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Donda Principal Bib Tights review

24 Jan 2022
Verdict:

No-frills, affordable legwear for colder rides

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Comfortable compression • Very good price • Decent insulation • Reflective details
Against 
Seam stitching is crude in places • Could use a higher waist for optimum warmth • Basic chamois

The Donda Principal Bib Tights are, on the face of it, an ideal entry point for riders who either don’t ride in cold climes too regularly, so don’t want to spend a king’s ransom on kit, or who are just starting out and building their cycling wardrobe.

At £65, they certainly have a palatable price, and they perform the basic function of a pair of bib tights designed to insulate on chilly rides in these colder months.

However, there are a few niggles, and it’s arguable whether you’d choose these over better appointed, and even cheaper, bib tights competing for space in this area of the market.

Donda Principal Bib Tights: Design and specs

Donda pitches these as ‘high-quality, thermal bib tights designed for the coldest conditions.’ Accordingly, the most appealing element of their design is that fleece-backed lining is used for the entire interior of the tights to the waist.

The legs themselves are pleasingly compressive and actually very comfortable, while the ankles are secured to skin or socks (I’m not wading in on the ‘socks over or under tights?’ debate here…) by elasticated material rather than any kind of sticky gripper.

There’s also a handy row of reflective dots running up the back of each leg from the ankle (some of which you’ll obscure if you wear your socks over your tights; just saying…). A fairly basic chamois provides your contact point with the saddle. The upper portion of the Donda Principal Bib Tights is entirely mesh, in order to spirit away heat build-up.

Donda Principal Bib Tights: Performance

While I have zero gripes about the ease of movement in the Donda Principal Bib Tights – they’re not specifically cut for a racing crouch, so you’re able to stand up straight in them comfortably, too – the stitching on some of the seams doesn’t appear to have been performed with less than perfect attention to detail; it all looks a bit rushed in places.

Additionally, that high waist area – although fleecy – only insulates the lower portion of my stomach, immediately putting my core temperature on the back foot on rides where the road surfaces just about let me leave the house on 25mm wide tyres.

And I’m sorry to say that what Donda calls a ‘high-density chamois’ just doesn’t feel like it is – undercarriage niggles raised their head only 20 miles into my first ride in these bibtights.

However… and it is a big however… these tights perform their basic function adequately. They’re warm, and (chamois notwithstanding) comfortable. Their loose mesh bib area also ensures that you don’t overheat, although this is rather dependant upon the layers you choose to cover your upper half with.

I opted for a long-sleeved thermal base layer with a thermal long-sleeved jersey jacket through November, and never felt clammy.

Donda Principal Bib Tights: Verdict

While it might sound like I’ve zoned in on the negatives here, there are some areas where the Donda Principal Bib Tights deserve applause.

If you’re looking for cold weather legwear at a sensible price, you could do a lot worse than pick up a pair of these. After all, as long as it’s not sub-zero outside, and there’s no chance of precipitation, they’ll no doubt ably assist your warm arrival at either your place of work or a cafe.

Do they perform better than similarly priced rivals such as the dhb Thermal Bib Tights? No. Will they see you right for the odd cold social ride? Yes.

Price: 
£65

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