One of the drawbacks of being an experienced cyclist is that you can eventually become a bit set in your ways. We can become creatures of habit, not wanting to deviate away from the same things we’ve done over the years.
When I first started cycling, there was really only one choice to wear on your legs in the winter – BeenBag tights. These were acrylic or polyester ribbed tights, that just about managed to keep you warm. But in order to keep them from falling down, you had to wear braces. These additions were even more important if it rained, as these tights doubled in weight when they got wet, the crotch area hanging down to your knees. They weren’t flattering, and this soggy excess material could catch the tip of your saddle when you got in and out of the saddle. A real pain in the rain.
Another drawback was that they had no chamois or pad, so you had to wear your normal shorts underneath. Which meant two pairs of braces or attaching shorts and tights to one brace. It meant it took you ages to get ready for a ride and all this fabric and webbing caused all sorts of chafing and sores. The extra shorts layer did help with keeping you warm, though.
So despite new advances in winter tights and shorts, I still persevered with wearing shorts under a pair of roubaix bib tights, making sure I bought ones that didn’t have pads. I even tried some tights that had wind protection panels but insisted on wearing my shorts underneath just out of habit.
Then around this time last year, I needed some new bib tights. I wanted a pair of Parentini ones, but I was hesitating, as they only produce tights with pads. However, Ali from Zetta Distribution promised me they would be warm so I didn’t need shorts underneath. He also explained that, more importantly, they would be very comfortable. So I took a deep breath, and went against many years of habit and stubbornness, ordering a pair of P.1000 bib tights.
The P.1000 tights are the top of Parentini’s winter tight range, being made with the warmest roubaix material and featuring their most comfortable pad – the C6 Flou, so they are the ideal choice for long winter rides in cold but dry conditions. If you ride in a lot of wet weather, then consider the new Shark K-Dry range as well.
As with all Parentini clothing, the P.1000’s are anatomically designed. On the hanger, they are already shaped like a pedalling cyclist. This is due to the cleverly designed panels, stitched together to give the ‘pre shape’ to the tights. This results in a well fitting garment when sat on the bike. However, unlike some other anatomic tights I’ve used, the P.1000 tights feel comfortable when stood up too, no doubt due to the ultra-soft and stretchy Thermo Roubaix material.
The extra wide straps are also a bonus – they don’t pinch and don’t slip off the shoulders, which has sometimes happened to some of my tights in the past.
The P.1000s are a lovely understated piece of design that ooze quality. From the subtle contrasting textured panels to the reflective border piping and printing, they are borne of the ‘less is more’ school of design. Premium products never shout, instead letting their performance do the talking.
Despite the minimal design, there are some great details – a mesh back panel to help with temperature regulation under your winter top, reflective piping and printed graphics to help with low light visibility and lycra foot loops, to stop the tights from riding up and exposing your ankle and lower leg.
The first thing you notice when putting the P.1000s on is that they almost ‘snap’ into place – the anatomic cut helping to achieve the snug feeling when you zip up the front. The plush inside of the fabric feels soft to the skin, and instantly gets to work, warming your muscles up before you leave the house.
Out on the road, it did feel strange at first wearing tights without shorts – I somehow felt a little ‘naked’ and worried that I would be cold but after 10 minutes riding I knew I was going to be more than fine.
The tights are made with a lovely, soft and plush material – Thermo Roubaix. This fabric is very stretchy, and features a polyamide outer for durability whilst inside a brushed thermolite polyester fiber adds warmth and breathability. Despite not featuring wind protection panels, this fabric does a great job of keeping cold winds out, which left my legs nice and warm. In my case, a good test for any bib tight is how it copes with wet weather. In the past, I’ve found tights that worked well in the dry suddenly became very cold once wet, causing an old injury and scar on my right knee cap to start giving me a painful ache. Not once has this happened with the P.1000s.
As mentioned, these tights feature Parentini’s plush long-distance pad – the C6 Flou. Triple layers of foam and padding contribute to making these tights supremely comfortable and perfect for long days in the saddle. You can read more about the C6 Flou here.
Eventually after a few miles you forget the tights are on – a testament to their fabric, cut and thermo-regulating properties. Not finding annoying niggles or being uncomfortable means you can concentrate on turning the pedals. Surely the sign of any premium cycling clothing.
After riding in them for one month last winter, I was so impressed, I got hold of another pair. I feared their constant use would see them wearing out. But they’re so well made I suspect they’ll outlive me. After a full winter of washing and wear, the tights are still soft and show no signs of abrasion or wear. They still look like new as I enter another winter of training.
I can seriously say these are the best bib tights I’ve ever owned.
As with all other Parentini garments, it’s important to get the right size, this is especially so with garments that feature a pad. This is so this essential item fits correctly and doesn’t have any excess movement when pedalling on the bike – cutting down on irritation and saddle sores. This is the last thing you want if you’re embarking on a tough winter’s training schedule – which the P.1000s are perfect for.