HOY Vulpine Men's Thermal Bib Shorts - review - Road Cycling UK

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HOY Vulpine Men’s Thermal Bib Shorts – review

Thermal bib-shorts with a performance feel

Since Chris Hoy leant his name to a line of clothing with Vulpine, we’ve seen a steady stream of products that aim to match the style and quality of the Vulpine brand with the performance edge that a six-time Olympic gold medallist can bring.

These thermal bib shorts are a good example of this: on the surface, good-looking with some nice design touches, and some features that make them worth their weight in the saddle, too.

Let’s start with the weight though, because for a thermal pair of bib shorts they feel particularly lightweight in construction. Despite having a microfleece layer inside, they feel much more like summer-construction bib shorts, and look like it too. Throw into the mix the fact that the outside-facing fabric feels like a lightweight softshell, rather than your usual standard lycra, and it’s surprising just how svelte they feel.

HOY Vulpine’s Thermal Bib Shorts combine quality performance with smart finishing touches
  • Specification

  • Price: £120
  • Sizes: XS-XXL
  • Size tested: M
  • Colours: Graphite
  • Website: HOY Vulpine

However, that doesn’t mean they’re too lightweight to be effective – far from it. While we wouldn’t describe them as toasty in freezing air temperatures and windchill, they’re good for plenty otherwise, with the reduced weight aiding heat transfer when you decide to put the hammer down. In reality, they’re perfect teamed with knee or leg warmers, because they’re not so thick themselves that they cause you to feel constricted with the additional accessories.

In recent weather where we’ve seen temperatures hovering in the 5-10 degree range during the day, and colder in the mornings and evenings, these bib shorts proved themselves up to the task of insulating us when paired with leg warmers, as well as repelling the odd splash back and light shower too. Realistically, you could wear these shorts for a fair proportion of spring and autumn, with milder winter days thrown into the mix, too, depending on how warm you run.

The pad comes from Italian brand Cytech and has well-positioned high-density zones, making it great for all-day use. It’s not too thick either, so doesn’t feel obtrusive as some chunkier pads can, and did a good good of cushioning rides on a test bike with a saddle shape which didn’t naturally suit this tester at all.

While the lower half of the shorts are perfectly fitted but the mid-section is surprisingly spacious. I had a medium pair of shorts on test and, when pulling them on, felt as if I could never quite pull them up high enough. It seems the mid-section, including the crotch, is slightly narrow while also being a touch long. When riding it’s less of an issue as the saddle pushed the pad up onto the sit bones, but otherwise there was a strange, slightly ‘unsupported’ feeling when riding out of the saddle.

The bib section, however, is a return to form: comfortable and fully elasticated with good quality seams and a fleece backing for extra warmth, mirroring the excellent finish of the shorts as a whole, from the performance-oriented textured grippers to the stylish and understated black-on-black branding that matches up nicely to other brand’s jerseys and jackets. Throw in an as-new return from multiple washes, and it means the £120 asking price is about on the money for a pair of high-end shorts as you’ll get good life out of them, too.

The fleece-lined bib straps sit comfortably over the shoulders

Conclusion

Excellent quality lightweight thermal bib shorts, with the only gripe being slightly strange fit in the mid-section. However, it’s not a deal breaker.

Pros

  • Lightweight thermal fabric still provides plenty of warm
  • Comfortable textured leg grippers
  • Great Cytech chamois

Cons

  • Can feel a little spacious around the crotch

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