Over armour, Parentini K-Dry “Shark” Bibtights.

And so onto the last of my bits from the Parentini winter wardrobe. You’ll recall that I’ve already tested the Mossa, it’s heavier winter counterpart the Mossa.2 and also the p.5000 thermal gloves. This is the final piece in the jigsaw. The bottom section of a winter suit of armour if you will. For, when you are kitted out in freezing and damp temperatures in a Mossa.2, K-Dry bibtights and those gloves you feel impregnable. A knight of the roads. Ready for whatever mother nature can throw at you.

Let’s start with pricing and go from there. The K-Dry shark bibtights are available at around £125 at the moment. In terms of bibtight pricing that sits very much in the mid to upper end of the market, though it’s still considerably less than products such as the Castelli Nanoflex Pro, Rapha Pro Team and Assos whatever bizarre moniker they’re calling their tights this week.

Just before I started writing this review one reader asked me whether I thought that Parentini were up there with the premium brands like Rapha, Assos and Castelli. And I think that’s a fair question to ask. It’s certainly the case that you may not have heard of them prior to you reading my blog. Indeed, I didn’t really know about them until about a year or so ago when I first read a piece about the Mossa on road.cc. I was initially sceptical about their claim of waterproofing but I recognised at that point that they’d done lots of things with the Mossa that I’d have liked to have seen in the Gabba. This wasn’t a case of a company following a trend but one that wanted to set it. So, I can answer that question. Parentini is a premium brand. There’s no doubt that’s the case. I’m very grateful to them for providing me kit to review over the winter months because, in addition to being something very interesting to write about, I’ve been using it solidly. There can be no better recommendation than that.  Although they’ve been around for 40 years now, and happy 40th Anniversary to them, it’s not easy breaking into the UK market, but they are slowly building up their presence. It won’t be quick, but good things will come to those who wait.

Parentini have a wide range of thermal bibshorts, bibtights and 3/4 knicks available to see you through the winter months. Each of them, naturally, has thermal properties, the K-Dry range add rain repellency and foul weather protection and, finally, there’s a full on semi windtex version for those really cold places and deep winter rides. This review is of the K-dry thermal and rain repellent version.

20160312_104716

Do you know how hard it is to take photos of bigtights? It’s a nightmare frankly. And that’s particularly the case where the tights have been anatomically shaped to produce a perfect fit. And that’s why they won’t sit straight. So we’ll have to make do! But the above picture should give you a fairly good idea what they look like in practice. And, no, don’t ask for a picture of me wearing them. There’s no good time of the day to do that so you’re not getting it. Trust me that they fit me perfectly and we’ll speak no more of it.

Round the front it’s worth talking about a few features. The first is that zip which is there so that the front can be made higher for more protection for the abdomen. It’s very much a matter of personal choice. I’m fine with a lower cut and no zip and equally happy with having a zip. In any event answering a call of nature presents no difficulties.

20160312_104553

Those white strips are reflective and are hugely effective. You really do get the full on Tron effect from them and it’s great to have that forward visibility. We’ll return to them a little later on.

There are also foot loops. I’ve eulogised about these before in my Lusso review. They are quite lovely things indeed. As you’ll note they’re a ribbon/elastic type affair. Once you’re in, and again getting into bibs can be something of an art form, they sit in place and keep the bottom of the tights tightly in place. I’ve no idea how they make them, they’re probably cut by space lasers or something, but they are supremely comfortable and hug your feet.20160312_104536

Round the back it’s pretty much as you’d expect. The reflectives continue and are bolstered by even more at the bottom of the calf. If you can’t be seen in car headlights then there’s something very wrong going on. It’s worth having a look at the design of the Mossa.2 as well at this juncture. That reflective piping is also heavily present in that jacket. So, even if you’re all kitted out in black after dark, there should still be no excuse for not being seen. Remember that green or orange versions of the Mossa.2 are also available.

The upper back section is mesh rather than fabric which means that they’re that bit more breathable in this area. They have a little Italian flag on them, and that cannot be anything other than a good thing. The straps are one piece over the shoulders and are very comfortable indeed.20160312_104704

And then there’s the pad. Oh my goodness there’s the pad. It’s Parentini’s own C6 HT elastic carbon pad. And look, it’s green, matches my Supersix!

20160312_10443220160312_104438

Parentini make their own pads and don’t rely on buying them in from anywhere else. There are four pads in the range from the “base model” HTOne elastic up to the range topping C6 Flow Elastic Carbon. This C6 HT model sits just below the top of the range and is described as long distance hi tech. There’s quite a lot of technical stuff going on here which I won’t go into but you can see all the details on Parentini’s website. There are some things that are worth pointing out though. The pad is slightly longer than other pads I’ve tried in bibtights so there’s another layer of protection in the groin area to windproof your gentleman’s area. Every little helps. But the main thing is just how comfortable the pad is. They really are a long distance pad. I wore them on a number of 40 mile test rides, if you can describe that as long distance, and didn’t feel a thing. I’m confident that they’ll be good on your long winter ride and would suit even the most committed of audaxers.

The rain repellent treatment is outstanding. But it’s worth setting out the context in which I’d tested them. It was, once again, one of those days. It wasn’t supposed to rain but it was cold. So I’d parterned the bibtights with the P.5000 gloves and the Mossa.2. My shoes were Shimano XC51N all weather MTB, I had the snug little Lusso beanie under my Kask Protone (more on that soon, better in the rain). It was a bit breezy. Then the rain began. It wasn’t torrential, indeed it wasn’t all that heavy compared to recent events. But it was persistent, cold and unpleasant. The sensation I got from my kit was that I was armoured. Lightweight, warm, no constriction, but armoured. I could happily have done many many miles more and not been worried about the weather at all. It’s impossible to single out any one piece specifically here, they’re just working in tandem and keeping you protected. But what it is easy to say is that no part of the wardrobe is letting you down. This is over armour.

Thermally, they’re great. I was out in conditions dipping to about -3 and had no issues at all. While there is no windproofing I didn’t find that to be an issue. Indeed, I’m not overly keen on windstopper bibtights because I do find, at least in relation to all those I’ve tried to date, that sizing down compromises comfort and movement and that sizing means that somewhere round the bag will end up a bit wrinkled. On that basis I’ve tended to avoid them. No issues with fit here though, they are spot on and exactly as the size chart suggested. One particularly good area of fit is around the pad/groin/bottom. It take a few moments to get the positioning into place but once you’ve done that it stays there and you can forget about it.

It’s worth saying as well that I can see no real disadvantage to having bib tights which provide some element of rain repellency given our climate. Obviously I’ll have to monitor them to see how long the treatment lasts but that’s the same for all products of this type.

And that’s about it, I think. The rain repellency is excellent. The thermal properties are up there with the very best. But it’s the sheer comfort of them that marks them out as being a bit special. They’re a bit more expensive than some of the tights I’ve reviewed but cheaper that the premium brands. But Parentini are a premium band and, on that basis, I reckon these are real value for money.

For availability and stock info drop an email to sales@zettadistribution.com

And, if you ever need to reactivate the hydro treatment on this or any other piece of Parentini wear, see the helpful guide here:   Hydro Treatment

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Over armour, Parentini K-Dry “Shark” Bibtights.

  1. Very shortly I will be publishing an article about how to re-activate the ‘Hydro’ water repellency on the K Dry and other Parentini items. I’ll post a link when it’s done

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s