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Kalf Club thermal bibtights

30 Jan 2018
Verdict:

A near-perfect pair of bib tights that can even open the eye of the traditionalists

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£100
For 
High waist keeps you warm, hi-vis details, comfortable chammy, sturdy ankle grippers
Against 
Came undone in heavy rain

Buy Kalf Club thermal bibtights now from Evans Cycles

Some of us within the cycling world would consider the wearing of bibtights as sacrilege. Bibshorts only, maybe a legwarmer and maybe a kneewarmer at a stretch. Brian Holm says 'tights are for ballerinas' after all.

Yet when a little-known company like British apparel brand Kalf, exclusive to Evans Cycles, comes along and gives you its Kalf Club thermal bibtights, then it becomes a rule hard not to break.

A classic black design with subtle hi-vis features, a high waist that keeps you warm and industrial-strength ankle grippers. Even the biggest traditionalists may have their eyes opened.

Style but also substance

Those holding a conservative view of what should and should not be worn by a cyclist will firstly be relieved to hear that these bibtights come in black and personally, so am I.

Anything but black for a pair of winter bibtights doesn't make much sense considering the conditions you will be riding in. Most lanes around Britain are washed with mud and even on the shortest of rides, it's unlikely you will avoid being spattered brown.

Any colour but black (except brown itself) will show the mud stains clearly, so by sticking with black Kalf is helping you keep some dignity.

Being all black also allows these bibtights to be worn with any jersey or jacket. No crimes against cycling fashion to me made here as these bibtights can be easily paired with the understated or the overly-flash.

Critics will say that the constant threat of low light in winter makes black far from the ideal colour to be used for winter gear. Thankfully, Kalf has addressed this by placing some stylish, yet nifty hi-vis chevrons on both calfs.

These provide a constant moving target for light to catch, keeping you visible to all other road users. 

Creature comforts

The weather in Britain over the last few months has been rather temperamental with endless amounts of wind, rain and cold yet these Kalf bibtights have risen to the occasion on most times of asking.

Regardless of how cold the temperature is, the Italian fleece lining proves up to the task, keeping me warm enough to keep the feeling in my legs without overheating.

Even on a series of long descents into freezing cold wind, the tights kept me toasty. Unfortunately this wasn't the case for my red raw hands or cheeks.

This was also helped by the high waisted nature of the tights. When zipped up, the tights come up to your ribs, helping provide an extra layer on your upper half which is more than welcomed during winter and actually proves comfortable and secure.

This fleece lining also made for a comfortable wear, similar to the feel of a towelling robe. The legs are soft and suitably stretchy, like tights should be, hugging your pins while keeping them warm and irritation-free.

The bibtights had enough defence to keep me dry in drizzle and even in slightly heavier rain yet when the skies did open, their defences were breached with my calfs and thighs getting damp. One of only very few criticisms.

Following the trend of naming products after famous cycling landmarks - Roubaix winter bibshorts springs to mind - Kalf has named its chammy after Bastogne, made famous for being the turning point in the 258km Liege-Bastogne-Liege Monument.

This naming seems suitably apt as the 'multi-density' chamois pad is among one of the most comfortable I have tested. Thick enough to keep you planted comfortably to the saddle without interfering with your pedal stroke. Perfect for 260km in the Belgian Ardennes.

While all this kept me happy, the thing that drew the biggest smile from my face were the silicon strips attached to the ankle.

Bibtights have the tendency to creep up your leg on long, intense rides, especially if they have a zipped ankle entry. Kalf has remedied this issue of mine with what I can only describe as industrial-strength ankle grippers.

Not matter how hard you pedalled or danced out of the saddle the tights remained glued in place, not budging an inch.

At £100, Kalf has released something that is very competitively priced. Just look over the rival brand dhb whose likewise bibtights retail at £100.

Move on to the more established Italian brands and you could be paying double.

The Kalf Club thermal bibtights will see you through the majority of winter and also get you out of jail on the colder days in spring and autumn.

They may not keep you a 100% dry (seldom does anything) but they will keep you warm, comfortable, seen and stylish.

Whether the traditionalists like Brian Holm will be swayed away from their bibshorts/leg warmer combos remains to be seen. But Brian Holm looks like the kind of guy to break rules to me and if he does, he should with the Kalf thermal bibtights.

Size tested: Large (Available S-XXXL)
Weight: 310g (L)

Buy Kalf Club thermal bibtights now from Evans Cycles

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