The best winter cycling tights & bib-tights A comparison of the best cold-weather biking pants for men and women Thermal, insulated, waterproof, padded, suited for MTB
Looking for the best pants for winter cycling? You are in the right place. In this article, we’ll give you some advice on how to choose the best cold-weather cycling tights for your needs.
Should we give up our hobby or primary means of transport just because of some cold weather? For some this is not even an option, many commuters in northern countries rely on their bicycle daily, and racers, even amateurs, cannot afford to give up training for three or more months (sure you could train indoor, but the real world is out there!).
Then there are long-distance bicycle tourers that will have to face all the harshest conditions, they also could use some good cycling tights to keeps themselves warm.
Choosing the right winter cycling pants is not too difficult, with this guide we hope to give you all the information to spend your money wisely and get the best tights or bib-tights for you.
In this article:
Gore C3 Thermo Bib Tights – Best waterproof winter bib-tights
Castelli Polare 2 Cycling Bib Tight – Best for real cold-weather cycling
AERO|TECH|DESIGNS ATD Bib Tights – Best Midrange
Souke Sports Men’s Bicycle Pants 4D – Best Cheap Padded Road Bike Tights
Pearl Izumi – Best Cycling Pants
Przewalski 4D Cycling Tights – Best Midrange Budget Pants
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Let’s start with a brand that is synonymous with quality winter gear. The Gore C3 Thermo bib-tights are simply the best winter bib-tights you can get for all weather conditions.
They are constructed with GORE-TEX fabric, completely waterproof, windproof, and extremely breathable. The seam-free mesh design avoids friction-caused skin irritation and improves comfort, while the pre-shaped knees ensure optimal fit and perfect performance.
The pad is one of the best available on the market, the ACTIVE VARIOUS seat insert is also manufactured using GORE WINDSTOPPER. Great comfort and warmth even during long rides in near-freezing temperatures (they might not keep warm in low subfreezing ranges).
The best waterproof bib-tights for serious cyclists
If you are looking for some cool winter bib tights but don’t want your wallet to cry too loud, here is a great product for a very cheap price.
The materials are a usual blend, 85% Polyamide, 15% Spandex, with a highly elastic and friction-free mash fabric on the back to fit all body types.
The cushion padding is not bad for this price, Italian materials, great breathability and strong load-bearing capacity. While the 19cm-long lower leg zipper protect the ankle, and ensure easy wearing and taking off. The reflective strip seems visible enough to make you noticeable in the darkness.
This winter tights are capable of keeping you warm even in sub freezing temperatures, but don’t wear it when is too warm outside.
If you live in a really cold area or plan to cycle through Siberia in winter, the Castelli Polare need to be your next bib-tights. These are some of the warmest cycling pants available, capable of keeping you comfortable way below the freezing point.
The Castelli Polare 2021, can fend off icy, biting wind gusts thanks to the Gore Windstopper X-Fast fabric, that is stretched across the front and wraps around the sides. Across the back, Castelli uses its soft, fleecy Thermoflex Core2 fabric for a perfect mix of breathability and warmth.
The Polare 2 tights also feature Castelli’s high-quality KISS Air chamois, a really astounding pad capable of offering comfortable support without adding extra bulk.
The bibs are lightweight and minimal, with reflective accents across the legs to increase the rider’s visibility to other road users.
The best cycling bib-tights for cold temperatures (low 20sF/-6°C)
In between the cheap pants from Santic and the expensive ones from Castelli or Gore, sits these mid-range cycling winter tights by American brand Aerotech Design.
The usual mix of polyester and lycra fabric (88% Polyester/12% Lycra) is assisted by stretch fleece tights made of high-end Zirotek, a fabric engineered after (not from) the polar bear’s fur.
This cycling pants made in the USA, can store the heat in the hollow core center to release it back to your body, their thermal insulating characteristics similar indeed to those of a polar bear fur.
The Aerotech ATD bib tights are comfortable and guarantee freedom of movement, the internal fabric is a brushed soft fleece which is pleasant on the skin.
The Black Pearl chamois pad is made from long-lasting open cell foam for anti-shock and anti-chafe comfort. It lets the sweat and perspiration move away from the body, and its durable construction resists abrasion, gives a smooth feeling, and it’s wrinkle-free. It will not harden or soften with use. It’s not the densest pad ever but certainly ok.
The zippers are nice and work well in the ankle area. The legs are straight and are not contoured by the knee and the seam runs up the front and back and not on the side. These are somehow odd features for cycling tights but they work just fine.
The Aerotech Design ATD bib tights can keep you warm in the mid 20sF (-4°C), they are warm, comfortable, and hold up to crashes and trail work.
Best Cycling Waist Tights for Cold Weather
If you don’t like bib tights, and prefer the freedom of normal waist-height pants, we selected for you two great options.
From leading brand in professional cycling clothing Pearl Izumi, here’s a great pair of biking pants for those who are allergic to bib-tights.
This mid-weight waist-lenght tight utilize ELITE Thermal fabric for insulation and warmth, with just enough breathability to keep you comfortable and dry in cool temperatures.
The construction is a mix of 56% Nylon, 30% Polyester, 14% Elastane, just right from around 40-50F, to a few degrees below freezing.
The built-in ELITE 3D Chamois pad stands up to Pearl Izumi high standards, comfortable, durable, and breathable you don’t have to layer it over cycling shorts. The contoured leg opening provides additional coverage at top of the foot and features 360-degree reflectivity.
Another cheap product if you’re on a budget and do not want bib-tights, our mention of honor for the best cheap waist-height cycling tights goes to Przewalski.
The two-layer construction consists of a stretchy external fabric and a fleece inner layer, making these tights pretty warm and capable of keeping you dry even for long-distance rides in the cold hearth of northern winters, more than warm enough to ride in temperatures as low as 25-30F.
The compression level is optimal and the chamois padding, also multi-layered, fit tight into all of the curves of the crotch area for an ergonomic fit.
How to choose the best winter cycling tights for your needs
Not all winters are the same, if you’re fortunate enough to live in the temperate zone and at low altitudes, you probably don’t need a fully insulated pair of tights. Riders living in areas where the winters are unforgiving should go for a pair of tights featuring wind-protection and maybe some water-resistance.
Bibstights offer more coverage protection from splashes and wind sneaking in by eliminating any chances of exposed skin around your midsection. The downsides are the added layer of difficulty when suiting up, and make going to the loo quite a pain. Luckily, many companies nowadays offer bibs with some sort of easy access for when nature calls.
The padding is also important, as we all got to know from personal experience. You could use a pair of cycling shorts underneath your tights or go for pants with built-in pads (we recommend the latter) There are two ways to wear a chamois with winter tights. Buy a pair with a chamois already built in, or layer non-chamois tights, like the 7Mesh Hollyburn, with your favorite pair of chamois shorts. Layering increases your chances of chafing, but opting for a pair of tights without a chamois can save you some dough—the Pearl Izumi Elite Escape AmFib sans chamois costs $20 less than the padded version.
Don’t forget visibility, most cycling tights in this list have more than adequate reflective elements for you to stay visible in low light conditions.