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Former world champion Tom Boonen's recent appointment as brand ambassador adds kudos to a relatively small company, but so far La Passione's Prestige Winter Tights have justified attention. They boast fine fabric, a great pad and encouraging attention to detail, with very little not to like.
The Prestige Winter tights are made in Italy – La Passione is based in Brescia, midway between Milan and Venice, at the heart of one of the most concentrated cycling industry manufacturing areas in the world. The tights are made with premium ThermoRoubaix fabric, which has a mid-weight feel and includes a hydrophilic 'Endurance' finish for some degree of weather resistance.
I'm 178cm (5ft 10in) tall, of average build, and the medium sized bib tights are an excellent fit, equivalent to what I would consider is a typical UK medium. The bib section consists of an open, stretchy mesh band, which is topped at the rear by a Y-shaped yoke, with limited stretch. This supports the 48mm wide, low-bulk, soft-feeling elastic braces, which rejoin the mesh band at the front.
Between the braces, the tights are cut lower, removing potential bunching around the belly, and making natural break stops easier.
The body of the tights finishes around mid-torso, save for the scalloped front section, and strikes a great balance between draught protection, comfort and additional warmth, with the mesh band helping to graduate their warming feel. The elastic braces are extremely comfortable, with an ideal amount of stretch to hold the tights in position without pulling on your shoulders. Once on, I can't say I was even aware of them, and that's really all you can ask.
The ergonomic shape of the tights is created with six panels above the knees, four below, and another small panel behind each knee, ensuring there's no bunching or irritation there. All of the seams are beautifully finished, and don't interfere with the riding experience at all.
The soft, wide, elastic ankle cuffs maintain a low profile and fit comfortably within winter boots or overshoes.
Pulling the bib tights on, you're immediately aware of the soft, plush feel of the ThermoRoubaix fabric's brushed inner face, which is instantly warming. They strike a nice balance between feeling stretchy and robust enough to last, and once satisfactorily positioned, remain in place.
La Passione suggests that these tights are suitable for temperatures from 4-10°C, and while everyone will have their own personal cold tolerance, I found them to maintain reasonable warmth for road rides on days when the ambient temperature dropped to around 5°C. If riding slower off-road, the wind chill would be reduced, but on average, the stated warmth is pretty accurate. There's no added wind protection, so the more exposed thighs and knees do feel the cold first, but the Prestige tights do a good job.
Some of my preferred non-windproof tights are Castelli's £165 Sorpasso and Sportful's £175 Total Comfort bibs. The Prestige tights offer almost equivalent quality, but I'd say just slightly less warmth. That said, I'd still willingly wear them on cool autumn, winter and spring days, as their on-bike comfort is excellent. At £152, they offer reasonable value in comparison, and at their current discounted cost of £122 they're an even more attractive proposition.
The Elastic Interface pad provides faultless support, comfort and breathability. It's another of those features that, if you don't notice it, it's definitely a good thing.
I was impressed with the tights' ability to stay in position – with relatively long femurs, I regularly find bib tights creeping down my legs, which really affects comfort. I didn't need to adjust the fit of these tights on any rides, their soft, compressive nature doing just what I'd hoped.
Visibility is helped by four small reflective squares on the rear of each calf, and a further reflective strip and large logo on the outside of each thigh.
I've ridden on and off-road in the Prestige tights – although there's often very little difference in the rural area where I live – and even after a dozen or so rides and washes, spray still beads on the outer face of the fabric. If light drizzle persists for more than 20 minutes you'll definitely feel it, as these are by no means waterproof, but a little spray shouldn't bother you.
One downside that's common to almost all tights is the light rubbing that occurs in the fabric's seat area, caused by the rear of the saddle. It is exacerbated by dirt and grit that's thrown up from the rear wheel, so mudguards will help to extend the usable life and looks of your gear. It has appeared a little quicker than I'd expect on the Prestige tights, but my test period has also been blessed with particularly wet weather.
Overall, the Prestige Winter Tights are well worth considering if you're looking for warm, well made and very comfortable tights. Their high class feel and precise fit is very satisfying, making cool weather training rides that much more enjoyable.
Warm, well made and very comfortable – not bad value either, and they’re currently reduced
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road.cc test report
Make and model: La Passione Prestige Winter Tights
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
La Passione says, "The Prestige Winter Tights are the classic choice for winter: They're perfect for chilly autumnal rides and the first days of the winter season. They are made from premium ThermoRoubaix fabric with a special Endurance finish, in order to make them both resistant and comfortable on every adventure. The design is perfectly shaped to improve the ergonomics when you're riding and provide the same no-restriction feeling of bibshorts."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
La Passione lists:
Premium Thermo Roubaix Endurance fabric
Back bonded seams
Elastic tape at the bottom of the leg
Elastic Interface® Pad for extra-long distance rides
Reflective Hold the Line logos on the calf
Rear reflective stripes
Conditions: from 4° to 10°C / from 39° to 50°F
Front: 53% Polyester / 34% Polyamide / 13% Elastane
Back: 85% Polyamide / 15% Elastane
Braces: 84% Polyester / 16% Elastane
Antibacterial and wicking treatment
La Passione advises choosing tights in the same size as its bib shorts, which conform to an average UK fit.
Not as pricey as Castelli's Sorpasso and Sportful's Total Comfort bib tights, if not quite as warm either, but you can get very good and cheaper options from the likes of Lusso and Endura.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Several washes in, and the Prestige Winter tights still look as good as new.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
In temperatures down to just below 5 degrees Celsius, including wind chill, they remain warm.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Overall fit and feel.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
So far I haven't found any aspect that I dislike.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £152, the Prestige tights are competing with many popular bib tights, including Castelli's Sorpasso 2, which for £160 include internal polyester fleece sections to warm vulnerable areas, and reliable Castelli comfort. The cost of the Prestige bib tights seems high alongside offerings like Lusso's Classic bib tights (£85) and Endura's FS260-Pro Thermo bib tights (£99.99), but they are very well constructed, of high quality, and extremely comfy.
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
They're very good: quick and easy to put on, which removes some of the faff of winter riding, and remain perfectly in place with no tight or baggy sections, and no irritation. The pad is very effective, and they've proved durable so far, through typically filthy conditions.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL6 with Campagnolo Super Record 12s My best bike is: BMC SLR01
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb, Riding with my children, using both a child seat and trailer bike