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Le Col Women’s Hors Categorie Bib Tights

9
£220.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Very well-fitting and comfy thermally lined bibs – a worthwhile investment
Very comfortable chamois
Soft and warm inner lining
Wide, supportive straps
Expensive
Slightly irritating logo stitching on rear
Ankle zips not for everyone
Weight: 
294g
Contact: 

The Le Col Women's Hors Categorie Bib Tights are very warm and forgettably comfortable bibs. Yes, they are expensive, but seem to be durable and will cover you across a wide range of temperatures, including the deep winter.

Made in Italy, with a construction of 85 per cent polyamide and 15 per cent elastane, this fleece-lined fabric feels very soft against the skin and instantly warms you.

Sizing was as expected: I'm a small in these, which matches up with bib tights from other brands. The fabric is quite thin which, in combination with the spot-on sizing, resulted in zero bunching behind the knee.

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Holding these in place are wide and flat straps with a thermal lining that runs over the shoulders, making for quite a luxurious feel. They've got a decent stretch to them, providing a secure hold but one that doesn't feel like it's pushing you into a riding position off the bike.

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The bib section is cut fairly high at the front, while at the back there's a splash guard section that turns into a mesh panel running all the way up the back to between the shoulder blades. The former defends against spray very well and the latter transfers sweat away effectively.

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Stitched to these tights is a Dolomiti Gel Pad, which has four distinct thicker areas of padding. It moulded to my shape nicely and proved very comfortable on 4hr+ rides.

Le Col Womens Hors Categorie Bib Tights 7.jpg

Ankle zips make these very easy to slip on and off, but aren't as comfy as just simple elasticated bands. The wide gripper at the bottom has a tight fit, so much so that the zip does require an extra tug to run down to the ankle, but it reassures you this flush finish is going to stay in place.

Le Col Womens Hors Categorie Bib Tights 5.jpg

The quality of the fabric and workmanship is impressive – they feel robust and the seams are tidy throughout. Through numerous washing cycles, these still look and feel brand new.

Dipping down to just below freezing, the tights kept the cold very much at bay. It was only after a long battering in rain at these temperatures that I began to feel uncomfortable. But the fabric, although thermally lined, doesn't bulk up as water collects.

> 9 top survival tips for cycling in the rain

Wearing these bib tights on milder days up to low double figures, they have decent breathability and only become too warm when upping the pace, with threshold efforts plus.

Without a baselayer tucked beneath, the Le Col logo at the rear irritated my skin a tad – that said, I found this was easily solved by putting a lighter summer baselayer on instead.

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These tights are also available with gold accents on the inside of the straps and the back panel, as well as a strip which crosses the front of the lower leg. This strip is practical as well as stylish, thanks to its reflective qualities.

At £220, this is a premium price for bib tights, but there are others such as the MAAP Team Thermal Bib Tights (£215) and Rapha Pro Team Winter Tights (£210) around this price mark, and the Le Col offers a similar high performance. That's not to say there aren't cheaper options: at £150, the water-resistant 7Mesh TK1 Bib Tights come highly recommended – in the men's version anyway – and even have the added extra of handy pockets.

> Read more road.cc reviews of women’s cycling tights here

Overall, these Le Cols are a great investment as a set of bib tights as they feel absolutely great to ride in – warm, form-hugging and with a very comfortable chamois you can trust on the long ones. The price is high but with such versatility in terms of suitable riding temperatures and quality construction, these will last you and be your go-to on many rides.

Verdict

Very well-fitting and comfy thermally lined bibs – a worthwhile investment

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Le Col Women's Hors Categorie Bib Tights

Size tested: S

Tell us what the product is for

Le Col says: 'The Women's Hors Categorie Bib Tights are designed to meet demanding winter weather and keep you warm, dry and comfortable on long rides. Made using a hydrophobic Aqua Zero material over the lower leg, these bib tights provide a breathable water resistance, beading off splash as you ride.

Thermally lined for cold days, the Hors Categorie Bib Tights use a Dolomiti Gel pad for comprehensive comfort and shock absorption.

Zippered ankles provide easy fitment and removal, whilst high cut strapping delivers a secure, metered fit.

Finished with reflective detailing for improved visibility in poor light conditions, the Hors Categorie Bib Tights are our most refined and luxurious for deep winter riding."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Le Col lists:

Premium Women's Dolomiti Gel Pad

Thermally lined for insulation

PVC and latex free

Lower leg Splash Guard for spray protection

Highly breathble

Moisture wicking

Ankle zips for easy removal

Reflective panel and tabs

Made in Italy

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Slight concerns about robustness of the ankle zip design, but all good so far.

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

Very comfy thermally lined fabric and the wide, flat straps.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Followed instructions and had no issues.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Incredibly comfy bib tights that will serve you well on cold winter rides.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Incredible comfort throughout, including the wide straps that are thermally lined.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Price and irritating logo at the rear. Could do with some reflective strips at the rear too.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Expensive, but MAAP and Rapha offerings are around the same price mark. That said, there are great options much cheaper, such as the 7Mesh TK1 Bib Tights.

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

The performance is excellent and the build throughout is of a very high standard – but you are paying a premium price. Overall, despite the high cost, I think they're exceptional.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 177cm  Weight: 63kg

I usually ride: Road bike  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Gravel riding, indoor turbo and rollers, track

Anna has been hooked on bikes ever since her youthful beginnings at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. As an avid road and track racer, she reached the heady heights of a ProCyclingStats profile before leaving for university. Having now completed an MA in Multimedia Journalism, she’s hoping to add some (more successful) results. Although her greatest wish is for the broader acceptance of wearing funky cycling socks over the top of leg warmers.

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