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Vermarc Roubaix ESL Bib Tights 3D – review

Belgian brand Vermarc may not be the best known clothing manufacturer to UK riders but, founded in 1977 and as kit supplier to the Etixx-QuickStep and Lotto-Soudal teams of Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel respectively, it's a company with a wealth of experience.

However, that doesn’t shine through with Vermarc’s Roubaix ESL bib tights.

The tights are aimed at the entry-level market at £58.99 and are made from a fleece-lined Roubaix fabric, with a simple construction and a rather unusual high waistband which is elasticated.

Vermarc say the tights are aimed at the ‘everyday rider’ but claims of ‘unbeatable comfort’ are unfortunately a little off the mark. When riding, the elasticated band doesn’t sit flush to the chest and abdomen, resulting in a rather uncomfortable degree of movement and irritation. It’s hard to understand why they aren’t shaped in the usual style, with a scoop front and flat seams.

Aside from the odd shape and construction, the general fit is ok. There’s a bit of bunching behind the knee and they’re a bit loose in places, which, while I’m no racing snake, suggests a fairly casual cut, and I could drop down from my normal size to get a closer fit.

Vermarc state a recommended ‘mid-season’ temperature range of eight to 16 degrees and, when riding in winter temperatures of eight to ten degrees, the tights have provided adequate warmth. The Roubaix fabric has a degree of water repellency – not a huge amount, perhaps 20 minutes of steady rain, but once wet the heat retention is fairly effective unless the wind is gusting or on a long descent.

The one-piece ‘3D-OF’ pad is fairly regular in design, and as I didn’t especially notice it being uncomfortable, proved to be a good enough chamois for general riding.

Other features of note are that although the high elasticated front is odd, the Roubaix fabric does extend across the whole back, which provides additional coverage for your kidneys, back and abdomen as a whole, and I noticed a little more warmth. Many manufacturers like to use a mesh material at the back to improve breathability under a jersey or jacket, so it’s swings and roundabouts, depending on the temperature, warmth of the fabric and your effort while riding. Otherwise, the bib straps are broad and the foot loops at the bottom of the tights sit well and don’t bunch or cause any irritation while riding.

Conclusion

As this price point, Vermarc Roubaix ESL Bib Tights 3D offer adequate performance and fit, but beware of the odd elasticated front. The tights are, in Vermarc’s words, aimed at ‘accommodating the widest variety of cyclist’ – but this one-shape-fits-all approach didn’t work for us and the vast majority of other tights’, including the rest of Vermarc’s range, adopt a different design for good reason.

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