By Sam Aplin
Sizes: XS S M L XL
Size tested: XS
Craft have produced top quality attire for the winter season ahead with the Belle Bib Wind Tights. Silky soft against the skin, yet durable and wet-weather resistant, rest assured they will help win the battle against the elements allowing you to roll right on through to springtime.
Compared to some, the Ventair Wind material feels light and easy to wear, yet the wind and waterproof front certainly protects your legs in harsh conditions while maintaining breathability. This weather resistant material has also been crafted around the hips and small of the back keeping you warm and dry, particularly when exposing these areas on the drops or time-trail bars. A welcome feature which cycling tights alone tend not to offer.
Often, non-adjustable straps can slip off or sit too tight if close-fitting; however, the bib straps feel secure on the shoulders and stay in place whether seated, out of the saddle or sprinting, and the stretchy material moulds to the shape of the body without any pull or tightness on the shoulders.
The mesh-like material down the middle of the shoulder blades and small of the back ensures your upper body stays cool, and the thick padding not only protects you from unforgiving saddle sores, but also from the discomfort of back-wheel spray.
As is the design of most winter cycling clothing, the main body of the tights are black; however, I would feel confident riding at dawn or dusk as their 360 degree visibility shows reflective strips from the front, back and sides, as well as the bright ‘crush’ colour on the lower leg, allowing you to feel safe on the road.
The only practicality issue I feel with any bib tight design is that, should the situation arise (which it often does!), ‘using the facilities’ whilst out on a long ride tends not to be so discrete. Wearing multiple layers over the bib straps does require stripping off completely, which in the winter is rather cold!
The very thought of this leaves my water bottle full to the brim which, from a hydration maintenance point of view, is less than ideal. However, some riders prefer a convenient coffee stop, or leisurely ride or commute where such an inconvenience isn’t an issue.
Although the shape of the tights maintain a comfortable fit in any position on the bike, I felt a slight restriction around the knee as I pedalled to full height - not a problem in terms of practicality, it doesn’t stop me from turning the wheels in any way, but compared to other designs perhaps a bit more flexibility is needed to accommodate the shape and movement of the knee.
Still, safe in the knowledge that the three-layer windproof front of the Belle Bib Tights really is doing the job it’s meant to do means that my knees stay warmer for longer – I can live with that!
The lengthy calf zips however, make it easy to slip on and remove the tights and the slightly thinner material around the shins allow multiple layers of thermal or thick waterproof socks (a cyclists’ best friend!) to be worn underneath.
In summary: The Craft Belle Bib Tights are crafted for maximum comfort, whether you’re faced with a wet and windy autumn ride or short cold winter training session The Belle Bib’s will help you stay warm, dry and visible. What price comfort? Your legs deserve it!