The Gore C7 Partial Windstopper Pro Bib Tights+ provide a great defence against the ravages of winter weather with strategic use of the company's famed wind-blocking fabric. The padded insert looks after you on long rides, too, with an additional Windstopper 'cup'.
Gore has constructed these tights by carefully placing Windstopper material on the front-facing areas to fend off wind, cold air and light rain. It starts from just below the knee and goes up around the hips and wraps around the bum. Windstopper isn't particularly stretchy, so a stretchier material, which is also lighter and breathable, is used for the rest of the tights to ensure good fit and comfort.
The tights are shaped very nicely with good panel design and the result is a very good fit around the torso and over the legs, especially around the knee. I've tested tights in the past with windproof panels and found them to be restrictive around the knee when pedalling; these aren't, freedom of movement when pedalling is as good as regular tights.
Performance in a wide range of typical winter conditions is good. They keep a good temperature on cooler rides and when the day warms up there's sufficient breathability to ensure you're not going to start boiling. Gore gives an operating window of 5-15°C which seems a fair assessment based on my testing, but they will go down to zero.
They aren't waterproof but the Windstopper material is water resistant, so they cope just fine in short showers, keeping you drier longer than regular tights made from plain Lycra. That makes them a really good pair to reach for when the weather is awful as they do provide a lot of protection.
I've found the Expert Road pad excellent, providing pillowy comfort for long winter rides. It features plentiful padding but doesn't feel bulky, and is sufficiently breathable too. It also features a 'cup' of Windstopper material at the front to provide additional protection from icy cold wind. Sounds gimmicky but works a treat.
A large mesh panel at the back of the bib section provides ventilation, as do the mesh bib straps.
They don't have zipped ankles, even though the website says they do, but the material is stretchy enough for pulling them over your feet easily.
If you favour high visibility Gore does offer a version with bright yellow lower ankle panels to help you stand out in low light. There are some reflective details here, such as the logo and a seam up the side of the ankle, but I wouldn't mind a bit more. Compared with the admittedly expensive Rapha Cargo tights with their huge reflective panels down the back of the legs, the Gore tights are a little lacking.
Not that the Gores are cheap... £180 is a lot of cash, if not hugely more than similar performing alternatives. They're £10 more than Santini's Giove bib tights, which also incorporate Windstopper, and £20 more than Castelli's Sorpasso 2s, but they are £30 less than Rapha's Pro Team Winter Tights.
If you look at our reviews archive, it's clear you can pay a lot less for decent bib tights these days, but if you want Gore's excellent Windstopper fabric there are fewer to choose from, and these do have the edge in really cold and windy weather.
Comfortable wind beating bib tights for the foulest conditions
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore C7 Partial Windstopper Pro Bib Tights+
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Gore says, "Finding the balance between warmth, protection from wind and rain, while also reducing bulk, these tights feature GORE® WINDSTOPPER® material in key places to prevent windchill or soak through from wet roads and puddles."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Gore lists these features:
Mesh back for better ventilation
EXPERT ROAD seat insert with GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Cup
Partial GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Product: totally windproof, extremely breathable and water repellent
Zipper at side of lower leg
Reflective logo and print
Flat mesh bib straps
Careful positioning of lighter weight material to aid breathability
GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Cup Technology: highly breathable,preformed windproof front for optimum comfort
I've used them for mountain biking and gravel riding and they've stood up to the abuse well.
The mediums fitted me perfectly.
They're very nice and comfortable.
£10 more than Santini's Giove bib tights, which also incorporate Windstopper, but the windblocking Rapha Pro Team Winter Tights are £210...
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems in a regular 30-degree washing machine cycle.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Keep you warm and protected from cold wind.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great warmth in cold windy weather and nice seated comfort too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd love to see more reflective details.
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 are very good bib tights that provide great wind and light rain protection.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.