Comfort after a 270km first test? You can colour us impressed…
RRP – £125
Website – www.vulpine.cc
There can be no sterner test of a pair of bib tights than a 270km first test. And there are few bigger gambles for a reviewer. What if, after the first 150km, your “special place” gives up, never to return to its former glory? 120km of pain is a hefty price to pay.
Don’t worry, this isn’t the voice of hindsight. But, slightly worryingly, I had the foresight to predict these issues before test day. Hoy Vulpine’s latest iteration of its Roubaix Bib Tights underwent a true baptism of fire. And they, somewhat fortunately, emerged unscathed. As did my… well, you know.
Forget looks and colour. The primary concern when trying on a pair of bib shorts or tights is comfort. It may be difficult to discern whether the tights you’re testing will be comfortable in 6 hour’s time, but first impressions are also important.
Described by Vulpine as ‘superbly cosy’, these ‘roubaix’ bib tights certainly live up to their billing. You can tell from the get-go that these are designed with comfort and warmth in mind. In fact, they are a pleasure to pull on. But more on that later…
As mentioned above, the first test of these bib tights was a 270km jaunt into Wales. Helped by a liberal smearing of chamois cream, Hoy Vulpine’s tights performed admirably. After an initial period of adaptation, the ‘Italian pro level CyTech’ pad enclosed within held up remarkably well. And while they don’t quite reach the comfort levels of the excellent Rapha brevet bib shorts, they come within touching distance.
“…the first test of these bib tights was a 270km jaunt into Wales. Helped by a liberal smearing of chamois cream, Hoy Vulpine’s tights performed admirably.”
Impressive indeed… I still walk, more or less, as nature intended. Vulpine does, after all, claim that these tights are ‘all about long term comfort.’
Beyond the absolute comfort of the chamois used here, the cut of Hoy Vulpine’s bib tights affords an extra layer of elemental protection. Coming up to well above the belly-button, these tights ensure that as much of your body as possible is kept safe from the cold weather. Combined with wide shoulder straps, these bibs are among the most comfortable in every regard.
Interestingly, these tights don’t follow the usual formula. One of the most noticeable design additions, or – rather – subtractions, is the lack of ankle zip. This is a true revelation. What’s the point of the ankle zip? It’s bulky and irritating. This truly elegant design point conveys a sleek look and true comfort.
“…it’s touches like this that make these a sensible choice for winter night riding.”
An additional feature – and neat touch – only noticed by one of my fellow radonneurs as we cycled into the autumn night is the reflective Hoy Vulpine logo on the back of the right calf. Pleasing, and striking as a result of its asymmetry. Though relatively subtle, it’s touches like this that make these a sensible choice for winter night riding.
Before I tried them on, I wasn’t sure what I’d think of Hoy Vulpines Roubaix Bib Tights. The brand was something of an unknown quantity. But within minutes it became abundantly clear that these will be my go-to bib tights for winter 2016.
Even extreme wet weather didn’t dampen my feelings towards these tights, with the fabric capably retaining much of the heat I’d built up. £125 may be on the steep side for some, but for my money it’s a price worth paying, especially for tights that come so damn close to Rapha’s considerably more expensive offering.