It’s no secret that I love bibs. So when I dug out my old Giordana tights for the first chilly morning ride, they didn’t feel the same as the bibs I’m used to. They grabbed at my stomach and every time I stood to climb, the chamois sagged. No good. Later that day I crossed my fingers and ordered a pair of Women’s Hincapie Arenberg Bib Tights from Realcyclist.com.
These bibs are made with Hincapie’s Super Rubaix fleece, something the company describes as “a fast drying, super-stretchy, air-permeable textile that couples a fine, soft polyester fleece to a hardy Lycra/nylon outer surface for the ultimate cold-weather covering.” These tights are warm and do a good job of blocking out wind. They are ideal for temperatures between 30 and 45 degrees F.
Hincapie also claims that this fabric offers some muscle compression. As a frequent wearer of compression tights, I didn’t feel the Arenberg’s compression. I actually had some additional room under the tights especially in the lower leg and at the ankle.
Getting into these bibs reminds me of strapping into an amusement park ride. A bar-like piece of stretchy fabric goes over the head and clips mid-way up the back. While the fit is surprisingly comfortable, I’m not as fond of the straps showing as soon as I unzip my jersey an inch.
This system works quite well for quick bathroom breaks, and a strap makes it easy to locate the rear buckle, even under several layers of clothing. I’m barely 5’5″ and short waisted, but the length of the size medium bibs fits just right. Taller riders, however, might have a difficult time.
Each leg is held in a place by a long zipper and the bibs have reflective piping and zippers. A gel-grip elastic opening keeps the material from riding up.
Hincapie uses a Power Chamois designed for a woman’s anatomy with a multi-density, seam-free foam. I feel a bit like a cowboy just standing around in these tights. The chamois is surrounded by a slightly stiffer foam that pushes the legs apart when you’re not on the saddle. It’s much better on the bike, but I didn’t feel like the chamois offered a tremendous amount of support and after 50 miles, my butt was ready to jump ship.
The bottom line
The Arenberg is a solid, well-constructed bib tight with a cozy fleece interior and a simple back closure buckle that makes pits stops a cinch. While these may not be ideal for tall riders or centuries, these moisture-wicking bibs will keep you toasty on the coldest days.