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Pactimo's Men's Storm+ Thermal Bib Tights make riding in cold, wet weather less grim than it can be, with a water-repellent finish on the bottoms and a more waterproof fabric for the saddle area to keep road spray at bay. The chamois is superbly comfortable even on long rides, too. I like these a lot.
As with the Alpine Thermal Bib Tights I also tested, the Storm+ Thermals are supremely comfortable, but while they don't have the Alpines' cargo pockets, they do have the added bonus of a water-repellent finish, making them more suitable for days out that feature 'weather'.
They've been a trusty companion in the interesting weather we've been having recently. On dry, windy days they've been my go-to when the temperature is around 5°C and lower. In wet weather, they've come out as soon as the temperature goes below double digits.
Pactimo has used three different fabrics in these tights: the legs have a brushed fleece thermal fabric with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish. This is quite stretchy and Pactimo says it's specifically gone for this fabric at the flex points of knees and hips.
In what Pactimo calls the 'wet-out' areas – otherwise known as the lower back and saddle interface areas – it's used a three-layer waterproof laminate fabric. It's done this specifically to combat Soggy Chamois Syndrome. I personally like mudguards to stop SCS rather than rely on fabric, but if you don't then this is quite a useful feature. If you don't need it, I can confirm it doesn't get in the way or is even noticeable.
For the uppers, Pactimo has used a lighter single-layer, raw-edge fabric, to reduce bulk and increase breathability. The stretch here is aimed at accommodating different shapes as opposed to providing compression, and it does this well while keeping everything in place.
In my experience, weatherproofing on bib tights can have a negative impact on how flexible they feel – adding to that feeling of cycling through treacle that you can get in cold weather... While I found this to be the case with these in comparison to the Alpine bib tights, I felt it was less noticeable than other weatherproof bib tights I've used from brands such as Castelli and Endura.
I'm not a fabric expert, but I'd imagine making bib tights water repellent, stretchy, breathable and warm is a tricky combination to achieve. Especially as lab conditions don't always match those in the Real World.
Holding these bib tights under the tap, water beads up and rolls off the fabric – but then out in proper rain they don't always feel as impressive, especially when it's windy. I've come back from rides in proper minging weather where it's felt like they weren't very water repellent at all, only to take them off and find that they haven't done that bad a job. Skin isn't very good at differentiating between being cold and being wet and cold – as we have no humidity receptors, we use a combination of temperature, pressure and texture to label something as wet.
So, while this fabric is demonstrably water repellent under a tap, in very wet and windy conditions rain definitely still does something to the fabric that makes it thermally less efficient. In other words, they don't feel as water repellent as they are... which is useful to know at the planning-what-to-wear stage of a ride. It also completely matches the laws of physics, as water is a much better thermal conductor than air. Indeed, I found this to be a lot less noticeable on wet, but not so windy, rides.
You might read the above and think these are not very good, but that's not the case. The Storm+ fleece fabric's performance in wet weather is on a par with more expensive brands' offerings, like Castelli NanoFlex for example.
They don't keep you feeling dry in proper rain, they just keep you more comfortable in colder and wetter conditions than non-water-repellent bib tights would.
That said, temperature is a personal thing, and can depend on what the weather is doing, how cold you run, how tired you are, and how hard you're working.
For context, I run fairly cold; on group rides there are usually a few people who are completely comfortable with a layer less than I'm wearing.
Pactimo reckons these are good from about -1 up to 12°C. In dry conditions, I'd agree with the lower number, though 12 degrees would be way too warm. If it's raining, especially with a bit of wind added in for good measure, I definitely felt the cold a bit too much at -1°C, but would quite appreciate these in temperatures not too far into double figures. Pactimo's temperature ratings are pretty accurate, they just need a bit of context.
The pad Pactimo has used is Elastic Interface's Road Performance Force 8+ hour. Pactimo has a special page all about this so I won't repeat it here.
What I will say is that I got on with it very well indeed; it's kept me comfortable on long days in the saddle.
As with the Alpine bib tights, the fabric Pactimo has used is stretchy enough to make entry and exit at the lower end easy enough without the need for zips.
The reflective detailing is the same as on the Alpines: a reflective logo on each hip and a good sized reflective stripe on each calf. Pactimo claims its reflective material reflects up to 350 lumens.
I tested some Pactimo Bib Shorts earlier in the year, so I knew a medium should work for me; a medium is also the size I'd expect to fit me in non-Italian brands.
The sizing chart confirms this, with the measurements for medium pretty much exactly matching my own. For reference, I'm 178cm and weigh 77kg.
For decent bib tights with a weather-repellent finish, £142 is about what I'd expect to pay, but you can get cheaper: Stu liked Specialized's RBX Comp Thermal Bib Tights and they're only £100.
The Storm+ Thermal Bib Tights are great on rides that feature lots of weather. The water-repellent finish works well enough to keep drizzle at bay, and the waterproof seat area is particularly good for wet, mudguardless rides. The chamois, fit and stretch combination results in superbly comfortable bib tights – they get the thumbs-up from me.
Really good weather-repelling tights with a super-comfy chamois
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pactimo Men's Storm+ Thermal Bib Tight
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Pactimo has this to say:
OVERVIEW: These thermal water repelling tights have been designed specifically for chilly conditions where rain, drizzle and road spray may be present during your ride. They are ideal for conditions one would normally associate with the Pacific Northwest, but because of their excellent breathability and 3-season usability are also a great choice for rides or commuting in temperatures between -1 - 12° C. We engineered them with a cozy, brushed fleece interior and a Durable Water Repellent (DWR-coated) exterior. For additional protection, we strategically paneled a 3-layer waterproof fabric that covers the lower-back and chamois areas (saddle touchpoints) exposed to cold road spray. For added safety in low-light, winter conditions we used super bright (350+ lumens) reflective logos and rear calf strips (reflective in motion is ideal for optimal visibility).
FABRICS & CONSTRUCTION: The most notable feature of the Storm+ Tights is the use of zoned fabric placements. This means we utilized the stretchy and soft Storm+ thermal fleece in the hip and knee flex-points while also strategically placing 3-layer waterproof fabric in areas which require more coverage, such as the low-back and wet-out areas surrounding the chamois. This ensures maximum mobility while also offering protection from that cold, soggy chamois feeling you can get from wet rides. Uppers are made from a durable, single layer, raw-edge cut fabric. We have minimized the uppers to reduce bulk and increase breathability so that moisture will transfer away off the body, thereby maintaining a comfortable riding humidity and temperature throughout your cold weather adventure. This lightweight construction allows for more stretch and better comfort across a range of rider body shapes.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Brushed Storm+ fleece thermal fabric with Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish for water resistance
3-layer waterproof laminate fabric is wet-out areas
Elastic Interface® Road Performance Force 8+ hour chamois
Reflective hip logos and rear calf strips (350+ lumens)
High-stretch serged seams
Good for weather -1 - 12° C
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The care label says "Machine wash cold with mild detergent on delicate cycle". I bunged them in the machine with the rest of the washing and they look just fine after a good few washes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They are warm and comfortable for hours on end. Top job.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort and warmth, waterproof saddle area.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
After the testing the Alpine bib tights, I missed the cargo pockets.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
£142 is about what I'd expect to pay for a decent pair of windproof winter bib tights. You can get cheaper – Stu liked Specialized's RBX Comp Thermal Bib Tights, which are £100. But both La Passione's Prestige Winter Tights (£152) and Castelli's Sorpasso RoS Wind Bib Tights (£225) are more 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
They're very good: they offer great protection on rides that feature 'weather', while the chamois, fit and stretch combination results in superb comfort.
About the tester
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Ribble Endurance SL disc
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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, mtb, Zwift