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The Triban Men's Road Cycling Bib Tights RC500 are designed for 'discerning cyclists who want a comfortable solution for spring and autumn'. As you can see from the photos, they are in fact 3/4s and, in my book, all the better for it. Not that I don't like full-length tights, but I find 3/4s incredibly versatile for the cooler months. For £45, it's hard to find fault with the RC500s, and though they don't quite match the comfort of my £75 go-to pair, they're not far behind.
The tights are made from a polyester/elastane mix throughout – the main fabric is 77% polyester and 23% elastane, the legs 81% polyester, 19% elastane.
It's thicker than I've come to expect of 3/4s, and though not marketed as such it feels very much like a fatigue-reducing 'compression' blend, and the legs rely on this rather than silicone gripper to hold everything in place.
There's also a mesh panel behind the knees to improve mobility.
Inside, flat seams sit unobtrusively against the skin and don't leave unsightly branding when it's time to strip off.
Triban reckons these are perfect for temperatures from 6-18°C. I've worn them within this temperature range and found the fabric does an excellent job of managing rider-generated heat, while keeping welcome warmth at the lower end of the scale.
At the upper end of the scale my legs have felt slightly warm on occasion – especially on the fixed, when I'd been turning a high cadence for 90 minutes or more – but never uncomfortably so.
Paired with longer waterproof socks and possibly booties, they could prove very practical on colder winter days, too.
The thicker fabric is also welcome when taking the scenic route along dirt roads and bridleways, taking the sting out of small stones and offering decent protection from brambles, nettles and the like.
The pad is 86% polyester, 14% elastane and has an antibacterial component. It's well padded but anatomic, so it doesn't feel like you're sitting on the proverbial loaf of bread. Triban doesn't suggest ride duration, but I've had no issues between three and five hours, on or off-road and regardless of saddle type.
Talking of which... the main fabric's satin texture has also proven fully compatible with various saddles, from traditional leather through to those with synthetic coverings. No issues with making micro-adjustments but also no annoying surf or slide, and the story remained the same even when the rains came.
A useful extra touch is a pocket on the right thigh, which will take a smartphone and an energy bar.
The legs also feature small retro-reflective strips.
I'm a medium in most things these days, although some occasionally come up a little larger or smaller than expected. I'm long in the leg, and proportionately short in the torso.
The sizing tag here is more precise than others, citing 32in waist, 33in leg – perfect for me – but these were very snug initially (something I've since attributed to the thicker material). It didn't present any problems in the saddle, though, and eased with subsequent washing and wearing.
Two-year warranty aside, the Triban RC500s feel really sturdy. Not so much as a loose thread let alone a bobble in several hundred miles of road and mixed terrain use. This bodes well not only for a long service life but for gravel and bikepacking, too. I've regularly whizzed through sections of trail with brambles and similar prickly foliage, and though I've felt them snag the thighs, they've left no calling cards.
Talking of touring/bikepacking, I've gone the hand wash with soap flakes route a few times and they've come up looking and smelling fresh. When it comes to machine washing, I'd stick religiously to the 30-degree, minimum detergent route.
In keeping with the Triban Mid-Season Long-Sleeved RC500 jersey (you can read my review here), they've emerged unscathed after a few (accidental) 40-degree washes, but I did note the jersey's retro-reflectives showing traces of premature wear.
Drying times are around the 90-minute mark on the line with sun and a moderate breeze. Longer than some, but again, something I attribute to the heavier fabric.
An rrp of £44.99 is hard to argue with given the RC500s' specification and performance.
Lusso's Thermal 3/4 bib tights, which feature a 14mm microfibre/gel four-layer pad and Roubaix thermal fabric, have an rrp of £80, but even discounted are £19 more than the Tribans.
Funkier's Polar Active Thermal Microfleece 3/4s are closer at £59.99 rrp, and feature a high-density antibacterial pad and single rear pocket.
Primal's Dawn Bib Knickers have been my default for several seasons now (Stu reviewed them back in 2018 and thought they were excellent). They feature a 245gsm polyester/spandex mix, microfleece brushed lining, silicone leg grippers and a three-layer pad with silver and odour- and moisture-wicking components, but they're £30 more than the Tribans.
If you weren't set on bibs, Endura's Xtract Gel Knicker IIs come in at £52.99. These feature an 'ultra-fast wicking' fabric and antibacterial multi-density gel pad.
I'm finding it very hard to find fault with the Triban RC500 family of clothing, and these 3/4s are no exception, especially for the money. The thicker fabric can feel a little too toasty on warmer autumn days, but on the flip side bodes well for late autumn, winter and early spring chill.
Nicely designed 3/4s with excellent specification, especially given the price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Triban Men's Road Cycling Bib Tights RC500
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Decathlon says: "We have designed these bib tights for demanding cyclists who want a comfortable, practical solution for spring and autumn.
Do you get too cold in cycling shorts but too hot in winter tights during spring/autumn? These cool-weather cycling tights are just what you need!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Thicker fabric that's perfect for temperatures between 6°C and 18°C
Pocket on the leg for holding your cereal bars or small accessories.
Elasticated straps that fit all body shapes.
The Bib and straps are 77% polyester 23% elastane, the legs 81% Polyester, 19% Elastane, and the pad 86% Polyester, 14% Elastane
Feel very solidly made, and the two-year warranty inspires confidence.
Very good across the board, especially once the fabric relaxes a little.
Seem very well made and have taken usual, everyday carelessness in their stride.
A snug, racy cut but still very comfortable for general riding.
Bang on for me.
Very comfortable in the main and the fabric's moisture management is better than the tog weight might suggest.
Represent excellent value for money, in every respect.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, I've been impressed by the design and performance of the Triban RC500s. The sizing was absolutely bang on for me, and the fabric, though thicker than typical, was very supportive, as well as surprisingly efficient when it came to trafficking moisture from the skin. The pad is similarly supportive and I've had no issues with any saddles, regardless of distance. I'd broadly agree with the suggested temperature range, certainly at the lower end of the scale, though at the upper end I'm usually donning shorts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Really well made for the money, a great pad, and the sizing was particularly accurate and felt just right for me, especially in the leg.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing springs to mind.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Lusso's Thermal 3/4 bib tights are £80 at rrp (currently £64); Funkier's Polar Active Thermal Microfleece 3/4s are £59.99, and Primal's Dawn Bib Knickers, which have been my default for several seasons now, are £30 dearer. If you weren't set on bibs, Endura's Xtract Gel Knicker IIs come in at £52.99.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Impressive bib knickers – well designed, great performance, and the price is just a bonus.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)