I found Sportful's Total Comfort bib shorts among the comfiest available, especially if you're into very long rides, and you get all the same comfort plus extra warmth and cold weather protection with the Total Comfort Bib Tights. They're a solid investment for keeping legs wrapped up with maximum comfort.
The design has been updated since we last reviewed them in 2013, with a host of changes aimed at improving the total comfort and insulation. The fleecy fabric, double layered from just below the knee up to the waist, provides exceptional warmth on cold rides, while the breathability is sufficient to prevent overheating when you're putting in some effort or the temperature rises during a long ride.
An additional band of thermal fabric offers extra insulation to the kidney area and provides very nice comfort in this area that can sometimes feel a little exposed just under the waistband of a jacket. It's also easy to pull the front down for nature breaks too.
You don't get the water resistance of the NoRain tights, though, so for damp and sodden rides they're not the best choice, but that said they do stave off very light drizzle for a reasonable duration. Wind resistance is good as well, protecting against brisk cold winds thanks to that doubling up of material on the front.
Fit is excellent with well-shaped panels and a stretchy fabric ensuring they sit comfortably over the contours of your body. I didn't experience any issues with overly stretched or taut fabric, no pulling around the knee or nasty bunching of excess material.
The bib straps have been cut by lasers for clean edges and they lie nice and flat over the shoulders, providing zero irritation and certainly don't dig into your body. There's also a small section of silicone material on the inside of the tops of the straps to provide extra grip.
But the star of the show here really is the chamois. It's the same Total Comfort padded insert as used in the bib shorts I tested previously and is a whopping 18mm thick, compared to 13mm for the company's racier Body Fit design. It's perforated foam, with variable thickness helping to ensure it doesn't feel at all bulky when you're sat on the saddle, but the extra thickness is appreciated on long rides where the comfort is as good after the eighth hour as it was after the first.
The pad doesn't move or shift about when you're cycling all day either, and it also dries quickly if you go get rained on or damp from road spray.
Standing out on our busy roads is a key concern for many, and Sportful has added a very large panel of reflective dots to the back of each ankle. It goes high enough that even large overshoes aren't going to obscure much of it, maintaining your level of visibility to other road users.
Completing the details are short ankle zips which help with getting in and out, and there's a thin band of silicone material on the inside to prevent the tights moving about.
In terms of value, the Fiandre NoRain Pro Bib Tights I mentioned earlier not only offer better bad weather protection but are cheaper too, at £135. That said, compared to one of my personal comfort benchmarks, the Assos LL.habuTights_S7, the Total Comfort tights look like stonking good value, offering largely similar levels of comfort for £100 less.
These have become my go-to tights for long rides, such as the eight-hour-plus road and gravel ride around the Welsh countryside just last weekend. The fit and comfort is really very good, the warmth and breathability strike a good balance for three-season application, and while they don't have much water resistance, they do dry quickly.
Live up to the name, providing total comfort for the longest rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Total Comfort Bib Tights
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Sportful says, "Featuring a new cut and materials, the is designed and built for those who are looking for a comfortable winter tight with an extremely comfortable seat pad without sacrificing functionality and performance"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sportful lists these features:
Made of stretch thermal fabric, thicker in front to ensure warmth even in very cold temperatures
Fabric with variable thicknesses in waist area to ensure good breathability
Laser-cut lie-flat bib straps to reduce friction and weight
Total Comfort seat pad
Reflective pattern on calves to ensure safety and visibility even in low-light situations
Camlock ankle zips for easy on/off
Very nicely made.
Excellent warmth and seated comfort for the longest of long rides.
They've passed all my durability tests well. I've even used them off-roading and they've coped well with the additional punishment.
Top notch fit.
Sizing is as expected and compares nicely with other brands.
Total comfort is what they set out to do and total comfort is what they offer.
They're £150 which is what you can expect to pay for very decent bib tights. Cheaper than some other high-end brands but with no shortcuts in terms of performance.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Go in a regular wash cycle just fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Provided great comfort on long rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable padded insert and warm legs.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There's no rain resistance.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're in the middle. Sportful's own Fiandre NoRain Pro Bib Tights are £135 and offer better bad weather protection, while my benchmarks for comfort, the Assos LL.habuTights_S7, are £250.
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
If seated comfort is everything, they are a good choice, but for all-round bad weather protection (who are we kidding, we live in the UK) then the company's NoRain tights might be a more versatile choice, which is the only thing that holds back the score a bit.
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.