I haven’t ridden a bike in winter since I was a teenager, however I have learned from skiing and backpacking that the right clothing can make outdoor activities more enjoyable regardless of the temperature.
This winter, with both a fat bike and fat body, I’ve decided to check out riding in the cold. Now it’s time to acquire some cycling-specific winter gear.
First up is a pair of microfleece tights from Funkier Apparel.
From the outside, these look like any other cycling tights, but what sets them apart for cold weather use is on the inside: a thin, soft, microfleece layer. This fleece covers almost the entire inside, with the exception of two small vents in the front and one in the back (the shiny sections in the photo).
At the bottom of each leg is a grippy rubber strip and a zipper for ease of pulling them on and off. The zipper is backed by a stretchy spandex panel that keeps things from spreading too far and coming apart. Inside is an excellent padded chamois, worthy of even the most expensive cycling wear. As with other items I have tested from Funkier, the stitching and overall construction are top notch.
There are no other fasteners, no drawstrings, no pockets; just a very simple setup that is easy to get in and out of. The tights are designed to be worn as-is, with nothing over them, but for added wind resistance or crash protection, they can easily be combined with a pair of nylon shell pants.
To test these, I mean really test them, I took them out for an after dark ride with an ambient temperature of 15°F (-9°C).
Even before I headed out I could tell the tights would be warm, as I was heating up pretty quickly while getting the rest of my gear together.
Once out riding, these tights were perfect! The generously padded chamois was every bit as comfortable as any pair of shorts I have owned. While pedaling uphill, they vented just enough to avoid overheating and when coasting they do a surprisingly good job of keeping out the cold wind. I was most impressed by the consistency of the heat retention. Even my knees stayed comfortably warm, and yet my quads didn’t overheat.
If you plan on riding through the winter months, these tights are a must-have piece of apparel. While they work well by themselves, if you will be out in windy conditions or riding a trail with a lot of downhill, some additional shell pants would be a good idea. Based on my extreme test however, I think that for most moderately cold rides these will be more than adequate by themselves.
Bottom line: the Funkier Microfleece Tights are simple, great fitting, incredibly warm … and at a reasonable price of $79.95, they are just the ticket for your winter riding adventures!
Thanks to the folks at Funkier Bike USA for sending over these tights for review.