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The Altura Icon Men's Thermal Bib Tights cover all the bases you need for winter riding, with a supportive pad for those steady training rides, a multi-panel design that gives a great fit, and neat little touches like an easy-to-reach pocket and plenty of reflectives.
The heart of any shorts or tights is the pad, and Altura has worked with respected brand Elastic Interface for this Icon offering. It's quite simple in design, offering little in the way of channels and multiple pad densities, but it's none the worse for it.
I found it comfortable on long rides, even those where you don't move around much, like the steady state efforts I do in the winter; the pace is a bit easier, and I don't get out of the saddle much.
The padding isn't overly thick so there are no issues with bunching, and cleverly, the larger sized bib tights get the same shaped pad as the smaller ones but with a denser foam to suit heavier riders.
For the main part of the bib tights Altura has chosen a 260gsm fabric with a brushed inner face to give it a bit of a thermal boost.
It's a decent weight: thin enough that it has plenty of stretch for ease of movement, but still thick enough that it blocks out most of the wind, keeping you warm. You get a durable water repellent coating too, which keeps light drizzle and road spray at bay.
When it comes to temperature range, I'd say they'll definitely cope down to 2°C, and even below freezing, depending on the windchill.
The panel positioning is well thought out, with Altura keeping seams away from where they could rub, like at the rear of the knees, and the overall shape of the finished tights is very good. They fit well on the bike with no bunching on the legs anywhere.
To keep the cuffs in place at the bottom of the leg, and to make getting them on easier, Altura has used zips, situated on the sides.
They run smoothly and if you like zips then you'll have no problems; I'm not a fan and would prefer not to have them as they can press into my ankle when I'm wearing close-fitting overshoes. Thankfully at least, by positioning the zips at the side they don't clash with the rear zip found on many overshoes.
You also get reflective details on each calf and thigh to catch the attention of drivers.
The bib section uses a lightweight mesh to allow breathability should you be wearing quite a few layers. I like the fact that the straps are wide and flat as it means they don't produce any pressure points.
On the back panel of the bibs you'll find a pocket on the right hand side. It's deep enough to hold a mobile, but ideal for stashing gels or energy bars.
When it comes to sizing, these Icons are exactly as I'd expect them to be. I'm a medium in most brands and that's what I have here; they fit a treat and the size guide shows that I am bang in the right range for the size.
Overall, the quality is very good. The Icons look and feel well made, with neat stitching throughout, and the material is showing no signs of early wear.
They don't quite match the excellent Orro Pyro Line Aquazero bib tights, which are just slightly higher priced at £99.
Altura has delivered a quality pair of bib tights for the money that fit really well and feature a comfortable pad. As long as you don't mind ankle zips, there is little to dislike.
Good quality bib tights with a great fit on the bike and a pad that'll keep you happy for many miles
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Icon Men's Thermal Bibtights
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says, "The Icon Bib Tights build on the success of the Icon Bib Shorts to include the same Icon pad technology developed exclusively for Altura with Elastic Interface, one that focuses on comfort with denser foam used in larger sizes to provide maximum comfort for all. The tights use 260gsm thermal brushed back fabric with a durable DWR coating for that much-needed warmth and comfort making these a perfect full leg option when riding in colder conditions. This feature-packed iconic design also includes a side stash pocket for fuel, zip leg opening for ease of use, soft-touch bib straps, and a high wicking open mesh back panel for prolonged comfort and freshness."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Exclusive Elastic Interface™ Icon Pad
- Thermal 260gsm brushed back fabric
- Durable water-repellent coating
- Zip leg opening
- Side stash pocket
- Reflective detailing in key areas
- Open mesh straps and back panel
Sizing is similar to many UK brands and corresponds to Altura's sizing guide.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems after countless washes following the manufacturer's instructions.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Work well down to near freezing, keeping the wind at bay.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'm not a fan of zips.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They seem priced about right for the technical specification and quality, sitting alongside the likes of similar offerings from Orro, Gore and Craft.
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 only thing that really goes against the Icons for me is the positioning of the ankle zips. Other than that they are very good: they perform well and offer a lot of quality for the money.
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!