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The Pactimo's Alpine Thermal RT Knee Warmers work well in changing temperatures and the fit is good, though it's worth noting they're a little shorter than many. They've worked well for me during the test period and prove a good match for the arm warmers, but I do think they are expensive for what they are.
These are made from a high-stretch fabric called ThermaGuard, with a seam on either side. ThermaGuard is apparently a 'high-performance winter-weight technical fabric that... [fastforward some blah] ...ultra-soft with a slight interior loft, this... [fastforward again] ...is ideal for athletic wear in 40-70°F conditions.' That's 4.5° to 21°C, if you prefer.
It has a mid-level compressive feel to it, which for me complements the feel of a decent set of bib shorts nicely.
There are silicone grippers at both ends. At the bottom it's a 10mm strip that goes all the way around, while at the top it's a 20mm wide band of big-ish silicone dots inside an inch wide elastic strap.
There is no silicone on the outside at the thigh opening, but it seems it's not needed as I haven't noticed any slipping-down issues (one of the most annoying habits of any warmers). Their shaping means they're sided, with a small 'L' and 'R' tag inside to tell you which is which.
There is a reflective logo on the back of the calf as well as a band of reflective material all the way around.
They are at their best on days with temperatures from single digits and into the twenties and beyond, but for me they're not quite warm enough for that first early hour when it's really quite cold – for me they come into their own from about seven degrees upwards. I do find myself typically wearing a bit more than most, though, so you may find they work into the low singles.
Either way, the trade-off is that they do pack down nice and small in a jersey pocket - think the size of one of those silly, kid-size bananas (the size for kids, not the size of kids. That would be weird).
The fit of these is slightly shorter than some other knee warmers I've tried. The Castelli Nanoflexes for example comfortably go down to about mid-calf, so with mid-length socks pretty much all of your leg is covered. These, meanwhile, tend to sit above the calf muscle. In the picture on the model they sit a little lower than they do on my legs; my calf is more pronounced and, if I position them as in the picture, they end up bunched up higher anyway.
Instead I found these worked a little higher at around mid-thigh, where they don't ride up at the knee end and give plenty of overlap with whatever shorts you're wearing.
Pactimo's sizing chart is sparse; they simply recommend buying knee warmers in the same size as your shorts or bib tights. As I've reviewed a number of items in Pactimo's legwear range – including the Summit Stratos, Storm Thermal and Alpine Thermal bibs – I know their size medium works for me. So that's what I'm reviewing here.
The result works well and the fit is as expected. However, it wouldn't hurt to have a little more detail in a sizing chart; a thigh/calf circumference range and an overall length would be quite helpful, especially as these are not the cheapest things.
Okay, you can spend more, such as on the Rapha Pro Team knee warmers at £60, but then they have extra features – they're windproof and waterproof on the front, which the Pactimos aren't.
Decent basic knee warmers are quite easy to find for much less; Van Rysel's Cool Weather Cycling Leg Warmers (note they're actually knee warmers) are £14.99, and they are water resistant to boot.
These work really well on those long rides with a cold start (or end) and a warm middle. They are comfortable and have a nice compressive feel, and while they sit a bit higher on the calf than other knee warmers I've tried, that does mean less material and easy packing.
Bottom line, however, is that they're very expensive for what they are, and there's plenty of equally good competition that will cost you less.
Great, compressive fit with a small pack size and weight, but very expensive for what they are
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pactimo Alpine Thermal RT Knee Warmers
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Pactimo says: "Knee warmers are ideal for cyclists who like to adapt to changing temperatures and weather conditions during their ride. They easily pack into a jersey pocket and can be taken off or put on in a matter of seconds. These warmers also include reflective fabric panels for added safety in low-light conditions.
"Leveraging a high-stretch fabric, we simplified construction to a single seam for reduced chafe points without compromising fit. An all-new bottom cuff design is made from fabric featuring Reflective Technology, providing visibility from all angles."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
ThermaGuard fabric-slight interior loft, breathable, wicking and lightweight
Reflective Technology for added safety
Interior ultra-soft silicone gripper at thigh and calf opening
These are very expensive. There are plenty of knee warmers from other brands that do the same (or more) for less money.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They still look just fine after plenty of normal washes at 40 degrees.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I've enjoyed wearing these on all-day rides with changing temperatures. They are lovely to wear, pack down small and have a nice compressive feel.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The compressive feel, small pack size and low weight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
These are very expensive; see the review for a detailed comparison with some of what's available.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, they are too expensive for me
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I would probably recommend cheaper alternatives
Use this box to explain your overall score
These knee warmers do what they should do really well. They are a little short and there's no sizing chart to make this clear before you buy, but otherwise they're very good. They're very expensive compared to the competition, though, and at full price they're just not competitive.
About the tester
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Ribble Endurance SL disc
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, mtb, Zwift