With the introduction of gravel and adventure cargo bib shorts, it was only a matter of time until pocketed conveniences were added to winter thermals for cold weather off-road drop bar riders too.
Endura’s launched its GV500 gravel-specific clothing range a couple of years ago and has since expanded adding include the GV500 Thermal bib tight. I have been out braving the cold Scottish winter to put these winter warmers to the test on their home gravel.
Design and specifications
My esteemed colleague, Guy, has already put Endura’s GV500 summer gravel kit to the test and was particularly impressed with the GV500 Reiver shorts. Endura could have just whacked some more centimeters of material to the bottom and called it a day, however, the GV500 Thermal tights feature plenty of winter-specific features as well as sharing a few similarities with its knees-out equivalent.
The tights use a high-stretch thermal fabric to add insulation and Endura has utilized spray-proof paneling in key areas around the front lower leg, rear thigh, and seat area. The material is then treated with a PFC-free, non-toxic DWR (durable water repellent) finish to further try and keep the weather at bay.
As with the summer-going shorts, the GV500 Thermal tights use Endura’s own 600 Series Pad, which features gel inserts for extra comfort and has an antibacterial to keep things fresh. Personally, I get along well with Endura’s pads, as do most other people I ride with and I have happily covered over eight hour stints in the saddle comfortably.
The tights are pre-shaped and feature lumber support panels and power bib straps similar to Endura’s Pro SL road shorts. Torso coverage has been extended at the front and the tights feature a zip to get in and out. There are also ankle zips, which assure a close fit around the bottom of the legs.
Unlike the GV500 Reiver shorts, the tights only have two leg pockets. Arguably Endura could have fitted easily fitted rear pockets but considering tights are usually worn with multiple layers and jackets, rear pockets aren’t nearly as useful.
Endura has added a few extra features including reflective detailing on the back of the legs and silicone grippers on the rear to help stop over-shorts or pants from falling down while riding.
This winter has had its fair share of bitterly cold days on the bike and the Endura GV500 Thermal’s done a great job of keeping me cozy. There are no gaps or chinks in the paneling either so it's consistently warm all over. The high front zipped front is a little annoying when putting the tights on or if you stop for a quick nature break however the extra tummy coverage certainly boosts overall warmth. I am less of a fan of the ankle zips. The zip tracks don’t have any backing and when zipped up or down they will pluck out the leg hairs of riders who have extra natural insulation.
I have previously used Endura’s Pro SL line and found the size medium to be a great fit. I'm medium in almost all clothing although I found the GV500 Thermals to be a little looser than I would have liked. I swapped them for a size small which gave me the compressive and snug fit I prefer. Endura offers a '90-day satisfaction guarantee' so if you are unable to try before you buy, there is always the option to swap for a different size.
The leg pockets are orientated a little more to the front of the leg although I still found the positioning comfortable and secure in use. They are a good size too, offering handy easy access mid-ride storage for all manner of items from phones to snacks. The missing rear pockets went unmissed too as the winter dress code usually has ample pocket options from the multitude of top layers.
I have to mention that my first medium test samples came with a faulty front zip. Endura has assured us that this is an isolated issue and would be covered in the aforementioned 90-day guarantee. I had zero issues with the zip on my second pair, and no similar problems on a pair of Pro SL tights that have clocked up many miles over multiple winters.
I found the GV500 Thermals to be a very comfortable and warm pair of tights for winter gravel riding. Once I found my preferred size, the fit was well-shaped and gave a good level of compression. Straps sit lightly over the shoulders and although the high waist takes a little more getting on, it also adds a bonus level of warmth too. The chamois is rated for over four hours of riding and I was comfortable throughout all my test rides.
The pockets are well positioned and a good size for storage and didn't feel they impeded pedaling if I had items like my phone or snacks stored in them. Again, I didn't miss the rear pockets either as I was always pairing the tights with a jersey and a jacket, both of which have pockets at the rear.
Tech specs: Endura GV500 Thermal bib tight
- Price: $199.99 / £159.99 / €189.99
- Colors: Black
- Sizes: XS - XXL
- Materials: Elastane 13%, Polyester 33%, Nylon 54%