Northwave Blade bib tights - review
Warm and with an excellent fit but the chamois is fairly basic
The Northwave Blade bib tights are warm longs for typical winter riding and an excellent fit ensures they're also very comfortable.
The tights are made from a fleece-lined lycra, which is common in winter bib tights. The fabric Northwave use is on the lighter side but the tights have remained warm in all but the worst conditions we've experienced this winter. I'd reach for something warmer in temperatures dipping down towards zero degrees, while, at the other end of the spectrum, I found their upper limit at about ten degrees on one of the few balmy days we've enjoyed.
The fleece-lined fabric extends high on the front, providing additional protection from the elements, but there's also plenty of stretch in the fabric (made up of 86 per cent polyamid and 14 per cent elastan, by the way) to ensure comfort breaks are, well, comfortable. There's also plenty of coverage for the kidneys, while the top half of the back panel and rear half of the bib straps are made from a mesh fabric, which means the parts of your body that aren't exposed to the wind don't get too warm. Both the mesh sections and the fleece-lined lycra do a good job at moving sweat away from the skin.
The chamois is described as an 'SRM-12 seatpad'. It's a minimal design and certainly not the most complex chamois out there. It's 11mm thick and there's a central channel and a number of lateral grooves to support and ease pressure on the perineum. Northwave say the pad is best suited to mid-length rides and we'd agree - the pad is fine for rides of two to three hours.
The fit, meanwhile, is excellent. The tights are constructed from a number of panels, sewn together using flat-lock stitching to ensure the seams don't rub against your skin, and Northwave have got the positioning of the panels spot on, for me at least, to ensure the tights follow the contours of your legs to there's no bunching of material.
Top marks in that regard, then, and the tights are otherwise an attractive package: warm enough for most winter and early spring conditions, with an excellent fit and, while the chamois is fairly basic, it's decent enough for most training rides.
UK distributor: i-ride