Tights are a great way to stay warm on the bike, or any activity for that matter. Some people will count on tights for just about any winter activity outdoors, and it makes a lot of sense at the end of the day.
When looking specifically for cycling tights, they need to fit in just the right way. People do not want to be adjusting them all the time, and they also need to keep the same level of warmth that a person is expecting.
Here is a look at the best of the best right now, and all are worth considering for those trying to bike in as many months out of the year as possible.
Best Bib Tights for Winter Cycling
This article starts with bib tights for winter cycling, as they provide the most coverage overall. Those who want to stay as warm as possible and feel well protected will go with this type of coverage.
They might be a little hard to get used to at first, but it certainly helps keep warm and be as active as possible.
1. Gore Wear C3
Pound for pound, the Gore Wear C3 (Amazon) are among the best options for people who have a decent amount of money to spend on winter cycling tights.
They come in versions for both men and women, and multiple sizes so that people can get just the right fit. They are extremely durable, which helps to offset the price tag a bit.
Simply put, as long as a person does not have any freak accidents with them, they will hold up for a long time.
The hidden features in a pretty basic setup are what sets these tights apart from everything else. It starts with putting it on, as the bib straps use a hook closure in the front instead of the back.
It is very comfortable put on, and it stays where it should during the entire ride. Only when a person has to take it off quickly will it start to move around.
The waist area is also very well put together, with zippers to open things up if a trip to the bathroom is necessary. This really comes in handy for those who do not want to have to take everything off in the middle of a ride.
In the actual tight area around the legs, these work very well. There is good layering to the tights, and the build around the knees offers excellent mobility. A person will never feel restricted at all, and there is no stretching out of the tights either.
Other bonus features include some nice reflective strips for visibility and reinforcement in the most heavily used areas. If a person can fit these into the budget, it is certainly worth putting them on the shortlist.
Gore is a trusted name that has put out many different bike-related accessories, and this is the latest.
- Reinforcement in the right areas.
- Easy to take on and off.
- Reflective strips help with disability.
- A little on the expensive side.
- Can get too warm if the temperature rises.
2. Pearl Izumi Amfib Cycling Bib Tights
Sitting in the same price range as the tights above are these options from Pearl Izumi (Amazon). They use premium fabric with these tights so that it feels comfortable everywhere on the body.
It can sometimes be challenging and even nerve-racking to purchase tights meant to go so close to the body, but these work exactly how they should.
There is no break-in period whatsoever with these tights, as people can get going right away. That is good news for those who do not want to have to hassle with any types of changes to their riding, as they can get everything going the way it should.
One feature that people may not realize until they actually try it on for the first time is that there are very few seams on these tights whatsoever.
That means less of a chance of anything rubbing against the body and feeling uncomfortable. In fact, the bib straps that they use are made from one piece of fabric, so there are no seams whatsoever in one of the most troublesome areas for other brands.
The company sells both padded and unpadded versions for those who want to have a little bit of flexibility. It certainly helps to go with the unpadded version if people are looking to be as light as possible.
But there is nothing wrong with having some protection level when out there on a bike. No one wants to be too vulnerable that they might end up hurting themselves if they are not careful.
- Very few seams.
- Padded and unpadded version.
- Feels lightweight.
- Trends on the expensive side.
- Can’t handle heavy precipitation.
3. Rapha Core Winter Tight
The great thing about these pair of tights is that it shows that big tights are not always incredibly expensive.
There are some values out there, and although a person might have to make a few sacrifices here and there, it is mostly going to be a good, comfortable ride overall.
These are some of the cheapest options out there, but they still offer some features that more expensive options have.
For example, the fabric is still very comfortable, especially in the heaviest tested areas. It is a brushed nylon fleece, and it does a great job of offering compression and keeping the muscles warm.
Padding is one area where people are making a little bit of a sacrifice when they go with the cheaper option. The good news is that if a person really wants padding with Rapha’s winter bib tights, they can get that in more premium options if they want.
It is a small detail that some people are going to really want to have so that they feel like they are comfortable at all times, while others are just going to overlook it.
All in all, these tights are great for people who are starting out and wanting to see what bib tights are all about. They may not be the best to last a long time, but they are worth checking out.
- Very affordable.
- The fabric feels premium.
- Pretty lightweight while providing warmth.
- Padding is not that great.
- Not the most durable.
Best Tights for Winter Cycling
Not everyone needs to have bibs when they are riding in the winter. For some, they are just looking for warmth in the leg area, and simple tights will do a great job with that.
Not only is this more affordable, but they are easy to take on and off. They work much like standard tights for any other physical activity, but they might be a little thicker because they are meant to provide warmth over everything.
1. 7Mesh Hollyburn Tights (Women)
These are very easy to slip on for those days that are just a little bit colder than some people realize. They act a lot as legwarmers would for a cyclist, but they are tight enough so that even during long rides, they do not move around.
If it does get too warm, they are pretty easy to slip off, and that is always convenient so that people do not have to stop their ride right in the middle.
The tights are very soft and stretchy, and even though they are made for women in mind, men can use them too if they get the right size.
They are designed more for riding in the temperatures right around freezing, but some people will go a little bit lower or a little bit higher depending on their threshold of tolerating coldness.
Some multipurpose tights do not have reflective details for cycling, but fortunately, these do. That is great news for people who are going to be riding in twilight or even nine hours.
Even though they are a pretty simple design overall, people should know that these are going to last a long time.
They are a little on the expensive side compared to other leg warmers, but it is a premium option that is worth the investment if a person wants one pair of go-to options to choose from.
- Easy to take on and off when necessary.
- Warm without adding too much extra bulk.
- Includes reflective details.
- It Will not work for really cold temperatures.
- Some believe they are too expensive for a leg warmer alternative.
2. Pearl Izumi Ride Elite Thermal Cycling Tights
Pearl Izumi (Amazon) is making the list for the second time, but these are for those who do not want to go with bib tights necessarily.
These sit right at the waist, and they are a premium option that feels right the entire time. It provides great insulation overall, and there is considerable comfortability as well.
Going with this type of construction is certainly great for those who do not want to suffer too much when the temperature goes a little bit below freezing.
They will hold up against really extreme temperatures, but they do a great job of making sure the people can ride as much as they would like.
The pads included with these tights are also great, meaning that people do not have to spend extra money on protection. The padding is also streamlined so that it does not ever feel like it is too overwhelming.
There is plenty of flexibility on these tights from all angles so that a person never feels restricted. All in all, it is a good pair to go with that does not feel like it is too overwhelming for people who do not want to feel too heavy when they are layering up for the winter.
- Premium company.
- The fabric feels outstanding.
- 360 reflectivity.
- Can’t handle temperatures too much below freezing./
- Could be slightly more breathable.
3. Przewalski 4d Cycling Tights
Just like with the bib tights, the last option is for those who want to stay on a pretty tight budget. These are one of the cheapest options out there that perform well, which is great for people who do not want to spend any more money on cycling-related accessories.
The construction of these Przewalski 4d Cycling Tights (Amazon) is pretty simple, with two layers available so that people feel comfortable and mobile. The outer layer is very stretchy, so there is no restricted feel to riding around at all.
Inside is a little bit of fleece, which keeps people pretty warm overall. It will not be as warming as some of the other options out there, but it still does a pretty good job.
Where these tights really outperform its price tag comes down to the level of compression that people will start to enjoy more and more.
They fit exactly as they should, and if a person gets the right size, they will not have to make any adjustments whatsoever when they are riding around.
Many cheap options are not the greatest at providing tight fits, but these exceed expectations. All in all, it is worth picking a pair of these up as a spare or to try out cycling tights for the first time.
- Very affordable.
- Great fit.
- Provide quality warmth all-around.
- Not the most durable.
- Limited colors and designs.
Tips on The Right Winter Insulated Cycling Tights & Bibs
Since tights are such a tight fit, there are a lot of people out there who need to make sure they pay attention to all the right buying tips beforehand.
What might feel comfortable right now is not going to feel comfortable during long rides, so some buying tips are necessary. Not sure which options are best? Here is a great place to start.
Tights are going to be fairly expensive if they are built for warmth. This is definitely something to consider, as people are already spending a lot of money on many other winter items for cycling as well.
Another thing to keep in mind is that they are not the most durable options for people trying to stay warm. It would be great to get a lot of uses out of tights, but they can start to rip easily after logging several wears as time goes on.
Make sure to pay attention to durability overall, because people will not want to be babying clothing that they are putting on underneath everything else they wear.
The best prices will be online, as shops are notorious for charging a little bit more money overall. As long as the person is not getting ripped off too much, they might find the convenience to be worth the extra price.
There is also the opportunity to try them on in some scenarios before buying.
The tightness of tights can make a big difference in whether or not they are worth the investment in the long run. It is very hard to mimic actual conditions, but wear them for a while to make a judgment on whether or not they are effective.
Some people will try them on for a brief time and feel that they are comfortable. A cyclist will not really know this until they are wearing them for a couple of hours and actually moving around.
Of course, doing this type of testing will likely set a person up for having to eat the cost. It is a small price to pay, as most people invest in multiple shorts and tights as well.
That means that when the next ones are purchased, a person has a much better idea of what works and what does not.
Pick Out the Best Fabric
A lot of the synthetic performance fibers are going to work the best in situations like winter bike riding. That is because they are a little more durable, have a better stretch, and can even provide some moisture-wicking opportunities if there is a lot of sweat.
With that said, some people also like natural fibers because they tend to be just a little bit warmer. There are also ethical reasons why people will pick one type of fabric over something else.
Additionally, people have allergies that are pretty specific to certain types of fibers, so keep that in mind as well. Always read the label if they are any ways of possibly being irritated by the provided fabric.
Waterproofing, Windproofing, and more
Any type of waterproofing and windproofing will cost a little bit extra money, but it could be worth it in the end. If people are mostly going to be riding on pretty dry routes, they might not need to splurge for the extra.
However, those going out on the snow a lot or feel like they are going to get rained on should invest in something that offers both.
What does a better job of keeping people warm? With all things being equal, it is probably the windproofing over the waterproofing.
No matter what conditions a person is riding in, there will be at least a little bit of wind that will drop the temperature. Some wind level is created by simply riding and getting a bit of a breeze in that regard.
While others will avoid riding if it is too wet, there is no avoiding any type of wind dropping the temperature even more.
Bib or No Bib
A bib with winter tights will provide more coverage, and it can come with other features as well. There are pockets on most bib tights, and an additional layer means that a person might lose other layers somewhere else.
With that said, not everyone likes the feel of bib tights when they are riding. It can be a little difficult to suit up, and even the drop tail part of the bib might be frustrating to deal with.
Companies are always making sure that these are easier and easier to deal with when on the go, but they do take some practice to get used to everything.
Most tights are pretty much straightforward, but there are added options like zippers, pockets, and more. If a person does not want to have to deal with any of that, getting tights that are pretty streamlined is a way to go as well.
However, since there is some need for storage when riding a bike, going with zippers and pockets included can help.
No one should ever look past visibility when they are shopping for cycling tights. Having at least some form of reflective material on the tights will allow people to be seen so that there are no incidents out there on the course.
It might not be the only way to be seen, but it certainly helps to have that built in.
For those who do not have tights that have any sort of reflective material on them, they should look into something cheap that they can put on their body to do exactly that.
Since most do not want to remember that every single time they go on a ride, it is better just to look for tights that include it.