BEST WINTER CYCLING SHORTS
As the seasons change and the weather begins to turn foul we all look to warmer gear to keep us riding. For many, winter means a set of the best winter bib tights, but that needn’t be the only option. My preference is instead to use a set of the best winter cycling shorts in combination with a set of the best leg warmers for a warm, but more adaptable system that keeps me covered not only for deep winter but also those milder spring and autumn rides.
Below are my ten favourite pairs, having tested far more than that. Some are general purpose that’ll keep you covered for all types of riding, and some are more race-oriented and offer things like a more compressive fit. Some offer windproof panelling and water-resistant DWR treatments to keep the rain off. All are insulated though, to provide warmth, and that’s the main thing.
1. Universal Colours Chroma Thermal Merino Plus
For general winter and colder shoulder season riding these are my favourite option. They fit well, they’re comfortable, they come in brown, and they’ve stood up to a full winter of gravel riding in pretty grim conditions. Where they really stand out for me though is the insulation. Being insulated by merino wool (a blend, it must be said), rather than synthetic fleece makes them much warmer in the wet as they don’t get so easily waterlogged. Moreover, they also feel more breathable when it gets warm, as the inner fluff has a more open texture.
2. Endura FS260 Pro Thermo
These bibs from Endura punch well above their price point, as it must be said do their summer counterparts. They feel like a more premium option, and the addition of a high stomach with a zip for easier access and getting dressed is a neat touch. Gravel riders particularly, who are more prone to trashing bibs, would do well to consider these as they feel great, but you’ll feel less bad about trashing them.
Best for racing
If you’re riding hard (racing or otherwise) then the Pro Team Winter bib shorts from Rapha should be top of your list. They have a noticeably more compressive fit than the rest of the competition, and while they are less insulated than many others in terms of fleecy lining, they instead up the wind resistance, particularly on the front panels. What’s more, the materials used feel more durable too, so you don’t need to worry about them on gravel either.