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Le Col's Pro Bib Tights are a super high-end pair of bib tights. The fleece-lined inner material is soft against your skin, and their water-resistant surface helps to keep out the worst of the winter weather. And after the first wash, the chamois was up there with the most comfortable I have ever ridden in. This premium product does come at a correspondingly premium price, but these tights still look like serious contenders for our best winter bib tights buyer's guide.
The British brand Le Col has become very popular in recent years for its high-quality kit and collaborations with big names in sport such as McLaren, Wiggins, and most recently the partnership with WorldTour team Bora-Hansgrohe.
Okay, so Le Col doesn't have a 'budget' line for any of its kit, so these tights aren't part of any premium line. They just happen to be a high-quality pair of tights that offer loads of protection for riding in some harsh conditions.
Firstly, the tights have a super-soft fleece lining that helps insulate your thighs while you're cruising through breezy winter air. But when you're stomping on the pedals and working up a sweat, I found my legs didn't overheat as the tights regulate temperature very well. I rode a few times in temperatures reaching the low teens without getting too hot, but I also hit the road on days when the mercury was below zero – and I stayed nice and toasty during these rides.
Le Col has placed 'aerodynamic lower leg panels' on the tights below the knee. Without access to a wind tunnel, I can't accurately comment on how effective they are aero-wise, but I do think they look pretty cool. I only wore the tights without my Spatz Roadman 3 overshoes on a few occasions, so these panels were mostly hidden anyway.
These Pro Bib Tights have a really snug fit, and if you're a muscular rider then these will still fit you with a nice race-cut. I'm not blessed with large, muscular thighs but I was able to stretch the tights away from my leg with ease.
The length is good too, with mine coming about an inch above my ankle bone.
When I initially wore the tights, I found the chamois comfortable yet a little firm, so I was unsure how I was going to find them over time. Fortunately, after the first wash the chamois softened a little, to became one of the most comfortable I have ever worn. Usually, I find winter tights cause some discomfort through the chamois but with the Le Col's chamois it feels like you're wearing your favourite summer shorts.
During winter, I think most of us will be wearing a baselayer, but I found the tights' straps very comfortable over my shoulders without too much pressure; if you've got a plate in your collar bone, you'll know what I mean.
The only issue I had with the tights was the zip. I don't think zips are needed on a premium product such as this and, as with most high-quality tights, I think the elasticated cuffs have enough stretch for the zip to be an unnecessary extra.
The Le Col Pro Bib Tights are not alone at coming in at a price north of £200, with both Assos and MAAP having tights more expensive than these in their ranges.
Jamie enjoyed testing the MAAP Team Evo Thermal Bib Tight and loved how well they regulated his temperature. But they cost £230 and at 264g are a bit more than the 204g Le Col tights should that be an issue.
Ash reviewed the Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Bib Tights S9 and found them very warm, perfect for those very cold dry days but not so good in the rain. These retail at £240, which is £30 more than the Le Cols.
There isn't much to fault with these Le Col tights. I found them very warm on very cold rides but they regulated heat well, so that I wasn't overheating when temperatures rose. They're good for wet or dry conditions, which means they're suitable for any riding a British winter day may throw at you. You just have to be happy spending that much money on a pair.
Premium bib tights that you can use in winter whatever the conditions
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Le Col Pro Bib Tights
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
These bib tights are for use in winter to keep riding as pleasant as possible. Le Col says they're "designed with speed in mind" to help with maximising efficiency and avoid restricting any movement.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Aerodynamic lower leg panels
Pre-folded binding on edges
Low profile uppers wick sweat and regulate temperature
Lightweight cuffed ankles
Large logos across lower legs
Made in Italy
Face: 75% Polyamide, 25% Elastane
Back: 86% Polyester, 14% Elastane
These appear to be very well made, with no loose seams or dangly parts.
I found these tights were very warm and tight fitting. There was no bagginess after being sat at the cafe during a mid-ride stop, and I found them water-resistant too.
I can't fault them at all so far.
The tights hugged my legs extremely well. The ankles were ever so slightly too big for me – but then again I am awfully skinny.
I found they sized up well.
Lighter than all competitors.
Extremely comfortable, though I found the chamois a little firm on the first outing.
It is expensive! Though the price is in the ballpark for competitors' tights of similar quality.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues with washing.
Machine Wash at 30°C
Do not use fabric conditioner
Close all zippers/velcro fastenings
Dry flat, do not tumble dry
Do not bleach, iron or dry clean
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Kept me warm in all conditions and the tights were always comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit of the tights around the leg.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Zipper on the calf!
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are pricey, which places them at the upper end of the classy bib tight market.
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
I found these bib tights very comfortable especially on longer winter rides and their water resistance helped keep road spray off my legs. I only scored these down from 10 as I don't think high-end bib tights should have zips.
About the tester
I usually ride: Dolan Rebus My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, Always love some off-road with some mates.