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The Donda Principal Bib Tights provide a good level of warmth on cold days and plenty of comfort too. With well-positioned seams there is nothing to irritate, and the pad works well for those possibly longer and slower winter rides. All for very decent money.
Like many brands, Donda has used a Roubaix style fleece-backed fabric for the main part of these bib tights. It works well, trapping body warmth, but manages to be breathable too once the effort rate goes up. The material itself isn't overly thick, which means that your movement isn't restricted in any way, unlike some materials that have waterproofing or windproofing elements about them.
The Dondas don't have either of those attributes, but if you do get wet then the warmth remains, as long as you keep moving, and only the iciest of winds make themselves known.
I'd say the Principals work from around 14°C down to zero, for me at least, though it depends on how warm your body runs.
I found the cut ideal, and the sizing realistic for the UK market, and in line with its size guide.
There is plenty of length in the legs, which is good because there is no actual leg retention such as silicone bands or zips. A neat touch is the row of reflective dots on the back of each leg.
The way Donda has designed the panel layout also means that no seams run directly behind the knee so there is no irritation likely when bending your leg for thousands of pedal revolutions.
The bib straps use a lightweight mesh similar to that you'd find on a pair of summer shorts, so you are definitely going to need to layer up should things get properly cold.
The straps themselves are wide and flat and cause no pressure points as they pass over your shoulders.
The key ingredient in any pair of bib tights is the chamois, and the Principals have a decent one.
It's made up of padded sections of various depths, with the most pronounced being positioned beneath the sit bones. It's not the firmest pad I've used (and that's the way I like them) but nor did I find it too soft, which can cause hot-spots.
My winter riding tends to be a lot of steady miles keeping up the fitness, so I spend most of the time seated compared with the warmer months. The Principals' pad worked well for this type of riding, having that little bit of extra 'squidge' to increase comfort.
Their pricing is very competitive at just £65, and they certainly don't look as though any compromises have been made in terms of build quality.
That's 20 quid cheaper than the Lusso Classic Thermal Bib Tights which I was impressed with last winter, especially the firmer pad.
Altura's Icon Men's Thermal Bib Tights are another pair that I got on well with, but they're even more expensive at £95 (though they do come with a neat little pocket on the rear bib section).
Technically, there is nothing mind-blowing about the design or construction of the Dondas over other bib tights at this point of the market. But they do deliver the qualities of much higher priced bib tights, for a very decent amount of cash.
Very good for the money – solid quality and performance for not a huge amount of cash
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Donda Principal Bib Tights
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Donda says, "Our Principal Bib Tights are an all new product fit for the colder months. Our high quality, thermal bib shorts are designed for coldest conditions
Constructed from high density chamois for maximum comfort and compression the tights offer Breathable, Quick dry, Compression and comfort. The breathable upper mesh has been designed to ensure you don't overheat on your ride. Reflective touches on the ankle ensure you're seen on those early evening rides. The Donda brand mark is featured on the side of the leg.
The combination of technology, quality and unique design allows our everyday cyclist to ride the toughest climbs, leisurely tour or the most straightforward of commutes."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Compression and Moisture Wicking
High density chamois
Sizing is spot on.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems after plenty of washes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They'll keep you warm in typical UK winter conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not much coverage from the bib section.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are very well priced, cheaper than both the Lusso and Altura bibs mentioned in the review, and neither of those brands are usually classed as expensive!
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
A mix of good quality, great comfort and impressive warmth, at a very good price.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!