When the temperature drops you can load up on jackets and jerseys but without a well lined pair of winter Knicks you're going to feel the cold. Enter A'qto's Stealth Endurance Knicks.
IMAGES - JARROD McSHANE
I'll get this bit out the way first. I've always struggled with three-quarter length Knicks. I think they are just one of those things you do or don't like. I completely get that they are better than messing about with knee or leg warmers, and on longer rides in the cold offer extra knee warmth and comfort. But for me personally, if it's that cold, why not just go full leg?
I'm prepared to be told otherwise so feel free to disagree.
With my inbuilt bias out in the open let's move right along to the A'qto Stealth Endurance CS 2.0 CS Knicks.
On my 1 degree start last weekend I was very happy to be pulling these Knicks on. They have just got that feeling about them that says, 'you'll be alright in these'. They have that extra thickness, a soft finish inside an are loaded with an awesome long distance chamois from Cytech that gives brilliant protection down there.
So, these guys are built to keep you warm and keep the water out. Do they manage that. I'm pleased to say that they do.
There's no doubt that the Stealth Knicks kept me warm. It's nice heading out for a cold ride just knowing that you're not going to end up a shivery mess when you get to coffee. The protection the knicks gave though the lower abdomen and legs was really great. As another plus, riding at intensity did not result in me overheating. I think this is partly down to the high quality fabric (Miti Thermoroubaix DTW) that A'qto has used and the three-quarter length just leaving that slight skin exposure to regulate temperature.
When the rain came down I was pretty amazed by the water repelling ability of the Knicks. The water just beads up and rolls off. I was caught in a few showers and basically stayed dry. When I got home, the fabric did not even feel like it was wet. Pretty impressive and no doubt down to the Teflon coating.
Comfort levels are high, the Cytech chamois is as good as you'd expect from arguably the best in the game, and if you're up for a 100k, 200k or more ride in cold conditions I'd be confident that your well conditioned bottom is going to be pretty comfortable at the end.
The bib section is comfortable, with relatively high cut at the stomach providing an extra layer of wind blocking warmth to your core. The knicks are finished with two reflective tabs on your bot for the all important extra visibility we all need during winter.
So, performance - tick.
I'm pretty tall and fairly skinny so struggle a bit with Knicks generally when it comes to bit. I found that at 188cm and 79kg, the medium/large size was pretty good for fit with no pulling over the shoulders and legs just about the right length. There was also no excess of fabric around my midsection and the fit felt comfortably firm.
My only small gripe with the 3/4 knicks was that I thought the leg (calf) grippers could have been just a bit firmer, this resulted in times when the calf section tended to ride up toward my knee a bit. This is a tough one for manufacturers as we all have different width legs...
Well they are black. There's a small white 'A'qto' on the leg end making them wearable with just about any jersey or jacket you can imagine.
SIZE AND PRICE
7 sizes - S, S/M, M, M/L, L, L/XL, XL. I followed the A'qto size chart and landed at medium/large for by 188cm hight. RRP is $259.95.
The Stealth Endurance 3/4 knicks have done a great job of washing away my bias for three-quarter length knicks. They are definitely a cold air and/or wet day pick and will get you through all but the worst of Australia's southern state's winter.
Quality is fantastic, style is clean and easy to wear with your other kit and they feel like you'll get many winters of riding out of them.
... I might just be changing my mind on three-quarter length bibs after all.
Check out the Stealth Endurance CS 2.0 3/4 Mens Tights at www.aqtocycling.com
Note - the S is also available in a women's cut under the name Asti Endurance CS 1.0 3/4 Bib Short
To celebrate their tenth birthday A'qto are giving away 10 custom designed kits. To enter click the link below to head over to A'qto.
Disclosure - This is not a paid review. A'qto provided us with kit for the review.