Hot on the heels of my first ride in tights of the winter, a pair of bib tights arrived for test. Sent in by British brand Le Col, they feature something I have never previously cared for in bib-tights: a chamois insert. Scarred more than a decade ago by an experience with bib-tights containing an insert, I have avoided them ever since.
And in doing so have lost out, according to Le Col’s Yanto Barker. He assured me that he finds tights with an insert far more comfortable than those without, which rely on a pair of shorts worn underneath to provide the required cushioning. Given the pleasing appearance of his tights and the unpleasantness of my recent tight-wearing experience, I gave in and pulled them on.
There followed something of a Eureka moment, during which I forgot all about the bad experience of yore and got on with enjoying the absence of that sagging, sliding down sensation I recently found so disagreeable. Fact is, having just the one layer obviates the possibility of one sliding over another; nothing of the sort happens with these tights, which stay in place while riding both in and out of the saddle and, impressively, when riding over bumps.
Indeed, they feel much like a longer version of bib-three quarters, which is exactly what they are. There is, of course, one disadvantage over plain tights worn over shorts; tights with an insert must be washed as frequently as the shorts, whereas the plain item may be worn several times before laundering.
Detailing on the Le Col tights includes reflective patches on the thighs, flat seams with contrasting stitching and panels cut to site the seams either side of the knee for comfort and mobility. The back of the knee is tailored with a dart to reduce bunching. The shoulder straps are comfortably long and wide enough to spread their load, while the lower cuffs are zip-free and equipped with grippers for a snug, secure fit. The insert is Le Col’s excellent regular model and the fabric a Roubaix-style Lycra warm enough for temperatures just above freezing. The size Large pair on test are exactly that.
Le Col Arcus Bib-Tights £149.99