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The Gore C5 Thermo Bib Tights have a more relaxed fit than some of the company's top-end designs, ideal for winter rides and commuting, where you're not looking for compression benefits or aero savings. Added touches like the 'cup technology' are a bonus in chilly winds, though these tights aren't designed for the coldest days of winter.
The C5s are well suited for late autumn and mild winter temperatures in the UK, from the low teens down to around 5°C. The main fabric keeps a decent amount of body heat trapped while being breathable, but it doesn't really cope with icy winds or when the temperature nudges zero.
Gore recommends these for 5-15°C and I'd say that is spot on. One area that's an exception to this is the 'cup'. Front to back at the groin area Gore has gone for its Windstopper fabric which, as you've no doubt worked out, stops the wind and also offers some water resistance.
It's a welcome touch. Large periods of a UK winter can actually be quite mild, especially where I'm based, down in the south west. Also, if it's mild, it's often wet.
If you've only got one bike and it doesn't take mudguards or you get caught out in the rain, having the inner thighs and groin area created out of Windstopper fabric is a huge bonus. It'll keep you dry on all but the wettest roads, and if water does soak through you'll remain warm in the vital sections. Keeping the pad dry really helps comfort, especially on longer rides.
The pad itself is quite simple, something we've seen a lot over the last 18 months. Gone are loads of various padding densities and channels running all over the place. What we basically have here is a saddle shape with a central channel running front to rear. The padding is firm and supportive, and I never felt any issues with bunching or hot spots.
In front of the foam, the pad changes material, from the orange you can see to black. It's thin, so barely noticeable, but it does a crucial job: stopping the central seam from rubbing where it shouldn't, something I had an issue with when wearing the Altura Progel Thermal tights.
Another issue I had with the Alturas was the seam behind the knee, and Gore has gone down the same route. Thankfully, the seams on the C5s aren't as pronounced, so irritation isn't a major issue, but I still prefer to see tights with seams either above or below the knees.
The Gores offer plenty of leg length and the ankle is kept in place with an elasticated cuff. It does make the tights a bit tough to pull over your feet, but once on they stay in place without riding up.
There is some neat reflective detailing at the bottom of the legs and the Gore logos, which is always welcome.
When it comes to the upper section, the bib straps are nice and wide, meaning absolutely no pressure points at all as they stretch over your shoulders, and the mesh back section helps to stop you overheating.
With an rrp of £119.99 the overall quality, as you'd expect, is high. Everything is well stitched, and durability seems good, with no signs of wear where they have been in contact with the saddle. They do have some tough opposition at this price point, though.
Sportful's Bodyfit Pro bib tights are slightly more at £125 and don't have any windproofing as such, but they do use a thicker fabric for the front-facing panels, which gives them a slightly wider temperature range than the Gores. I'd say the comfort is slightly better, too.
I also really like the Bioracer Spitfire Tempest Protect tights that I tested at the beginning of the year. They cost a bit more at £132, but you are getting full windproofing, and thanks to the multi-panel design they are very comfortable with no irritating seam positioning.
There's also competition from their own stable – Paul found their slim-fit C3 Thermo siblings really comfortable – even with their Active Comfort pad, the one 'compromise' to get them under £100 – £10.01 under, to be precise: their rrp is £89.99.
Overall, the C5s are good quality tights for milder winter conditions, doing the job they're designed to well, but they do face some tough opposition at this price.
High quality bib tights that cope well with milder winter conditions
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore C5 Thermo Bib Tights
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Gore says, "Compacting thermal bib tights with DWR and WINDSTOPPER® fabric along the groin protect from cold and road spray while insulating and supporting your muscles. A breathable WINDSTOPPER ® cup offers additional wind and spray protection while creating space. For riders tackling endurance rides in harsh conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Cup Technology: highly breathable, preformed windproof front for optimum comfort
DWR treatment of the fabric
Fast drying material on bibs
Inseam length 71,5 cm / 28.1 inches
New draped design with reduced seams and increased stretch comfort
Mesh insert in back for optimum ventilation
Spray protection along the groin and inner thigh
Stretch material for freedom of movement
Thermo-stretch functional fabric
ADVANCED Brand Core seat insert with GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Cup
Sizing corresponds to Gore's chart.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The tights have been through plenty of wash cycles with no issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They have a decent balance of warmth and breathabilty.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Windstopper section is ideal if you aren't using mudguards in the wet.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Seams behind the knees.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For around the same sort of money you can get tights with a better cut and fit from the likes of Sportful and Bioracer that I've mentioned in the review. Others deliver some excellent performance, too, for less money – Lusso's Classic Thermals are just £85. And the Gore C3 Thermos are £89.99.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, especially for shorter rides.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are decent tights for milder winter days; they're well made and do the job they're designed to, with the use of Windstopper material in key areas a bonus on cold and wet days. They're not as good value as some, though, including their C3 siblings.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!