The Chainlink


My wife wants some bike specific thermal tights. Done a bit of research but looking for some input from Chicago bikers. Checked the bike winter threads but most was related to layering.


Is it better to wear non-chamois tights over bike shorts or are ones with chamois/padding built in enough? I can't imagine that she'll want to ride with tights alone in anything lower than 30 degrees, so let's say btwn 50 and 30 degrees. Any brands, any brand lines? I know there is a great variety out there, just looking for some personal choices.



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I usually just ride with shorts under my tights for long rides.  Its not too warm when its between 50 and 30.  When it gets below 30 I get into leg warmers + shorts + tights.

I also ride with tights over the shorts. Sometimes I'll layer with another pair of leggings underneath. I'm sure there are some good brands out there, but I bought my tights at Walgreens for $10 and they are awesome.

Thanks for the info so far. Anyone have any technical recomendations? Distance/Racing wise?

I have found that riding with the tights (no chamois) UNDER my padded shorts feels better. I just did a 40 mile ride (in 30 degree weather)with them and it felt fine. The trick is having a pair of shorts that fit and are going to hold the tights in place. 

I always wear my regular padded shorts as the outer layer.  I have lighter and heavier tights (unpadded).  As the winter season progresses, I go from the lighter tights to the heavier tights, and then both when it gets below 20 degrees.

The following is not based on any actual fact, just personal preference: I just go with tights over regular bike shorts. Mostly because that means I can buy just about any tights that work, regardless of bike specificity. That is when I wear tights at all. I'm more of a bike shorts, knee warmers, knickers, and long wool socks kind of guy myself. I have a pair of swobo wool knickers that I love, and prefer them to just bike tights for cold winter days. But of course, whatever turns your crank...

I prefer non-padded tights over regular bike shorts. One advantage in spring and fall -- you can wear the tights+shorts in the morning when its in the 40s, and go with shorts alone in the afternoon if it warms up. Makes it a little easier to stay comfortable on both commutes.

The only brand recommendation I have is for sub-25 degrees: Peal Izumi AmFIB. For 30s and 40s, I'm not real particular.

Is it improper to wear padded bike tights alone? 

I have used bike specific undershorts inside of tights for the seam locations and padding then a pair of shorts over that can be removed if it gets warm as the ride rolls on. The lighrtweight blend fabrics with pads make a great inner layer and are less likely on my body shape to migrate even if the tights want to ride down with pedalling.

This is just for commute recreation as I don't race/train.


The Chicagoan

I have settled on non-padded shorts, tights & pants. Underneath I wear chamois shorts or underwear. Because the outer layers (shorts, tights & pants) don't need to be laundered as often, they last longer.

Also, that makes the outer layer pieces more useful for non-biking activity.

Save some money and just get the leg warmers.

I go with padded tights, not shorts under tights.  I prefer the tights because I ride to work all year and I get sick of peeling off multiple layers multiple times per day.  Also the shifting-shorts are a problem - the tights seem to move the shorts around and you get the bunched up chamois with no way to modestly adjust the short.  The best ones I've found are Performance's Triflex tights, which are pretty close to the Pearl Izumi AmFib tights in quality and warmth.  Those AmFibs are the gold standard for super cold riding.  It really depends on how fast she's going to ride and her personal thermostat!



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