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The Gore C3 3/4 Bib Tights+ are a good choice when the weather is too cold for shorts but too warm for tights, though the quite thin material does limit their ability to keep you warm when the temperature drops into single figures. In the right conditions, though, their snug fit and great chamois mean they're comfortable for longer training rides. For colder riding, you might want to check out our guide to the best winter bib tights.
During the transitional months, many riders lean towards shorts and leg warmers or shorts and knee warmers. And I was exactly the same until I tried these Gore 3/4s.
The trouble with shorts and warmers is the shorts can slide up your leg as the grippers struggle to hold onto your warmers. With 3/4s that issue is avoided, and there are no seams around the thigh area.
Gore hasn't cited an ideal temperature range for these, but I found the optimum temperature to be around the low teens. Although I could cope with these in high single digits, I would have preferred tights at that point, while above 16°C I would prefer to ride in knee warmers, as I can always strip them off mid-ride.
At 194g, they are a light piece of kit to have. But this has its downsides, as the material is very thin, and I could definitely feel a chilly breeze – which we get a lot of here in South Wales during the autumn. On the flipside, when on a training ride scattered with various efforts at FTP, the extra breathability of the tights meant I wasn't getting overly hot and sweaty.
Gore has put its Active comfort pad in the tights, and it's excellent. I experienced no discomfort while wearing these tights, even during longer, grippier rides. This isn't even Gore's top pad and I have no complaints about it; it's thin, comfy, and doesn't sag when you are walking into the café.
Laser-cut legs mean no doubling back on material for the hems, for an extra aero feel to the tights. They fit well all around the leg with no baggy areas.
The super-stretchy bib straps mean they have plenty of scope for riders with longer torsos, while a low-cut front also means nature breaks are easily done by just pulling down on the stretchy material.
While £89.99 might seem a lot for a pair of 3/4s, given that you won't need to buy leg/knee warmers to accompany them, you are getting a good product for the money.
Primal's Dawn bib knickers, which Stu tested a few years ago, are cheaper – still £75 as they were in 2018 – but others are more, and some a lot more: Castelli's Tutto Nano 3/4s are £140 and Stolen Goat's Orkaan 3/4 bib tights are £120, though their fleece-lined inner provides more warmth as the temperatures creep down into single digits. These will be more suitable if you don't fancy wearing tights until it is really cold. But they are 90g heavier than the Gore 3/4s, as well as £30 more.
The Gores are also a tenner less than the Endura FS260-Pro Thermo Bibknickers, now £99.99. Like the Stolen Goats, these are also fleece lined and have a front zipper to help with toilet breaks, and Hollis was impressed with their performance, though he did say that they come up a bit short.
If you don't like the annoyance of your shorts sliding up your leg/knee warmers, then a pair of 3/4s are a great addition to your wardrobe. If, like me, you're in tights as soon as it gets below 10°C, then the Gore 3/4 Bib Tights+ are ideal as you will be able to maximise their use in milder temperatures. However, any colder and their scope is limited, and I'd suggest you look at the other options I mentioned with their fleece linings.
Good wardrobe essential for the transitional months, but not the warmest
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore C3 3/4 Bib Tights+
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
Gore says: "On those days when full-length tights are overkill and you don't want the hassle of knee warmers, these 3/4 length bib tights are your ticket. Shin-length coverage, a comfortable chamois and a blend of breathable fabrics used throughout: these bib tights will be your favorite come spring or those early morning commutes into the office.
"Shorter than full tights, longer than shorts: The perfect amount of coverage and comfort for chilly mornings or those transition months."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
ACTIVE Comfort seat insert
Highly functional material with good next-to-skin comfort
Full mesh bib construction for optimum fit and breathability
Flat hem provides optimum fit and comfort
Optimised seam placement for comfort
Grip elastic at waist hem for snug fit
Weight: 194 grams
ACTIVE Comfort Seat Pad
Main Fabric: 80% Polyamide, 20% Elastane
Mesh: 95% Polyester, 5% Elastane
Done ~700km in these so far, still holding up well.
Grippers around the calf/shin keep them securely in place.
Size up well, and the bib straps have plenty of stretch in them.
No unnecessary 'bulk'.
No itching from the labels and seams, chamois is thin but felt comfy even after some five-hour rides.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues. Still look brand new.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
On the whole, ideal for nippy days especially come spring, but material is pretty thin so anything below 12/13°C and you might have wished you opted for tights.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The snug fit around the calf/shin really keeps the tights in place all ride.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Material being so thin means their ability to keep you warm is limited.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
In the middle of the 3/4 tights market. Not as cheap as Primal's Dawn bib knickers but cheaper than Stolen Goat's Orkaan 3/4s and Castelli's Tutto Nano 3/4s.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are a good addition to the wardrobe for slightly chilly spring/autumn rides. They fit well, the stretchy bib section is nice and comfy. Material is a bit thin which can allow cold air to get through.
About the tester
I usually ride: Dolan Rebus My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, Always love some off-road with some mates.