The Endura Stealth-Lite bib-tight provides a highly effective defense against the rain but lacks the freedom of movement offered by more conventional fabrics.
We tested the Stealth-Lite bib-tight in the midst of one of the wettest winters on record and can confidently report that we remained dry each time we wore them. As reported in our ‘first look’, Endura have deployed every conceivable weapon against the elements in this garment, from ultrasonically welded seams (no stitches, no water ingress) to a technical fabric from chemicals giant Toryaca (there’s a more than outside chance your frame is made from their filament if you’re riding carbon) and the net effect was a highly effective defence against the weather.
The front of the tights bore the full brunt of the weather as might be expected, and while the fabric darkened (much as the Stealth II jacket had done, though less obviously, owing to the black rather than blue material) it did not allow water through. Road spray made a similarly negligible impression on the shins. Additionally, the fabric was quick drying; notably so in showery conditions where the sudden (and always brief) emergence of the sun had an almost magical effect.
Two final observations on the fabric: the internals were smooth and so comfortable; the ultrasonically welded and taped seam meant there was no irritation. And breathability, as might be expected, was low; an effect magnified by the layering of tights over shorts.
The other side of the coin, however, is a fabric that failed to match the natural ‘give’ and stretch of the lycra blends typically deployed for bib-tights, a difference that was most notable behind the knee where the folds in the fabric could be felt. There was bagginess at the seat too, although more, ahem, upholstered riders may not experience the same.
Elsewhere the fit was excellent and the result of a carefully considered design that offered many benefits. Exhibit A might be considered the extremely broad, lycra braces, a favoured design at RCUK Towers in any tight, but which made perfect sense for a garment with no insert and intended to be worn over a padded bib-short. Any discomfort that might have resulted from the braces-on-braces scenario was averted by the deployment of 80mm straps.
Similarly, the 200mm ankle zips, positioned on the rear of each calf, proved effective not only in keeping out road spray, but also in providing a fit close enough to slide easily inside an overshoe (Endura’s neoprene Road offering, since you ask – check back soon for a full review). They’ll also fit over an overshoe, if that’s your preference.
The Endura Stealth-Lite bib-tight occupies a position at the more robust end of the scale of legwear designed to hold off the rain. While others opt to coat conventional lycra with a chemical spray, or strategically deploy the occasional panel of waterproof fabric, Endura have gone the whole nine yards. If you’re facing a daily deluge, or riding serious distances in heavy weather, you’re unlikely to find much to match its performance.
For lighter conditions, however, the balance struck by protection from the elements against freedom of movement might tip the scale in favour of conventional lycra. ‘Deep winter’, a phrase beloved of the cycle clothing industry, might have been coined with garments like the Stealth-Lite bib-tight in mind. Given the appallingly wet winter suffered this year, however, one that shows no signs of ending, bib-tights of this nature may yet become standard issue.
Size: S, M, L, XL, XXL