Bib tights

Cycle ClothingReviews

Legging it: Vamper.cc rides out in Rivelo winter bib tights

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There is a lot to like about Rivelo winter bib tights.

As we found testing the brand’s Garsdale and Larkstone winter cycling jackets, Rivelo product quality is excellent and the attention to detail makes the kit a pleasure to wear. It’s thoughtful, considered design.

There are two versions of Rivelo winter bib tights: a men’s specific and a women’s specific cut. We must admit – we’ve actually found them to be interchangeable; they look so similar that in the low light of winter, I’ve worn Matt’s Winnats tights and he’s pedalled in my Monsal version… We’ve each found both pairs comfortable.

Rivelo winter bib tights
The Rivelo winter bib tights feature top notch fabrics, reflective detailing and a great chamois pad. Happy bums make happy cyclists.

Both pairs of Rivelo winter bib tights score highly in our book:

  1. The fabric quality is very good. It’s a dense, dark black which isn’t remotely transparent. As I cycle directly behind Matt, I’m glad of this. His bum is lovely, but nobody needs to see it through semi transparent Lycra when he’s pedalling – that’s just off putting. I daresay he’d say the same about me.
  2. The ankle zips are well placed! I don’t really understand why any manufacturers of cycling tights put zips down the back of the Achilles heel. It invariably digs in. Rivelo have thoughtfully placed the zip on the outside of the ankle which is much more comfortable (and they’re flexible, too, so don’t cut in).
  3. The chamois pads are brilliant. They’re described as high density, covered with Oeko-tex certified antibacterial stretch fabric and you can really feel the quality when you’re wearing them. They’re not thick pads – they’re really quite discreet, and feel a bit like memory foam. It’s always nice to wear padded tights that don’t make you waddle like an adult in a nappy, so this is a win.
  4. They’re flattering. Unlike the weird boob splitter style favoured by Morvelo, or that super low front which just exposes the flabby bit of stomach between sports bra and waistband which features on so many bib tights, these are cut high and they look sharp. The Monsal women’s bib tights are high cut and cover my (supersize) sports bra which not only looks nicer, but also creates a smoother silhouette under a jersey and keeps my midriff warm. Clearly, Matt doesn’t need his tights to conceal his bra, but he appreciates the added insulation provided by the slightly higher cut of the Winnats bib tights.
  5. They’re comfortable. Rivelo winter bib tights feature mesh shoulder straps which are seam-free, supportive and don’t dig in. The stitching on all seams is soft and flat locked, so there’s nothing to dig in there, either. And the care label is made from soft fabric and sewn flat, so there’s no unpleasant scratching from a plasticky, bulky label. (Perfect for Matt’s delicate skin). (No, really – he’s very sensitive..)
  6. They’re warm. The MITI Thermo Roubaix Thermal fabric is soft and cosy, and DWR (durable water repellent) leg and seat panels offer robust protection against the damper elements. It’s been a mild winter in the UK so nothing we’ve tested has been put through its paces in sub-zero temperatures, so if you’re looking for a recommendation for tights suitable for cycling in the Arctic, we can’t comment. But for nippy and damp British winter days, the Rivelo winter bib tights have had us covered.
  7. The reflective detailing is effective and chic. We love the logo – this is a nice typeface! – and it’s a useful safety feature. Thumbs up.

We’ve washed and worn both pairs of bib tights six or seven times now. There’s some minor pilling on the lower back where my rucksack creates some pressure, but overall, they’re wearing very well. There’s no transparency, no pilling on the seat or legs, no logo peeling, and the pad hasn’t shifted – it’s as good as new.

Rivelo winter bib tights
The men’s Winnats (left) and women’s Monsal bib tights both feature super high quality chamois pads, fleecy Thermo Roubaix fabric for warmth, and water resistant panels – handy for the British climate…

The women’s specific Rivelo Monsal bib tights are well sized. There is a word of advice on the Rivelo site to say that the fabric is not compressive, so if you are between sizes you may wish to size down; but the size medium is plenty big enough for my 5ft 8″, size 12 frame.

Matt has been comfortable wearing the men’s specific Winnats bib tights in size medium which fit his 6ft frame perfectly.

At their full price of £130.00 we think they’re a good choice for winter cycling. At the current price of £59.99 on SportPursuit, they’re a brilliant choice.

More good stuff from Rivelo. We’re looking forward to seeing what else this newcomer brings to the world of cycling apparel…

Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Rivelo winter jackets prove a great fit: style and performance in perfect harmony

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We met the wonderfully talented and energetic Tara, who heads up the Rivelo team, back in November. Over a pint in one of Surbiton’s most welcoming hostelries we heard all about this new British brand’s origins, aims and design direction and cast our eyes over the new Rivelo winter cycling jackets.

Fast-forward one action-packed Christmas period spent travelling 1000 miles around the country, Northern floods, a house purchase and subsequent move… A couple of months later and we are finally ready to commit to paper our thoughts on the Rivelo kit.

We have put the Rivelo winter cycling jackets through their paces several times over the past two months: they have been dealt a fair array of weather (most of it wet). It has been with us on our final commutes from our old flat, and it’s now being worn on recces of our new cycling ‘hood’ in Ashford (Surrey, not Kent). The bib tights even managed an outing on the turbo trainer, though it’s safe to say indoor training does not require thermoroubaix protection for the legs.

So with all that in mind, it’s high time we shared our thoughts on Rivelo’s latest offering.

Matt: the Rivelo Garsdale Jacket

I’ve been riding in the Rivelo Garsdale Jacket for a good few weeks in a range of conditions and with a combination of bibs and jerseys from other manufacturers. It has quickly become a staple in my cycling wardrobe: when the temperature drops or if it threatens rain, it’s off the hanger and on my back.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Garsdale

Performance

At its heart the Rivelo Garsdale cycling jacket is a warm yet breathable, waterproof and windproof winter jacket that should keep you in the saddle no matter what the British weather throws at you.

It is constructed from Schoeller C-Change softshell fabric that delivers a garment that helps keep your core at a comfortable temperature whatever the barometer says. It maintains a good level of air circulation without draughts.

It repels water magnificently, to 10,000mm (I do like to keep those of you waterproof fetishists happy); beading rain simply runs off the jacket – or flies off, depending on how quickly you are riding.

It is also oil and dirt repellent, features that have been thoroughly tested over the weeks we have been riding the Rivelo kit. There has been little that hasn’t just wiped off rather than submitting the Garsdale to another wash cycle.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Garsdale

Appearance

What if cycling jackets could look good off the bike… but not in that “urban cycling” kind of way?

What if cycling wear had edgier design that didn’t compromise its performance?

Well, it can: the Rivelo Garsdale jacket delivers both of those things.

Think stealth…

Leaving performance out the equation for a second, on a purely aesthetic level the Garsdale is a thing of beauty. On the body the fit is exemplary. The detailing, especially in the arms, is superb. The asymmetric finish to the cuffs is an especially neat touch and one that I feel I wouldn’t want to be without on any future jacket – it allows a glove to fit perfectly underneath.

The race fit of the Garsdale jacket is just right for me: not too roomy, but not overly restrictive. I have been wearing a medium: at 6ft and 165lbs, I have a full range of movement across the chest and arms.

 

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Garsdale

There are two small changes I would make to the jacket: one, the front of the jacket could stand to be an inch longer. That would (for me) make it nigh on perfect and would increase its off-bike wearability, although when we are discussing performance cycling apparel, it’s something of a moot point. And two, I would prefer the neck to be a little higher; for a winter jacket, it doesn’t offer a great deal of protection around the neck and an extra half inch would be nice.

Design Features

The Garsdale features under arm venting, which maintains a good level of airflow around the jacket. The seams are fully taped increasing its water resistant capabilities. The arms feature a double cuff system, an elasticated inner cuff, to prevent drafts and water ingress and then a second asymmetric cuff that extends over the wrists.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Garsdale

The back of the jacket houses three deep pockets, one of which has a zipped outer area. There is a beaded reflective vertical stripe to improve visibility from the rear. There is also a front chest zip pocket that provides easy-access storage for keys and cards etc.

All the zips are high quality and thus far have proved snag free. They hold up well in bad weather conditions, too.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Garsdale

Would I buy it?

Without a doubt.

This is quality performance bike wear with an edge. Its points of difference may seem subtle to some, but when you wear this out on actual rides they become glaringly obvious.

Those minor niggles you might have about your other jackets have all been dealt with here. It is cycling apparel that just works and, more to the point, looks damn good doing it. It is well crafted, well designed and the Rivelo winter cycling jackets are really well priced right now – the Garsdale jacket is currently available for £99 at Sport Pursuit.

 

Victoria: Rivelo Larkstone Women’s Jacket

I’ve been testing the Rivelo Women’s Larkstone Jacket, a sleek wind and rain-resistant layer.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Larkstone

Performance

Made from British Porelle Dry membrane fabric, this jacket is high performance. Its fully taped seams contribute to the garment’s 15,000mm waterproof rating – and as any British cyclist knows, this winter has made waterproofing oneself vital.

Despite its highly technical credentials, the Larkstone jacket folds down to a super compact state which could, at a push, be stored in a back pocket if the weather took a turn for the better.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Larkstone

 

Appearance

I may be serious about cycling, but I’m also serious about wanting to look like myself: I don’t want to sacrifice style for performance.

And this jacket doesn’t force you to make that choice: it is such a flattering piece of kit. The cut of Rivelo cycle clothing is true to standard British High Street sizing, unlike continental brands such as Castelli which are notoriously small. Rivelo’s size Medium fits my 5’8”, size 12 build very well. It is clearly designed by someone who understands women’s bodies, and it’s a pleasure to zip this jacket up: it feels really surprisingly elegant for a piece of sportswear.

I love this lustrous shade of navy blue and the red accents are a lovely, classic match. It’s an understated jacket which, while feminine in cut, is not girly or twee in design.

Tara has really managed to combine aesthetics with high performance in the Rivelo Women’s Larkstone Jacket.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Larkstone

 

Design features

There are some clever design features in the Rivelo Women’s Larkstone Jacket. There are no unwelcome breast pockets, which are just awkward on a women’s jacket. I don’t want to fumble about with my boobs to reach my credit card. Instead, there is a neat front pocket by the hipbone to hold a credit card, change, or keys.

My problem with a lot of rain jackets is that their hard shell construction means they are rather baggy to allow movement. This is a rain jacket, but the fabric stretches. Protection from the elements without sacrificing either silhouette or aerodynamics? Perfect.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Larkstone

The sleeves are brilliant. They are long, well fitted without being restrictive, and have a lovely stretchy, soft inner cuff which stops draughts and moisture at the wrist.

I’ve mentioned the top notch fit: the sleek look is helped along by the impeccable flat, fully taped seams which serve the fairly integral function of waterproofing as well as contributing to a streamlined profile.

The jacket only has one back pocket. This puzzled me a bit at first: I’d normally expect at least two, and maybe three. However, it’s actually another nifty feature: the back vent, which is positioned directly above the pocket, allows easy access to your jersey pockets. So, if you take off your jacket, there’s no need to empty all your pockets. Clever! What’s more, the rear pocket has a reflective strip which is convenient positioning: it wasn’t obscured by my rucksack.

Rivelo winter cycling jackets Larkstone
The reflective panel on the rear pocket shines really brightly – and is still visible when I’m wearing my small commuter rucksack.

Any cons?

Now, this is a rain jacket, so of course, it will make you sweat when you’re working hard. There’s no escaping the fact that keeping water out will also keep some moisture in. For that reason, I wouldn’t wear it without a wicking, long sleeved layer underneath because otherwise there is a slightly clammy feeling. (Particularly as I’m an especially sweaty sort). It certainly doesn’t make me feel like a boil in the bag kipper, though, unlike some other lightweight waterproofs I’ve tried. And the areas that typically do come into contact with bare skin have been considered: the neck has been lined with soft fleece for comfort while the double layered cuffs are soft and warm, not cold and damp.

 

Would I buy it?

Yes, absolutely. It’s a smart, well cut jacket which performs brilliantly in wet, windy weather. It’s been particularly good this winter, which has been particularly wet and windy… What’s more, I love the colour. I’ll happily carry it around in my rucksack in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, too – I’m impressed by how lightweight it is.

I’d recommend snapping up one of the Rivelo winter cycling jackets while they’re on offer at £59.99 – I seriously don’t think you’ll find a better jacket for the price, and even at the full RRP of £130 I think it represents great value for money. The Larkstone women’s jacket has won me over.

 

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Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Vamper warms up with Primal’s winter cycling kit

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Victoria

Tested: Primal’s Covi Women’s Black Tights, £65.00 and Lucerne 2nd Layer Jacket, £90.00.

Until now I’ve only cycled in bib shorts and tights, liking the smooth line they create underneath a jersey with a midriff prone to a spot of muffin top. However, every day that I dress in my cycling kit, I invariably have to dash to the loo before leaving the house, and have to strip off my jersey to get my bibs down, then carefully tuck my baselayer in again and pull my jersey back on before I can get on my way. It’s a bit of a rigmarole when you’re trying to get out of the house for work and I’ve toyed with adding waist tights to my commuter cycling wardrobe for versatility.

The tights sit high enough that there’s no danger of a gap between my jersey and waistband – and there’s barely a hint of muffin top.

This month I’ve been testing Primal’s Covi Women’s Black Tights, which retail at £60.00. The tights are a true black with reflective zip detailing at the ankles for added visibility pedalling at night. The brushed back thermal lining is soft and cosy, and while the pad doesn’t appear particularly robust, it’s actually very comfortable for commuting. After four washes it hasn’t moved and has retained its shape and firmness. The tights sit high enough on the waist that there’s no danger of a gap appearing between my jersey and waistband, and it’s also high enough to prevent much midriff overhang. My only criticism of the tights are the zips down the back of the legs which have a tendency to dig in to the Achilles tendon.

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I wore the tights with Primal’s Lucerne 2nd Layer Jacket. The Lucerne sits somewhere between a long sleeved jersey and a jacket. It’s warm, making it comfortable on cool autumn days, but not water resistant. It’s comfortable for the mild November we’ve had this year with just a baselayer underneath.

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Primal sizing is generous. I’m wearing size Medium in both garments and there is plenty of room; the cut is looser than Castelli and Dhb. I’m 5 ft 8″ and generally wear UK size 12.

 

Matt

Tested: Onyx Bib Knickers, £75.00 and Lexicon 2nd Layer Jacket.

It’s been an unusually mild start to the autumn. It may be mid-November, but several days have been too mild enough for full tights and jackets. In this weather, three-quarter bib knickers fit the bill nicely and I’ve been testing Primal’s Onyx bib knickers.

In the mild weather we’ve been experiencing this autumn, three-quarter bib knickers fit the bill nicely.

They’re really comfortable to wear: the fabric is thermal and very soft, and a true jet black which looks sharp. I particularly like the white inverted V detailing on the back of the leg – it’s a nice design feature which would be even better with a reflective finish for added visibility at night. Hopefully Primal will incorporate this in the future.

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The bibs are nicely designed with broad straps across the shoulders; they sit well. And, crucially, the chamois pad is comfortable. It hasn’t been tested on any long rides, but for commuting it definitely fits the bill. At £75 these bib knickers represent good value for money for a comfortable and nicely designed product.

I’ve been wearing the Onyx bib knickers with the Lexicon 2nd Layer Jacket. As Victoria found with the Lucerne, it falls somewhere between a jersey and a jacket. For damp British climes, it isn’t versatile enough for everyday wear; it’s warm, but wouldn’t replace a Gabba-style outerlayer because it isn’t waterproof or windproof. The sizing is extremely generous: I’m wearing size Medium which in other brands is a snug fit. (I’m 6ft tall and usually wear a 38″ chest/32″ waist). It would probably be worth ordering a size smaller than your usual.

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Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Feelin’ fine in Fierlan’s Three-Quarter Cycling Tights

Fierlan
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Only a year ago, I vowed that I would never be caught wearing Lycra.

“I’ll never be a Lycra road warrior!” I cried. “I’m perfectly happy to ride in my regular clothes. I want to look like me on a bike!”

How times have changed.

I only bought a road bike in April, after being somehow mind controlled by Matt who convinced me to sign up to the Prudential RideLondon 100 miler. I still don’t understand how he did it. But I’m glad he did, because taking up road cycling has been one of the best decisions of my life. And it made me realise that, while it’s perfectly possible to ride a bike in jeans, it’s much more fun to ride a bike in dedicated cycling gear. My bum certainly thinks so.

As a woman, I want kit which has been designed with women’s bodies in mind.

But that is not to say that I don’t still want to look like me when I’m out riding. I want chic kit. I want kit that is well designed, well crafted and high performance. And, as a woman, I want kit which has been designed with women’s bodies in mind.

Fierlan is a new player in the women’s cycling apparel market and they’re acing it with their focus on stylish performance apparel which is designed in the UK and crafted in Italy from the highest quality fabrics. I tested Fierlan’s Three-Quarter Length Cycling Tights on three rides of 15 to 20 miles each.

 

From one extreme to the other... My transition from dedicated streetwear cyclist to diehard Lycra wearer...
From one extreme to the other… My transition from dedicated streetwear cyclist to diehard Lycra wearer…

 

Style, Comfort & Performance

Fierlan’s Three-Quarter Length Cycling Tights are far and away the chicest bib tights on the market for women. I don’t know about you, but I can’t bear the look of most bib tights when I’m getting changed: that awful gap between my sports bra and the waist which shows off my untoned stomach. So unflattering. But the Fierlan tights are completely different: with their flattering and feminine crossover top I feel put together and pleasantly unexposed on the midriff front. As Autumn draws in, it’s nice to not have that gap, too. Style-wise, these tights are a hit even before I’ve put my jersey on. What else do I like about the styling? Well, the fact that the legs are so plain – and a really true black – is a bonus. These tights go with anything – you needn’t worry about clashing stripes or logos.

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The tights are comfortable, too, which – even for someone as vain as I am(!) – is, ultimately, what we’re all looking for when we’re cycling. The best looking tights on earth will be quickly discarded if the pad is rubbish. But the women’s specific pad Fierlan have incorporated isn’t rubbish: the bright turquoise foam is comfortable, and after three washes hasn’t shifted or gone limp. (I have only ridden distances of up to 20 miles in them so far, so I can’t comment on the pad’s performance for a longer distance.) The MITI Lycra in the legs and body has a lovely robustness – it isn’t flimsy, they’re not remotely see-through and the cut means they skim rather than cling which makes them look rather elegant. The silicone dots around the leg hems prevent the legs from riding up as you pedal – and the longer length is flattering, too.

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Simple, elegant and flattering, the three quarter length also keeps knees warm on cool Autumn days.

Fit & Sizing

I usually wear size 12 clothing and the Fierlan team advised me that a Medium would be the best fit. They were right, the fit is spot on – close fitting but not skintight. As I’m somewhat top heavy with a 32G bust, the crossover top doesn’t provide a huge amount of coverage; but it still meets up with my (very heavy duty) sports bra and there are no gaps. It’s far superior to the style of all the other bib tights I’ve worn, and for anyone with a slightly less – erm – ample upper half, shall we say – you’ll be well covered. The tights are available in sizes XS to XL and you should feel confident ordering your usual clothing size.

The crossover style top of Fierlan's Three-Quarter Cycling Tights is much more flattering than the usual suspender style.
The crossover style top of Fierlan’s Three-Quarter Cycling Tights is much more flattering than the usual suspender style.

Value for money

The Fierlan Three-Quarter Length Cycling Tights are currently in the sale and you can snap a pair up for £60.00, which is extremely good value. They’re beautifully made, flattering, comfortable and sophisticated. And for the cooler days we’re now experiencing, that extra leg length will keep your knees warm which is no bad thing.

Reviewer stats

Height: 172cm

Weight: 69kg

Measurements: 99-77-100

Cycling activity: 80-100 miles per week, in moderate British conditions.