've used this pad countless times before and it is a very good, especially if you aren't a fan of massively padded chamois. It's firm enough that it's supportive and absorbs the road buzz from beneath without being too thick that you can't feel what is going on with the bike.

When it comes to money, the Carattis are some of the best value around for their performance. Tights like the Santini Myego 2.0 offer a lot of the same properties but with a price tag of £105. Then there are Kalf's offerings, the Club Thermal Men's bib tights: they're very good longs by all accounts but again, £35 more expensive than the Carattis for what would sounds like similar performance.

> Buyer's Guide: 16 of the best winter cycling bib tights and trousers

On the whole, I think the Elite Windproof tights are hard to knock for the money. Yes, I have more expensive pieces in my wardrobe that I'd prefer to wear for a long ride or when out on the best bike, but for day to day commuting or blasting around I'd happily use the Carattis. The fact that you can almost get a two-for-one deal compared with many brands is also a bonus.

Verdict

Decent quality tights for the money that'll keep you plenty warm enough in those chilly winds

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Caratti Elite Windproof Bib Tights

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Caratti says, "This bib tight is made for everyday riding, whether it be road, mountain, leisure or commute."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Caratti lists these features:

Italian designed cut and fit to give an anatomical shape.

Windproof front panel, protects from wind chill impact on the front of the knee and thighs

Extra panelling to help comfort

The bib is designed with a mesh back to aid ventilation and body temperature regulation

Rubber Ankle gripper

Reflective liner along a YKK ankle zip to give you more visibility on the move

Warm, thermal fleeced Roubaix fabric perfect for winter riding

Branded best selling Elastic Interface Tour HP Chamois.

'Its great performance and maximum comfort come from a long series of severe test protocols from top professional road and mountain bike riders. The combination of our new triple density protection and our top of the line EIT Carbonium fabric with bacteriostatic properties enhances this chamois and places it in our Long Distance category. The High Density foams concentrated in the central 'HEART SHAPE' zone and its anatomic shape provide incredible comfort and offer a great fit for challenging rides.'

'New triple density 'HEART SHAPE' zone to provide incredible comfort and freedom of movement.'

 

Size Guide

S – Height <165cm / Waist <71cm

M – Height <170cm / Waist <76cm

L – Height <175cm / Waist <81cm

XL – Height <180cm / Waist <86cm

XXL – Height <185cm / Waist <91cm

XXXL – Height 190cm + / Waist 96cm +

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
6/10

They size up a little bigger than Caratti's 'typically Italian' size guide. According to that I should be in the XL, but the mediums here fitted fine, though I could maybe have done with the extra length of the large.

Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

No issues at all when going through the washing machine.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Plenty warm enough and decent comfort.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Good quality pad.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I'd like to see a few more windproofing panels around the waist section.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Against a lot of the brands we've tested, the Carattis look to offer very good value for money, coming in a good 30 to 40 quid cheaper for a lot of the same attributes.

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

Taking value into account, these are very good. They perform just as well as a lot of tights that are double the money and it's great to see a decent pad added to the mix.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 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

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

5 comments

Avatar
MrB123 [89 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

Currently a stonking good price at Rutland.

Avatar
ChrisB200SX [889 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Just bought a pair after the review of the Pro version and someone commented that they are actually £26.99 at the moment at Rutland. Ridiculous value. I went with medium even though I'm 168cm and a 32" waist, they seem to fit fine.
I have only test-fitted but I'm not sure about the achilles zip and the straps seem to sit just outside my nipples, so I suspect they may chafe in use. The pad does appear to be far better than what the lower versions seemed to have.
We'll see how they actually ride out in the cold at some point though.

Avatar
don simon fbpe [2844 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Get in touch if you want an extra £20 off your first purchase.

Avatar
oceandweller [86 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Currently £27 @ Rutland but (I suspect) selling out fast. I bought a pair of Large & they're exceptionally comfy & a good fit for my 176cm, 77 kg. So pleased with them, in fact, I went back for a pair of XL for a late Christmas present for a friend. Unfortunately XL was out of stock, so got a pair of the next model down, the Pro Windproof..., reviewed elsewhere on road.cc, again spiffing value only £25 @ Rutland, instead.

Avatar
Freddy56 [360 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

HOW are they £25?