Pactimo RFLX thermal 3/4 bib tights – review - Road Cycling UK

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Pactimo RFLX thermal 3/4 bib tights – review

Great performing tights from Pactimo that show why a 3/4 set are a really versatile piece of kit

While only the very brave – or very mad – ride through the cooler seasons with their knees exposed, most of us prefer to cover up a little more when the weather’s really cold. There are a number of ways to do this, the premier one being a set of quality bib tights, but another solid option is a set of thermal bib shorts with knee warmers.

And as wonderfully pro as shorts with warmers looks, it’s not for everyone and if that’s the case then 3/4 length tights are the way forward. Plus, in all honesty, 3/4 tights are pretty good for year-round riding, whether it’s chilly summer mornings or even deep winter, as that small section on your calves between socks and leg openings isn’t the most important part of your body to keep warm.

Plus, in the rain, 3/4 tights can actually be a good thing. Anyone who’s had the misfortune to ride with insulated tights in the rain knows that wet material against the skin actually makes you colder, and that particular section of the tights is the one that soaks up the greatest amount of water. As such, it’s often better to keep the lower legs uncovered when the heavens open. Of course, tights with waterproof lower legs help there, too.

3/4 bib tights are a solid choice in a wide variety of conditions. Jaunty, tranquillo pose on the top tube is optional

The main material in these tights is an Italian-made Miti Lombardia stretch fabric (no, that means nothing to me either). While the technical name might not illuminate very much, in practice what it means is that it’s a nice and stretchy fleece-backed fabric that feels great against the skin. The fit is brilliant, with no bunching anywhere – especially behind the knees – and even the bib straps are fleece-backed making them both comfortable and warm.

  • Specification

  • Price: £110
  • Size tested: M
  • Sizes available: S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Website: Pactimo
  • UK Distributor: Dig Deep Coaching

One thing about these tights that does irritate me is the hyper reflective strip on the left leg. Pactimo are an American firm, and as you all know in the US they drive on the right hand side of the road. That means your left leg is very firmly in the proverbial firing line for car headlights and having a reflective strip on that leg is a very good idea indeed.

But in the UK it means that any pedestrians who happen to be wandering around with torches get a full blast of reflective power, while drivers are left wondering why everyone on the pavement seems to be shielding their eyes. Realistically, it might not be feasible to switch the design up specifically for the UK given that Pactimo aren’t exactly a Nike-sized operation, but it would have been nice. Or, you know, just put one on both legs. They do, however, have the same hyper-reflective material on both the leg grippers, so there are high-vis touches that work no matter when you’re riding.

The high reflective strip on the left leg is a great touch, but it would be far more useful to UK riders if it were on the other side…

 

Those grippers themselves are superb, 4.5cm silicone bands which are sticky enough that they’ll catch on your skin as you pull the tights on. They hold the legs in place wonderfully which – as anyone who’d ridden in knee warmers before knows – isn’t easy as they do tend to ride up. No such trouble here.

Chamois is by Italian pad gurus CyTech, an ‘Elastic Interface Liege Carbonium’ chamois to be exact, and there are no problems with comfort at all. Pactimo use CyTech pads in all of their kit, and seem to have a knack for choosing exceptionally good ones as this offers more than enough comfort for rides of any distance.

The leg grippers are wide, super strong and hyper reflective to boot – what’s not to like?

Conclusion

Another excellent piece of kit from Pactimo. Everything about these 3/4 tights screams quality and they’re a set of tights that I’ll be keen to spend as much time in as possible before the weather warms up too much. As a mid-season set of tights

Pros

– Excellent leg grippers
– Superb chamois
– Warm and comfortable

Cons

– Left leg reflective strip needs to be on the other side for UK riding

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