Your cycling wardrobe is something that will increase in size, style and use over time. The more you ride, the more kit you require and the more you learn, the more you will begin to consider more carefully what is best suited for your style of riding.
With plenty of choices in material, chamois, fit and style, your shorts are one of the most important purchases you’ll make. Comfort of course is essential, but with most cycling related decisions, looks can be just as important!
Price plays an important part with any potential purchase and it is true to say that in most cases, you get what you pay for. If you invest in a decent pair of shorts from the outset, your backside will thank you in the long run. An inexpensive pair of tights with a token chamois will be fine for the quick run to the shops, but if you’re serious about putting the miles in, then you need to spend accordingly.
Bibs are regarded as the most comfortable, no elastic to dig into your waste when in the riding position and they keep your back warmer on colder days too. Women especially tend to shy away from these as ‘comfort breaks’ can be a bit of a logistical nightmare, but certain manufacturers have recently developed ways to make nipping behind the farmers fence easier. For women willing to take the plunge into the realms of bib tights, Gore Bike Wear have created a unique one-zip system for easy opening during those much needed breaks.
As tights are generally used when the days are cooler the fabric can play a very important role. Many are ‘brushed’ on the inside giving the fabric a softer, warmer feel. Roubaix fabric is generally much thicker and again has a brushed or fleece like feel on the inside for protection against the cold. In order to ensure you stay warm a good set of tights will also offer good moisture transfer. A wet set of bibs will just make you feel even colder.
Another good material to look for is something that has windproof panels. This can really keep you warm on those cold days and if they have a fleece lining even better.
Castelli have created the ultimate warrior in winter tights, the Castelli Fluido Nanoflex Bib Tights uses their patented Nanoflex fabric making the tights breathable and warm, but also windproof and water resistant, meaning you stay comfortable in all winter weather, that is if you are brave enough to go outside on a cold, wet winters day.
Chamois is important on winter tights; many riders have base miles to reach in winter training but tend to shy away from long distances. But those brave enough to last out all day can look for a good foam or gel based chamois with a good antibacterial finish. Most descriptions now offer detail as to the length of ride a chamois is good for, but 60 miles or so will likely be suitable for most styles of padding. PBK Elite Cycling Bib Tights have a great performance chamois for medium distances and are perfect for the winter cyclist who does after work commuting and training rides as they are also inexpensive without lacking quality.
Long legs and bibs can restrict movement so a set of tights that have an ergonomic or anatomical cut is best. Craft Performance Bike Storm Cycling Bib Tights have been created with a riding position in mind. Although they may feel a bit odd when stood up, once in the saddle their design really works giving you optimum freedom of movement.
Winter riding can be enjoyable with the right bit of kit. Rather then it being a chore you can look forward to getting outside, even when the darkness surrounds you. Plus, keep fit over the winter and when spring arrives you will out ride those who decided to stay inside by the fire.