Pearson's Survival of the Fittest bib tights come with a comfortable pad and good core body coverage. The use of all-recycled plastic gives them an environmental tick, too.
If you're interested in the Pearson Survival of the Fittest tights, check out our Best Winter Bib Tights buyer’s guide, with options from £80 to over £200.
Starting at the back, the upper panel and shoulder straps are all one piece of non-fleecy nylon with 27% elastane for stretch in all directions. The straps are edged with a broad strip that appears to be bonded to the mesh and stayed that way.
Where the straps join the stomach panel, the stitching is tidy and flat, and there may also be some bonding involved to reduce the amount of sewn seam. It makes for a comfortable, flat-fitting arrangement that didn't dig or rub.
All the remaining leg and body panels (I counted 17) are fleece-backed Roubaix with 17% elastane. The long seams down the inside and outside of the legs, and down the lower belly, up the back and all around the pad, were very flat inside and out, and of high quality. These are not going to pull apart in a hurry.
The lower belly coverage is extended right up the midriff by another panel that, on me, came right up to the chest. It makes for a warm ride – perhaps too warm in milder autumn conditions – but I used them right down to temperatures of 3°C and was tolerably comfortable, just beginning to feel the chill around the loins and groins at that temperature. However, stopping for a wet on the wall reminded me that there's no front zip, so you need to 'lob it over the net'.
At the ankle, there's neither zip nor stirrup to hold everything in place, but a stretchy border backed with an inch or so of grippy silicone. I didn't find this sat very tightly, but I have narrow ankles. Over a winter sock it was enough to prevent the ankle sliding up. This arrangement's worked fine with bib shorts for years. I wonder why more manufacturers don't do it.
The designers have decided to insert an extra panel at the back of the knee. I can see why they have done this, for improved articulation, but they haven't employed the same flat seams and the result is rather lumpy. It doesn't help that this join goes right around the mid-thigh, resulting in some rather puckered panel junctions above the knee. I worried this might result in some chafing in use, but it didn't.
The slightly Nora Batty experience was not helped by the size large coming up quite, er, large. On Pearson's size guide I came up as a large for chest but medium waist and suspect I could have sized down for a snugger fit. That's fine, but when it came to Pearson's Test Your Mettle insulated jacket (review to come), I had to consider an XL for the sleeve length. This would have resulted in my ideal combination being an M and an XL from the same manufacturer.
Anyway, the large meant there was plenty of length in both leg and body for my 6ft 3in frame.
Pearson says the pad is its in-house design and, while it looks nothing elaborate it's really comfortable. Even on a couple of hard 60-mile rides over the Northumberland hills in November and December my rear was the least of my worries. That's a rarity for me, the patron saint of saddle sores.
There are some printed-on reflective detail for the finishing touches (the calf reflectives being thoughtfully positioned so they don't get covered up by your winter overshoes) and a nice little logo button in the middle of the back. The tights come in navy blue as well as black and in six sizes, but sadly, as yet no women's version (its bib shorts do).
The 100% recycled fabric is a bonus for the environmentally minded, the tough and tidy construction suggests you'll get a lot of use for your £110 outlay, and the 'Made in Portugal' tag is nice if you're not happy about pouring your hard-earned readies into the Chinese economy.
That's a decent price compared with another pair of bib tights made from all-recycled fabrics, Shutt VR's Tourmalet, as given a solid 8/10 by Stu and retailing at £129.99. They are, however, £25 more than Lusso's Classic Thermal Bib Tights, which are good at any price, but at £85 are hard to beat. They're UK made, too – but at the time of writing are only available in small and XXL.
As go-to winter tights, the Pearsons are certainly worth considering, especially if you're prepared to try a couple of pairs to find your ideal fit.
Up-to-your-pits coverage and an excellent pad make for a warm and comfortable ride, but beware the Nora Batty knees
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
Make and model: Pearson Survival Of The Fittest Thermal Bib Tights
Tell us what the product is for
From Pearson's website:
The thermal material offers ease of movement and excellent stretch; the tights are easy to pull on and provide near-frictionless motion when riding. A high-cut thermal waist keeps the abdomen and kidney area protected from the cold, while the breathable, high-wicking mesh bib (also recycled) is finished with smooth elastic to eliminate discomfort. We've also removed intrusive seams at potential friction points, employed subtle but tough merrow stitching for long life, and a tough bonded gripper keeps the tights snug at the ankles.
Functionality: Excellent stretch allows ease of movement and frictionless movement
Comfort: Uniquely design Pearson PHD pad for maximum riding comfort and brushed inner for extra warmth
Considered Design: Breathable, high wicking mesh, longer cut and smooth edge elastic designed to keep away the cold on long winter rides.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Exclusive Pearson House Design (PhD) pad.
Insulating thermal material.
Breathable mesh with bonded elastic edge detail.
Bonded ankle gripper.
100% recycled fabrics (includes main and bib section).
Main fabric: 78% recycled nylon; 22% recycled Lycra.
Mesh bib section: 73% recycled Nylon 27% recycled Lycra.
Merrow ACTIVESEAM® technology.
3M reflective detailing on rear of legs above overshoe level.
Made in Portugal
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Very tight and strong seams; the recycled fabric seems good quality.
Rate the product for performance:
Warm enough for all but sub-zero conditions; very comfortable pad and a no-rub fit make for a generally very agreeable riding experience.
Rate the product for durability:
As with the quality of the manufacture, I'd tip these to last a long time. Pearson says it's keen to produce long-lasting products to reduce their environmental impact and, though early days, these are looking good.
Rate the product for fit:
The fit was fine, except around the knees where I found the seam junctions a bit odd, resulting in some puckering of the fabric. The knees were a bit wrinkly, too, which may have been made worse by the generous sizing.
Rate the product for sizing:
I fell slightly between stools here – Pearson reckons I'm a medium waste but a large chest. What I wasn't expecting was that the large would swallow me whole, all 6ft 3in of me. Other users have reported the fit coming up right for them but I would have sized down.
Rate the product for weight:
Rate the product for comfort:
Great pad, generally good to be in. All the flat seams are excellent.
Rate the product for value:
Cheaper than similar tights from Shutt VR, but Lusso's Classics are a very good and cheaper option.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems. These are the instructions:
Machine wash cool 30
Wash with similar colours
Do not bleach
Do not tumble Dry
Do not iron
Do not dry clean
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Looking at Pearson's own description of these tights, I'd say they hit their target admirably. They have kept me warm through a grey Northumbrian autumn and early winter, including fog, drizzle and some cold winds. The pad is worthy of special praise.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The very comfortable pad, the quality construction, a nice warm tum.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They came up rather big for me, and the knees were a bit wrinkly, though that didn't seem to affect the comfort. That high front might be more convenient with a zip.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're a little cheaper than some: Shutt VR's Tourmalet bib tights are also made from recycled fabrics, and £130.
But Lusso's Classic Thermal Bib Tights are hard to beat at £85, though only a couple of sizes are currently available.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but I'd size down.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall, the excellent pad and tall front panel made these a warm and comfortable experience and I certainly looked forward to riding in these tights. I thought the knee seams could do with a bit of work, though, and the sizing was a bit off for me. I also think a zip in that tall front would add convenience.
Age: 57 Height: 6'2 Weight: 75kg and rising
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
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Thanks Jamie, good advice, will give it a try!
I'm on Vulpine's mailing list and have just had an email saying they are 50% off - so £130.