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review

Le Col Pro Blackout Therma Bib Shorts

9
£170.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Super comfortable winter bib shorts – soft and cosy with brilliant performance
Comfortable
Soft fabric
Weighty feel
Very cosy
Breathable
Weight: 
220g
Contact: 

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Le Col Blackout Therma bib shorts instantly became my go-to shorts, and that says pretty much everything. They are fabulously comfortable with a soft fabric, dense pad, thick feel and a great fit. For colder days, they have been excellent.

Autumn and winter rides generally require some insulation, and thermal bib shorts are a cracking investment in my experience. Their versatility means I'm often reaching for these over full longs as they can either be worn alone, or mated with knee and leg warmers. Consequently, I've been reaching for the Therma bibs nearly every ride over the past two months.

> Find your nearest dealer here

There have only been a few super-cold days where I've gone for my windproof longs – for the rest of that time, these have been perfect.

2021 Le Col Pro Blackout Therma Bib Shorts - cuff.jpg

The material Le Col has used is quite thick. It feels very plush and has a brushed, fleecy inner that's very comfortable against the skin. I really like the weighty feel to these bibs as it's incredibly cosy, and wrapping up in the morning before a cold ride is one of the few things I actually like about winter cycling.

2021 Le Col Pro Blackout Therma Bib Shorts - chamois.jpg

Further comfort is added by the dense Dolomiti Gel Pad. Le Col says it was chosen for its shock absorption, and I'd say the choice was a very good one. I didn't experience any discomfort on longer rides and over broken tarmac, these are noticeably more comfortable that summer bibs with lighter pads.

2021 Le Col Pro Blackout Therma Bib Shorts - cuff gripper.jpg

At the end of the legs, which are very generous in their length, lie wide silicone gripper sections. This part isn't thermal so if you're particularly looking to keep your quads warm, you'll need knee warmers. They do a very good job of keeping the shorts comfortably in place, though.

2021 Le Col Pro Blackout Therma Bib Shorts - back.jpg

The Therma bibs have a water-resistant coating that deals with road spray and light rain easily. It doesn't stand up to much rain, but should you ride through the odd puddle or start out on wet roads, at least you won't get soaked through.

Despite this, breathability seems good with harder efforts on the hills finishing without the clammy spots you often feel at the lower back.

2021 Le Col Pro Blackout Therma Bib Shorts - straps front.jpg

I found the fit very comfortable with no unwanted pressure or tight spots.

> Winter cycling clothing - 49 of the warmest garments you can buy

The long legs are good for coverage of the working muscles, and the straps sit comfortably on the shoulders once you get on the bike. Sizing is accurate and as expected.

2021 Le Col Pro Blackout Therma Bib Shorts - front full.jpg

The full black design is great. Firstly, it keeps the shorts looking good even after many muddy miles. The plain design also means they easily pair with other kit, and I'd be happy to race in these shorts when it (hopefully) starts up again in February.

Value

The £170 price tag isn't too hefty, but you can get Sportful's Fiandre NoRain Pro bib shorts for £125. Jamie really liked them when he tested them, and I've got a pair I really like too. Then again, the Le Cols are still a fair bit cheaper than the likes of Assos' Equipe RS Spring Fall Bib Shorts S9 at £200.

Overall

The Le Col Pro Blackout Therma is an incredibly comfortable pair of warm shorts with a great pad. They have been my go-to so far this winter, and I don't really see that changing and time soon.

Verdict

Super comfortable winter bib shorts – soft and cosy with brilliant performance

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Le Col Pro Blackout Therma Bib Shorts

Size tested: Small

Tell us what the product is for

"The Pro Therma Blackout Bib Shorts are made for colder days in mixed weather conditions. Using a breathable water resistant Aqua Zero fabric, they deal well with spray and showers, whilst thermal lining makes riding on fresh days more comfortable."

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

Aqua Zero Fabric for water repellency

Thermally backed fabrics

Reflective tabs

Le Col silicone leg gripper

Dolomiti Stelvio Gel Pad

Made In Italy

100% Polyester

Aqua Zero DWR

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
10/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

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

Easy. Wash on cool and hang to dry.

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

Brilliantly. They are soft and warm - just what you want on a cold winter's day.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The blend of warmth and breathability made me reach for these constantly.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing really.

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

Heading towards the upper end. You can pick up Sportful's Fiandre for £125 or spend more on Assos (£200).

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 Therma bibs have been so good I've been reaching for them for pretty much every ride. They are very soft which, combined with the great pad, makes them very comfortable on long rides.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 24  Height: 177cm  Weight: 62kg

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.

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