Snug, windproof and water resistant, the Pearl Izumi women’s AmFib Drop Tail cycling bib tights are a great option for keeping you comfortable on cold, damp winter rides.
One of the first things I noticed popping these on was the lovely, fluffy, ELITE Thermal Fleece lining. They felt very cosy, which was a particularly welcome sensation on a chilly, dark autumn morning.
Since it was blustery and rainy, I was also appreciative of the windproof and water resistant fabric – ELITE Softshell - used in the construction of the AmFib bib tights. Although I felt the wind-chill on my arms, that sensation was noticeably absent on my lower half. The drizzly rain beaded on the surface of the tights and I remained dry.
On one ride on a warmer day, I did find I was getting a little toasty after about 40 minutes when the sun began to come out, but since these tights have good breathability, I didn’t end up uncomfortably clammy. Pearl Izumi suggest these tights are best for a temperature range 21 – 33 Fahrenheit, so these will be great for cold winter rides.
Rather than simply having straps, these bibs have a whole top section so they’re more towards a cat suit than tights with shoulder straps. Being ample of chest, I found the additional support in that department welcome, as well as the warming effect of an additional layer.
The torso region of the bib tights is of a lighter material on the front, with a non-windproof mesh material on the back, which allows increased breathability. I’m a curvy size 12 with a bit of a tummy, so I was concerned as to how the full length zip on the size medium would hold out and feel. In practice, it did up no problem and although it pulled across my tum when standing up, it was comfortable when riding leaning over the handlebars.
The legs are cut and stitched to complement the bend in your knee when riding. When first trying these on, this articulated cut felt quite strange but while actually riding it was great, as it meant I didn’t have fabric bagging, folding and rubbing to the side of the knees.
The legs seem long when you first try the tights on but this extra length keeps your ankles covered when the tights pull up as you pedal. There’s a rear zip closure at the ankle too, plus grippy silicone dots, which keeps them securely in place and snug – I didn’t experience any cold draughts.
Ankle zips can sometimes rub, but happily I had no problems in this department. The zip itself wasn’t noticeable when done up and the zip pull sat securely in a little fabric garage, out of the way of my delicate skin.
There are reflective details around the ankle, back and thigh, which is helpful in the darker conditions I’ll be riding in at this time of year.
These bib tights feature a drop tail; Pearl Izumi’s answer to the question of how one answers the call of nature while out on your bike in bibs, and something I’ve experienced on their bib shorts. The lower part of the tights is only attached the upper part at the front, so you can pull the back down as if you were wearing non-bib tights or leggings.
It’s a great simple solution that works. That said, as the windproof material on the bib tights is much stiffer than the Pearl Izumi bib shorts, they were slightly harder to manoeuvre off.
The fabric at the back of the bib section, which tucks into the tights, wasn’t very long – in fact, it felt a bit shorter than the similar piece on the bib shorts. As a result it didn’t sit in place. If you’ve got a base layer or a warm, windproof jacket or top, this may not be a problem but I found it could be a little draughty.
There’s also the matter of the care labels, which are stitched to a seam just below the waistband – these were pretty uncomfortable until I cut them out. Printed care labels, or having them somewhere else on the tights, would be a great improvement.
I got on really well with the ELITE 3D Chamois; I’ve had Pearl Izumi shorts before with this in, and find it comfortable, supportive and protective over long distances or durations.
A cosy winter bib tight that will keep all but the worst winter weather at bay. They’re pricy, but they’ll keep you toasty warm, and counteract all those ‘it’s too cold to cycle’ excuses.
- Windproof and water-resistant
- Comfortable and warm fleece lining
- Performs well in cold conditions
- Top section of the drop tail closure not quite long enough
- Care label location
Size: XS, S, M, L, XL
More info: Pearl Izumi
Available from: BikeTart and many local bike shops
What Pearl Izumi say about the Women’s AmFib drop tail cycling bib tights:
The AmFib Cycling Drop Tail Bib provides outstanding warmth, comfort and protection from the elements and includes our ELITE 3D Chamois for cycling comfort and a drop tail for convenience. ELITE Softshell provides superior wind and water protection. ELITE Thermal Fleece fabric provides superior moisture transfer and warmth. 7" lower leg zipper with zipper garage. Women’s ELITE 3D Chamois. Reflective elements for low-light visibility. Drop tail for convenience. Form fit.