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The Van Rysel Women's Sportive Bib Tights are a great value winter design, with a fleece inner and a zip system at the hips so you can nip to the loo without having to take your jersey and jacket off. They perform very well in cold, dry conditions; there's no water resistance – but then that's hardly surprising considering the price.
The Van Rysel tights come from Decathlon's 'performance' collection, as opposed to its more relaxed Triban range. I was given a medium pair to test, and they were nice and easy to get on and sized up well. There are no zips on the ankles but the material is stretchy enough to go over the feet.
Medium is my usual size, and these are a comfortable fit round the legs, figure-hugging but not too tight. The fleece-lined inner also gives a soft feel against the skin. And they fit well around the ankles with longer winter socks tucked in/under…
The bib section fits very nicely too. The straps over the shoulders are comfortable without being overtight, and there is a zip at the front to get a figure-hugging fit around the chest.
The bib section gives lots of coverage, and has been designed to provide warmth and better support, according to Van Rysel. For most of my rides I opted for either a very light baselayer or a merino T-shirt for sweat wicking. I didn't feel I needed a thick baselayer with the style of bib round the chest.
At the rear there's a middle panel which is a thinner, very breathable material.
As I mentioned at the start of the review, the tights have a zip system around the hips. This is the easy loo stop solution, meaning you don't have to undress.
There are two zips, and you unzip starting at the back, round the hips and a few inches down the legs at the front. It is a neat design that works really well; it's always great to see a women's loo stop design on winter gear as getting undressed in the cold is never fun.
I have to say, when I first put the tights on I did notice the zips at the front of the legs, but once on the bike I really couldn't feel them at all. It is a similar system to the Gore 3 Thermo Winter Tights which Emma reviewed last year and really liked, but without the gap between the zips.
The chamois pad is always an important feature of tights and shorts. This one is described by Van Rysel as an ergonomic pad with gel insert, recommended for longer rides of three hours or more. It has ridges for air flow designed into it, and the density of the pad is thicker at the rear for your butt and thinner at the front. Personally, I don't like ridges in a pad, especially at the front, and didn't want to ride long distances with this. For shorter rides it was fine, and you might get along with it better than I did.
The material used for the tights has no water repellency, they're just designed to keep you warm, and they do a good job at that. I was comfortable in temperatures from 4 to 10 degrees.
There is a small amount of reflective detail on the calf.
Retailing at £54.99, the Van Rysel tights are some of the cheapest I have seen with a neat loo stop zip design.
Gore's C3 Thermo bib tights, which I mentioned earlier, are £99.99, and dhb's Aeron FLT Women's Roubaix Halterneck tights, another good option with their halterneck style bib tight, are £68.
Overall, if you are looking for some loo-stop-friendly winter tights that won't break the bank, these perform really well. Just make sure you get on with the pad.
Great value winter bib tights with a neat hip zipped design for easy loo stops
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Van Rysel Women's Sportive Bib Tights
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Decathlon says, "Our design team has developed these women's cycling tights for winter conditions to protect you during training and on long rides
"Bib tights designed especially for women, with a zip system at the hips so you can nip to the loo without having to take your jersey and jacket off."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The fleece lining protects you from the cold.
Double zip opening at the hips to undo them more easily.
Shaping component and support provided by the chest part of the tights.
Chest part of the tights (bib) designed to fit the bust,
Ergonomic pad with gel insert recommended for longer rides (3 hours or more).
As a winter tights go, they keep you warm.
No problems so far. After a month of riding they have held up well.
Tested a medium, my normal size, and was a great fit.
They use a fleece lining for the tights so not light weight, but I wouldn't expect them to be.
Very comfortable to wear generally, but I didn't get on that well with the pad for longer rides.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed well at 30 with other kit. No problems.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a winter tight they performed very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The loo-stop-friendly zip system.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The pad isn't my favourite for long distance rides.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Gore's C3 Thermo bib tights with a similar zip system are very good but more expensive at £100, as are dhb's Aeron FLT Women's Roubaix Halterneck tights, another good option at £68.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
These get an 8 because they're very good: they're great value and they perform very well as winter tights in dry conditions, with the bonus feature of the zip hip system. I didn't get on especially well with the pad, but that's very subjective – you might, and for the price they're certainly worth trying.
About the tester
I usually ride: Genesis Croix de Fer Ti 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: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking