At £54.99, you'd be forgiven for dismissing the Ride Aquazeros as just another set of standard bibtights but you couldn't be more wrong. These UK designed and Italian made tights are serious performers, and left me scratching my head as to why I'd want to spend any more on other options.
A large part of their success comes from their use of the Aquazero Pro material. This is designed so that water beads up on the surface instead of just soaking in, much like Castelli's Nanoflex material. Add a bit of airflow to the mix and the water just slides off the surface leaving you dry underneath.
To test this out, I placed the tights under a dripping tap and it really does work as advertised. Typical road spray from damp roads poses no problem to the Aquazero's water shedding ability. Crank the tap up though, and the coating does get overwhelmed, especially if you apply a bit of hand pressure. Given that these aren't billed as fully waterproof but, rather, as water repellent, this is fair enough.
A major advantage of Aquazero over a fully waterproof material is that it retains the stretchy feel you associate with conventional Lycra. The inside is a fleecy Roubaix which provides good warmth for its weight. I had no issues using these tights down to 0°C and could probably have gone down further with just some light leg warmers underneath.
Aiding in the warmth stakes is the zipped abdomen section which provides a little extra frontal coverage (or beer gut compression – take your pick). The mesh straps are an interesting choice for such a winter orientated piece of clothing, but I can't say I would have noticed any difference in warmth had they been fleecy too.
The second ace in the Aquazeros' hand is the dialled fit. First, cautionary note; I usually fall somewhere between a medium and large when it comes to bib tights, but found the large size tested to be very snug. When I say snug, what I mean is that they fitted perfectly – not a crease in sight. Ride have used some interestingly shaped panels to achieve this fit which results in a seam passing very close to the front of the knee. On seeing this, I was initially worried about possible chaffing, but no such problems arose in use. All in all, the Ride designers have really got this one right.
The chamois pad comes courtesy of a third party manufacturer – Dr Pad. Their catalogue of models is impressively large and Ride have chosen one of their top-of-the-range models – the Team – for the Aquazero tights. With a maximum thickness of 10mm, the Team pad isn't as thick as some, but it is nicely contoured, and the way it interacts with the overall fit of the garment makes it extremely comfortable in use. It really puts some of the more expensive models from established brands to shame.
So, Ride seem to have gotten the major things right, but surely some corners have been cut on the small details?
Not really. You get a couple of small triangles of reflective material on the calves and some very tacky silicone grippers at the bottom of each leg. Style wise, the plain black colour and lack of any big logos is refreshing during an age in which everything seems to be plastered in branding.
The only oversight, in my opinion, is the lack of ankle zippers. The material is stretchy enough in this area that pulling them on and off isn't a problem, but zips would still have been a useful feature.
Ride have really ticked all the boxes with these Aquazero bib tights. Incorporating some clever material tech and a sorted fit, these tights deliver the sort of performance you'd expect from models costing far more that 100 quid.
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Make and model: Ride Aquazero bib tights with insert
Size tested: large, 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?
Ride have this to say about the Aquazero bib tights:
"An extremely high specced set of winter bibtights made from Aquazero Pro soft shell material which has a water repellent treatment meaning water spray just rolls off your legs rather than soaking in. Other features include camlock-zipped abdomen coverage for extra frontal wind protection, mesh braces for breathability on shoulders and back, high density pad for long ride comfort, silicon gripper around the ankles and 3 point reflective areas for high visibility."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-UK designed and Italian hand-made
-Aquazero Pro soft shell water repellent material with antibacterial treatment
-Silicone ankle grippers to hold position reliably and comfortably
-Mesh braces for breathability on shoulders and back
-Camlock-zipped abdomen coverage for extra frontal wind protection
-Mutlipanel Anatomic Fit
-Reflective details and logos
-High Density pad for long ride comfort
-Dr. Pad 40 TEAM Insert with varying 3 -6-10mm thickness and 40kg-100kg high-density
Really impressive given the price point. All stitching is immaculate and has stayed that way through multiple washings.
You couldn't ask for more, really.
They've yet to show any signs of wear and remain as form fitting and comfortable as on the first ride.
Nothing to improve upon. They just do their job and keep you knocking out the miles in comfort.
An absolute steal at this price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 20 Height: 190cm Weight: 70kg
I usually ride: Giant TCR Advanced 2 My best bike is: Canyon Ultimate CF7
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, sportives, mtb,
For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.