winter cycling bib tights mens

winter cycling bib tights mens

When it comes to winter cycling, let’s face it: Some parts of the country have it worse than others. Even so, at some point, no matter where you live, it will get colder. It will get windier. It will get wetter. And that’s okay, as long as you’re prepared. A good pair of cold-weather tights tops the list of gear you must have to make the experience less uncomfortable. After all, your legs do the brunt of the work, so you should keep them happy.

The Features to Consider

First, think about where you spend your winters. Someone who lives in California, for example, might not need a fully insulated pair of tights, while folks who brave the frigid temps in the Northeast would be thankful for any protection against the cold and wind. Where you live will determine what you should prioritize.

Water-resistant coatings: Usually called DWR (durable water repellent), this treatment keeps light drizzle and road spray from soaking through your clothing. But it’s not fully waterproof. And it can wear out over time and must be reapplied.

Wind-proofing: One of the most intolerable of all winter annoyances is frigid wind. There’s almost no escaping it. If you’re the type who braves it all, look for tights with a wind-proof fabric such as Gore’s Windstopper. But if you don’t go out in more than a chilly breeze, you can get away with wind-resistant tights or those with wind-proof panels only in certain areas.

Insulation: There’s no better feeling than slipping into something cozy on a cold day. Look for tights with thermal or fleece linings (or both). Some are fully lined, while others are only partially lined. Case in point, the fleece on the Pearl Izumi Elite Escape AmFib is on the back of the legs only.

Chamois: There are two chamois configurations with winter tights: You can buy a pair with the chamois already built in or layer chamois-less tights, like the 7Mesh Hollyburn, with your favorite pair of chamois shorts. Layering increases your chances of chafing, but opting for a pair of tights without a chamois can save you some dough

Bibs: A bib creates a canvas for more coverage, adding wind and water protection and room for pockets. It also eliminates any chances of exposed skin around your midsection. But it also adds a layer of difficulty when it’s time to suit up. And a bib tight without a drop-tail could be frustrating during midride pee breaks. Fortunately, most companies now offer bib tights and shorts with some sort of easy access for when nature calls.

Zippers, pockets, visibility: You can find pairs with some or all of these. Ankle zips can make getting the tights on and off easier, and reflective hits make you more visible to drivers. Pockets, of course, add storage.