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Buyer's guide: best winter jacket and bibtights combos

BikesEtc
1 Feb 2018

We round up some the best (and best looking) new winter jackets and bibtights on the market

It may be colder than a polar bear’s toenails outside, but there’s no excuse for not looking your best every time you go out on the bike.

Sure, we get that you want to dress up warm, but just as in summer you’d always take care to co-ordinate your lightweight jersey and shorts, the same rule applies in winter when it’s cold enough to warrant turning to the full-length bibtights and long-sleeve thermal softshell jackets.

The safest option from a style point of view is plain black go-with-anything bibtights to partner your favourite jersey or jacket, but there’s something just that bit classier about a full matching outfit.

So we’ve rounded up some of the smartest softshell jackets and matching bibtights currently out there to see if they perform as well as they look.

All use thermal fabrics with weatherproof treatments to ensure you stay toasty while also offering all the same functional zips, pockets and high-tech pads you’d expect from your favourite summer kit, at a range of prices to suit all budgets.

 

Alé R-EV1 Rumbles jacket and bibtights

What they say: The jacket features the optimised Windtex membrane that actively blocks wind and water, so you can endure the elements in all-round comfort, and a bibtight that will dampen vibrations on unforgiving roads whilst effectively regulating body temperature.

What we say: Wow! This combo demands inclusion for looks alone. Although it’s available in more sober colourways, this orange version makes us think of the 70s, and we don’t mean that in a bad way!

Looks aside, though, how does it perform? Well, there’s nothing remotely last century about the way this has been put together.

Made from a combination of Alé’s Laminated 3L and Stelvio carbon weave, the jacket is essentially made up of three layers: an aerodynamic outer layer that also keeps warmth in and rain out; a middle membrane made of Windtex which, as its name suggest, blocks icy blasts while also wicking away moisture; and a Super Roubaix carbon inner that retains heat and also claims to help lactic acid build-up.

A high neck, complete with zip garage, fitted sleeves and a storm flap behind the zip all add to its weather-combatting capabilities while four pockets (including a zipped security one) take care of business at the back. Available in navy, green, red or orange.

The bibtights, meanwhile, use the same snug Super Roubaix carbon found in the jacket, which is better described as water-resistant than waterproof. Alé’s Double Ergo HF pad, meanwhile, offers levels of comfort that could be described as luxurious. Both are available in sizes S-XXL.

Verdict: If you don’t fancy looking like a comic-book superhero (hey, it’s a great look!) this superb winter combo does come in more sedate colours. 8/10

Jacket £180, bibtights £140 | paligap.cc

 

Madison Roadrace Apex softshell jacket / Sportive shell bibtights 

What they say: The heavyweight Apex softshell jacket is designed to keep you warm on the harshest of British winter days. The Sportive bibtight is the only choice when the weather turns really sour.

What we say: This combo opts to use panels to combat the varying problems of cold, wet, wind and moisture management.

At the front, over the shoulders and down the arms are highly effective windproof panels which are ideal for rebuffing winds and work hard to keep water out too.

Under the arms and across the back meanwhile are most porous panels intended to deal with maintaining body heat and providing the garment with better breathability.

With its high collar, elasticated cuffs, and sealed seams this is a jacket that will also look after you when you can see your breath.

A standard selection of four pockets including one zippered one line up round the back. Available in red or blue in sizes XS to XXL.

The bibtights, meanwhile, are particularly good, especially for the price. Offering water and windproof protection in all the right places while the Roubaix fleece lining (which extends all the way to the chest) is as comforting as it is comfortable.

They also feature Madison’s own 4G Gel Race chamois – which is more than up to the job – as well as integrated foot loops to keep things snug around your ankles plus an easy access zipper for when you need to take a tinkle!

Verdict: The bibtights make this combo a really attractive option, not least because of the price. 8.5/10

Jacket £114, bibtights £100 | madison.cc

 

Dhb Aeron Hybrid softshell / Roubaix bibtights

What they say: The new dhb Aeron Hybrid Softshell Jacket is designed for high-tempo cycling in cold conditions. The bibtights meanwhile are designed to keep you comfortable, warm and performing at your best through cold weather.

What we say: An impressive combo for the price. The jacket is made from a polyester elastane mix with a fleecy yet breathable Roubaix lining to the rear, while wind and water-resistant panels stand guard on the chest and arms.

Sealed seams, a storm guard behind the zip and close-fitting cuffs also keep the elements at bay. Cut wise, it’s designed to be somewhere between a jersey and a jacket (hence the hybrid name) to allow a more agile feeling, which it manages to do pretty well without ever sacrificing any of the qualities that’ll protect you from icy blasts and all but the worst downpours.

The zip garage is a welcome touch that prevents any irritating run-ins between fastener and chin. Four rear pockets including a zippered security one, all topped with a strip of reflective detailing complete the package.

Available in red or blue in sizes XS-XL. The bibtights offer a similar level of protection against the wind, also boasting a fleecy Roubaix lining that feels delightful against the skin, although didn’t prove to be particularly water resistant.

Its Tour Air chamois, meanwhile, is a lightweight foam pad that provides a solid (or should that be soft?) level of comfort on mid to long rides.

Verdict: Another superb value offering from dhb. If Christmas has left you cash strapped this will serve you well. 8/10

Jacket £80, bibtights £80 | wiggle.co.uk

 

Altura Podium Elite Thermo Shield jacket / Shield bibtights

What they say: A lightweight performance jacket with exceptional windproof properties, while water and wind protection is offered on our competition tight for maximum comfort in the most challenging of conditions.

What we say: This jacket offers excellent windproof and thermal properties while also doing an OK job of keeping the rain out. With five pockets to the rear – including a zippered security one – it has ample space to accommodate an additional waterproof option should you need it.

For cold, dry rides, though, this is ideal, coping well with dropping temperatures and spiteful wind chill on fast descents with ease.

Which given how lightweight the fabric feels is surprising until you remember this is made by Altura, using its Thermo technology which we know from experience maintains core temperature brilliantly, wicking away sweat to keep you warm and comfortable even when the mercury dips below the 0°C mark.

Available in yellow and black and red and black and sizes S-XXL Altura Thermo tech is again used in the bibtights, with the addition of Altura Shield to ensure they’re fully wind and waterproof, and Altura Dry which banishes sweat.

The pad, meanwhile, is Altura’s 3-D pro, a decent one-size-fits-all option. Other neat features include silicone grippers at the ankles and two pockets at the rear for extra storage. Available in sizes S-XXL. 

Verdict: A great combo for cold, dry rides. If you’re expecting wetter weather, though, pack an extra waterproof. 8/10

Jacket £110, bibtights £140 | zyrofisher.co.uk

 


Pearl Izumi Men's Elite Escape softshell jacket / Pro Pursuit bibtights

What they say: For riders looking for superior weather protection at a good price point, the Elite Escape Softshell Jacket provides an excellent balance of style and function.

What we say: This jacket uses a variety of panels to resolve the problem of repelling rain and keeping warmth in while also being breathable.

Across the front, over the shoulders and down the arms, an effective wind and waterproof material has been used that sees all but the heaviest of rain (no pun intended) pearling off. Under the arms, in the centre of the back and down the inside of the arms, is a more porous material which allows for better thermoregulation, retaining warmth while also allowing the garment greater breathability.

The result is solid enough to take on cold, windy rides in temperatures that dip down towards the zero mark. One big zippered pocket at the back and two smaller ones at the front provide decent space for on-ride essentials.

Available in red or yellow in sizes S-XL. The bibtights , meanwhile, use a similar approach with water and windproof panels protecting vulnerable parts on the legs while thermal panels help with core thermoregulation, although these have also been treated so as to be water resistant.

A Premium PRO Pursuit 1.1 Chamois uses multiple density foam for a pad that’s among the most comfortable on test.

Verdict: Although it’s on the pricey side, this is a highly capable combo that’s also great quality. A sound investment. 8/10

Jacket £130, bibtights £180 | madison.co.uk

 

Endura Pro SL Shell Thermal windproof jacket and biblong

What they say: High-stretch, windproof fabric with thermal lining on front and sleeves, with stretch thermal rear panels. The bibtights meanwhile are described as definitive windproof legwear offering multipad precision.

What we say: Endura’s based in Livingston, just west of Edinburgh. Freezing temperatures aren’t unknown in this part of Scotland in winter, with rain exceeding 15 days a month for 8 months of the year. Safe to say, then, that Endura’s designers know a fair bit about rubbish weather and that’s certainly reflected in these excellent garments.

First up that jacket. Made from a mix of technical material, it’s incredibly light and breathable. Its insulating properties mean that at temperatures as low 3°C you should be able to get away with just a base layer beneath.

Wind and waterproofing are also impressive, with a host of design licks – including an additional strip at the back of that high collar, a storm flap behind the zip, sealed seams and close-fitting cuffs – to keep the weather out.

It also features four rear pockets including one zipped. Available in navy, red, green or black in sizes S-XXL. The bibtights proved similarly impressive – waterproof, windproof, and thermal in all the right places.

They’re comfy, too, with a range of chamois size options (S-XXL) and a 90-day ‘comfort’ guarantee to ensure you get the right fit. We also like the little zip at the front that prevents taking a comfort break mid-ride from turning into an ordeal.

Verdict: A superb combo. With intelligent layering beneath, it’ll keep you dry and warm throughout winter. 9/10

Jacket £150, bibtights £160 | endurasport.com

 

Santini Beta Winter Windstopper jacket / Vega 2.0 Aquazero bibtights

What they say: On the jacket, the combination of fabrics provide optimal protection from the elements without the need for bulky layers.

The bibtights meanwhile have a high stretch water-guard AquaZero treatment with grade 4 water repellence that’ll keep you riding even if the forecast is less than favourable.

What we say: First up a note on the size. We know we always bring this up where Santini products are concerned but we found this combo (the jacket in particular) to really come up on the small size, and we’d highly recommend you try before you buy to get the right fitting.

That said, this is a great option, particularly if you’re a super sleek rider who loves a fitted look. Made from insulated Gore Windstopper fabric this is a jacket that will serve you well in low single-digit temperatures as long as you’re wearing a good base layer and putting in a shift.

It performs solidly in mid to heavy downpours, too, so will keep out most of what the UK weather will sling at you, not least because of its sealed seams and the generous storm flap behind the zip.

Four pockets, including a zippered security one, bring up the rear. Available in sizes S-XXXL and in red, black or yellow.

The bibtights, meanwhile, are warm, waterproof and comfortable with the so-called GITEvo Chamois making for a particularly comfortable pad, its gel core protecting our bits and bobs nicely. 

Verdict: A performance-driven combo with a comfortable fit. We like the subtle reflective detailing, too. 7.5/10

Jacket £160, bibtights £140 | zyrofisher.co.uk

 

Giessegi Izoard jacket / Redoubte bibtights

What they say: Both wind and waterproof fabric, this Bielastic winter jacket, will also grant you freedom of movement and a better fit. While the tights represent an incredible pair of Winter bibtights that will serve you well for the commute or your training rides.

What we say: The outside of this jacket has a slightly rubberised feel to it that suggests not just durability, but also pliability and high levels of waterproofing.

And so it proves in saddle, allowing a good amount of movement without ever feeling restrictive and impeccable water-repelling credentials.

And as it’s made from something called Windoff fabric it should come as no surprise to learn that this is no slouch when it comes to keeping the breezes out either.

It’s excellent at retaining heat, too, thanks to the lining which is constructed in such a way as to trap body heat in much the same way as a fleecy Roubaix lining does.

There are three elasticated pockets to the rear plus a zippered one to keep your phone safe and dry, while the zip at the front is impressively easy to open and close with just one hand. Available in black, red or yellow is sizes S-XXXL.

By contrast, the bibtights offer decent levels of water resistance as opposed to being wholly waterproof. Being made from Carvico’s Vuelta four-way stretch, fleece-backed fabric they are incredibly snug and comfortable, featuring a barely noticeable foot stirrup and an HD ergonomic TRS chamois that offers plenty of support in all the right places. Available in sizes XS-XXL.

Verdict: The jacket performs impressively while the bibtights’ price make them particularly appealing. 7.5/10

Jacket £125, bibtights £60 | prendas.co.uk

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