Endura kit is very popular among mountain-bikers, and this UK manufacturer also produces highly-respected gear for road cycling. At the top of the family is Endura's premium range: Equipe.
The Equipe Thermo biblongs are full length tights designed for road riding in cold or wet weather. The fabric is Roubaix style - meaning it's fleecy on the inside, lycra on the outside - and it does the job very well. These test tights have been worn for some long rides in nasty conditions, and they definitely kept me as warm as any pair of winter tights can.
For when the rain starts falling, the panels covering knees and shins have an extra water-resistant coating to protect against the muck and spray thrown up by the front wheel - and also do a good job, again as much as any pair of tights can without resorting to full-on waterproof overtrousers. (Or those natty little spats favoured by wise old tourists, but I digress...)
Where the water-resistant fabric meets the Roubaix fleecy fabric, they overlap, creating an extra layer of protection just where you need it in cold conditions: over for the knee. The same water-resistant fabric is employed on the seat panels as well, for those who ride in bad weather without mudguards.
The quality of construction is excellent. The seams joining the panels are all very neat and tidy, with hardly a thread out of place.
Our test pair of tights are size Medium, and the fit is perfect across the rear-end, thighs and lower legs. However, at the ankles, the fit is a tad too generous (and your humble tester hardly has the daintiest of ankles) meaning the silicon grippers cannot get a good hold, and tights creep up the legs a little and then ruck behind the knee. The tights have zips at the back of each leg, but not have loops to go under the feet.
The bib over the torso and shoulders fits well. It's a mix of lighter fabric and netting, with a short zip at the front. Surprisingly for a top-of-the-range garment, the zipper doesn't come all the way to the top of the zip. Also, there isn't a little flap of fabric to prevent the zipper digging into your skin. If you're wearing a thick thermal vest this is no problem, but with a thinner base layer it might be a minor irritation.
The tights come with a pad described as 'the acclaimed 800 Series Endurance moulded pad developed by Endura Racing' [the professional cycling team sponsored by Endura]. Whether or not the guys in the pro team actually use this pad is unclear, but it's certainly comfortable enough for us mere mortals.
Other features on the tights include reflective strips next to the zip down the back of each ankle. There's also a little pocket in the back of the bib, just above the base of the spine. I'm not sure what you'd keep in here - certainly nothing you'd need to access on a ride.
At £135, these bib-tights are not cheap, but this price compares with top quality kit from other high-end brands such as Assos.
Overall, these are well-made top-quality tights, providing excellent protection against bad weather. Try before you buy to ensure the fit around the lower leg and ankle is correct for your needs.
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Make and model: Endura Equipe Equipe Thermo Biblongs
Size tested: Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Endura Equipe website says this: 'The Endura Equipe range [has] an unashamed and uncompromising focus on high-end road cycling to cater both for racers as well as sportive and endurance riders. Endura has many excellent award winning products in its regular range that will satisfy the needs of the vast majority of riders and if your requirements are not unusually demanding we would point you in that direction with confidence that you will be pleased with the results. If however you are at the ambitious end of the cycling spectrum, if you are racing or have set goals for endurance events such as the more challenging etapes or sportives and if you are training hard to achieve these goals, then we would suggest that the Equipe range of clothing may well help you on the way.' On the Thermo biblongs, the website says they are the 'ultimate winter biblongs constructed from Italian Thermolite and Japanese stretch waterproof breathable panels on shins, knees and seat.' I'm always wary of anything that claims to be the 'ultimate', but these tights are certainly very good indeed.
this would get 9 if it wasn't for the generous fit around the ankles
I haven't ridden enough miles in this tights to say for sure yet, but the high quality of the fabric and the construction would indicate the durability was very good too.
It has to be said, you can get kit almost as good as these tights for a lot less money, but that's always the way...
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? personally no, but only because of the fit around the ankle.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes, if they had large ankles.
Age: 50 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,