Elemental protection for her.
Gore Bike Wear has expanded its women's offerings for 2015, and no single article is more appreciated around the Competitive office than the Element Windstopper Soft Shell Bib Tights. We admit that we're a little confused as to why it took Gore, the leading manufacturer of water- and wind-resistant gear across all outdoor sport disciplines, to offer a women's-specific bib tight. But, now that it does have one, it's just about as good as it gets.
As with all Gore clothing, the star of the show is the fabric. It's no accident that nearly every clothing manufacturer uses Gore's tech. These tights use three layers in a build more akin to a 2.5 layer construction: an outer layer, a Windstopper membrane, and a lining. In this cycling sandwich, the two pieces of bread protect the Windstopper so that it can protect you, keeping you warm, breathing to transfer moisture and prevent overheating, and fending-off the elements. The back panel has a more flexible but less protective blend of materials, letting you move freely in the areas that don't need as much wind protection.
The Element's Soft Shell construction is a touch heavier than Gore's similar Active Shell fabric, owing to a difference in lining. Active Shell uses a thin, mesh-like scrim for wind protection without adding undue warmth and weight while the Soft Shell incorporates a plush, soft lining that's thicker for insulation in cold weather. Given that we typically turn to tights for warmth and we have a propensity for soft things, we like the Soft Shell very much.
For the chamois, Gore cozied up with chamois giant Cy-Tech's Elastic Interface division, which has developed a line of multi-density foam inserts for different body types and ride demands. The Element Bib Tights have the women's two hour insert, making it just right for cold-weather rides meant to maintain form through fall and winter or start rebuilding a base in spring.
The Elements have a wide bib setup for a women's-specific fit with a cross-chest hook closure that keeps the bibs in place and offers some support for cyclists with smaller cup sizes. They also have a zipper around the midsection that lets you remove the bibs for easy bio-breaks. We love this feature because it lets us keep our base layer and jacket on, which prevents unnecessary loss of body heat. It's also a lot less of a pain. The back of the bibs is mesh for ventilation; the ankles feature zippers for easy on, easy off; and reflective highlights help keep you visible in the low-light conditions that you'll eventually encounter while using these tights.
The Gore Bike Wear Element Windstopper Soft Shell Bib Tights - Women's are available in sizes ranging from X-Small to XX-Large in the colors Black and Black/neon yellow.