3/4, bibknickers, they can be pretty polarising. I’m a big fan and with the winters we get (or don’t get) I find they’re good for quite a large part of the year. They keep your knees warm and don’t have any of the faff of knee warmers slipping up or down. I’ve written previously that my Assos 607 are in my top products ever but they don’t come cheap. The Rivelo Headley are an interesting proposition. In terms of cold they have more in common with the old Assos 434 which was a spring/autumn weight 3/4. And that kind of product does have an awful lot of versatility.
The rrp of these bibs is £130 so, on that basis, they have to be really good to justify the cost. The thing is that they’re currently £49.99 at Sport Pursuit and in my view that makes them a bit of a bargain. It does mean that it’s difficult to judge what the true cost is so, in fairness, let’s review them at the price that they are rather than what they might be.
I’ve used a few more stock photos in this review as, frankly, photography of legwear off the bike is pretty useless. So I’ve concentrated on the more important bits when I have taken photos.
The arrival is a very attractive proposition. No cheapo plastic bags and instead a nicely presented box. We all like boxes don’t we?
Rivelo set out the following claims for the product:
- male specific high density chamois pad from Cytech (EIT) in Italy, with bacteriostatic, quick drying and cooling fabric covering – suitable for any length of ride
- thermal fabric that also offers a high level of compression & support
- ergonomic panel construction gives the perfect fit whilst in the riding position
- breathable mesh brace section
- reflective visibility details
- mesh panels on backs of knees, for comfort when pedalling & extra breathability
- soft flat locked stitching on all seams for comfort
- soft silicone Rivelo striped gripper at cuffs for a secure fit
- no scratchy labels – care label is made from a soft fabric and sewn flat
So I took a photo of that care label. It’s deliberately old school. It’s a nice detail, doesn’t do anything at all to add to the product, certainly doesn’t detract. It’s just a nice thing. Anyway, on with what’s relevant.
The pad is from elastic interface. You’ll remember just how many manufacturers they provide pads for. They’re proven and effective. It’s hard to be absolutely certain about which of the pads the Rivelo has but my detective work leads me to believe that it’s probably the Bastogne Race pad good for rides of about 5-6 hours or so. And that’s absolutely fine in relation to your average spring or autumn ride. I’ve found the pad to be very comfortable up to the 50-60 mile mark at which point I got home, so I can’t really say much more than that! It’s well sewn together and I have little doubt as to its longevity.
They come in three colour variations. Red, as pictured above, blue and all black. The lycra used is fleecy roubaix backed and pretty compressive overall. I take a large and the fit is bang on. They come down past the knees to just about mid calf. Above all they’re very comfortable with zero sag. The tummy section is cut quite high, there are no zips but it’s still very easy to take a comfort break should you need to. The straps are a mid weight mesh and the back is cut quite high as well. It all adds up to a nice balance between breathability and warmth. In terms of the fit, for me, I can’t honestly think of anything I’d improve.
The knee section deserves some special mention. It often gets sweaty back there and Rivelo have tackled this with having a mesh insert at the back of the knee and lycra at the front. It works, there’s no sensation of cold whipping round the back. The grippers are excellent as well and hold things very well in place. If you have smaller calves than I, and mine are quite substantial, the bottom of the bibs might be slightly looser but then, if you do have smaller calves than mine, then I suspect you might be in a different size anyway, but do bear that in mind. The contrast of the red or blue rear section is quite a useful one to have and whilst resolutely not high vis it should at least provide some colour variation to get you seen.
There’s a nice little reflective logo around the back of the knee as well and the Rivelo logo on one side of the tights is also reflective.
I’ve been wearing these for a little over 2 weeks now and fortunately testing temperatures have been very variable ranging from 16 degrees right down to freezing. They’ve worked in pretty much all of those temps with no fuss. If I were to spend any considerable time out in low single digit temps I’d certainly opt for the Assos 6067 that I own as being that little bit warmer in the nether regions (for example) but overall these do the job very nicely. They appear to be sufficiently robust to date. Indeed, the lycra appears to be of a very similar feel to the dbh Aeron shorts which I tested earlier in the year with the added bonus of some roubaix backing.
In terms of pricing, at £49, these are actually something of a bargain. They’re good quality, they fit well and they do what’s expected of them. I think they’re probably worth quite a bit more in terms of actual price but not perhaps the claimed rrp. I don’t think that’s particularly relevant overall though given that they are available, at the time of writing, in all sizes and colours on Sport Pursuit for £49. Indeed, all of Rivelo’s autumn/winter range is currently on Sport Pursuit and most sizes are available. Stand out amongst them would have to the Garsdale soft shell (at £99) which uses advanced fabrics and is highly rated by the press and some of my mates. I’ve also been provided with a pair of Rivelo’s Sawyers overshoes and will add to this review with my thoughts about them in due course but, frankly, for £21.99 my initial thoughts are that they are outstanding value for a very heavy duty attractive overshoe.
Oh, and, if you do order some, or indeed any Rivelo stuff from Sportpursuit, I hate to ask, but, might as well, could you click through on this referral link?