Summer and winter are pretty easy to dress up – it’s fall and spring that cause the worst headaches when it comes to our kit choices.
The large temperature differentials either side of the 10°C / 50°F turning point make it a choice between a set of the best bib tights or a combination of the best bib shorts with the best cycling leg and knee pads. difficult decision to make.
However, there now appears to be a third option in the Q36.5 lightweight bib tights range.
Bib shorts Q36.5 Light – the brand
Before diving into the tights themselves, it’s worth taking the time to familiarize yourself with the brand.
Q36.5 was launched in the summer of 2013 by Luigi Bergamo and Sabrina Bergamo Emmasi.
Previously, Bergamo had been head of research and development at Assos for 20 years, and cites his greatest achievement there being responsible for the ‘Assos shorts’ we all know and love so much.
Founding partner Bergamo Emmasi was a professional cyclist, having raced the Pro Tour for Safi – Pasta Zara – Manhattan (UCI) and Team Bigla (UCI).
According to the brand, Q36.5 – which stands for Quaerere, Latin for seek, ask, inquire, with 36.5 being roughly normal body temperature in degrees Celsius – was born out of a desire to innovate in fabrics and the designs.
Bergamo says it was his need to spend more time in the lab rather than a workshop that prompted him to leave Assos and go it alone – with his wife as his business partner.
Today, the pair still own 70% of the business, giving them significant control over the direction of the brand and the clothing line. It also allows him, according to the brand, to have a serious reflection on sustainability.
For Q36.5, this means creating exclusive fabrics that contain 100% recycled yarns, producing timeless, sustainable designs and keeping 95% of production within a 350 km radius of the brand’s headquarters in Bolzano (a region in the north of Italy at the base of the Dolomites, which borders Switzerland and Liechtenstein) with all fabrics and materials entirely made in Italy.
Q36.5 lightweight shorts – Construction
The lightweight Q36.5 bib shorts have been designed to fill the gap in your cycling clothing, especially when the temperature is still around the double digits (in degrees Celsius).
The brand used its own high-density polyamide and elastane yarn, called UV Knit 44 (due to its 44 stitches per cm²), which according to Q36.5 is 100% recycled. I asked for more details on this, so hope to provide an update on the fabric soon.
UV obviously refers to its claimed sun protection and deflection, which it says helps reduce heat buildup by up to 1.5°C compared to regular Lycra-based fabrics.
This fabric is combined with a visibly ribbed, thicker material (Modulus Force warp 510, weft 620), material – which Q36.5 calls a wood carrier panel.
The aim is to provide an extreme compression zone of support for the lower back and gluteal muscles, which in turn should provide more stability and support on the bike, with the aim of reducing rider fatigue. .
But that’s not all, the wooden backing of the lightweight Q35.6 bib shorts also includes silver thread, which is commonly found in fabrics and medical applications due to its proven antibacterial properties. However, its inclusion in this realm is due to its possible electromagnetic shielding capabilities.
Q36.5 itself says that “the protection offered by the silver wire against these waves allows active muscles to function with fewer ‘distractions’, further refining the ergogenic function of Q36.5’s high-density woven tissues” .
That’s a bold claim, and I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to really verify the facts.
All the research papers I’ve read on the subject suggest that the benefits of this are still inconclusive. That said, it is generally accepted that EMFs increase stress on our bodies, and there is data to support the concept that fabric with silver thread may provide some protection against this.
Although previously we found out that the truth about recovery aids for cycling lies somewhere in the middle.
The legs of the bib tights have a pre-shaped cut that has kept the yokes – and therefore the seams – to a minimum. By my calculations, there are about five for each leg, with the final panel being a reflective fabric insert at the bottom of the leg. This, indecently, is finished with a raw cut edge – again to reduce hemming and possible irritation from chafing.
Inside the Q36.5 Light bib shorts is gender-specific padding, in the case of my test pair a seamless molded women’s chamois, which the brand claims adapts to the shape of the rider’s saddle.
At the top are a pair of lightweight arm straps, which combine a raw cut finish, with lined mesh fabric to keep them as breathable and light as possible.
The combination of all these construction techniques and fabric choices allow the Q36.5 Light bib shorts to have a low weight of 223g, which is not far off 100 grams lighter than the bib tights Rapha Women’s Pro Team Winter, both in a small size.
Q36.5 lightweight bib shorts – The ride
One of the most debated topics in cycling clothing between riders is at what time of the season do you accept that shorts are an unacceptable option. It highly depends on your location/nationality (or adoption of). But for a southern Briton now living in the North, the correct answer is – without a doubt – 17.5 degrees Celsius.
If I was a Spanish pro it would probably be more in the mid 20’s but alas it’s not. I’m firmly a Brit on British soil – and I’m already riding firmly in this tricky part of the cycling season where I’m both too hot and also too cold at the same time when I’m on the bike.
The problem is that these middle temperatures are difficult to dress in, although usually bridged with knee pads or leg warmers.
Even so, these can be quite tricky to get right and finding a pair that will stay in place, won’t get too tight or cause chafing/pinching points on the upper thigh or behind the knee is down to finding the right saddle.
That’s where the Q36.5 lightweight bib tights come in to fill the gap.
When you first step outside, it’s hard to tell you’re wearing them, as the slightest breeze instantly penetrates the fabric. This means that they are by no means a thermal or waterproof option, but are highly breathable.
It also means you can increase the temperature limit in much hotter conditions because they really are so light. I now understand why the Q36.5 Light bib tights have a decent UV protection rating – they would be a perfect choice for anyone looking for leg cover, even in hot weather.
The other benefit of lightweight fabric is that it’s super soft and malleable. Combined with a close-to-the-skin fit, minimal seams and raw-cut bibs, they offer great bodily freedom.
The chamois fit is a personal preference, and although I felt the pad of the Q36.5 lightweight bib shorts was a bit large at first. It’s about the same width as the aforementioned Rapha bib tights, but 50 about 50mm longer at 300mm. But nonetheless, he felt compliant and seemed, as promised, well seated in the saddle.
Out of the saddle, a stay-in-place chamois is more of a testament to the work of the bib portion of the tights, and the Q36.5 Light executed it dutifully. It’s worth reiterating here that I was testing the women’s version of the Q36.5, so I can’t guarantee the fit of the men’s version.
I really liked the simplicity of the up and over design, eliminating the current trend of clips and clasps, as found on these Rapha tights, and ironically many Assos stockings, which aim to facilitate comfort brakes for women. From experience, they tend to do the opposite.
These tights offer so much freedom that I would definitely consider running in them. This could be a game-changer for some runners, like me, who feel too constrained (mentally and physically) wearing bib tights on a start line, but then get too distracted by a rogue knee warmer drifting off my bib shorts. .
All of this means that if you’re a little nesh, like me, you’ll probably want to move your season forward a bit in the Q36.5 Light Bib Tights (or back, if you’re looking for post-winter use) if you’re l intend to wear for your regular outings.
If you’re running hot, have a hard workout or a race to finish then the Q36.5 Light Bib Bights are ideal, as they’re so unnoticeable when on, you’ll ditch all forms of lower limb warmers in favor of these in no time.
However, another non-noticeable aspect is the highly scientific aspects of the Q36.5 lightweight bib tights, especially the impact of the silver thread in the wooden backing.
Q36.5 states that silver wire provides protection against “so-called ‘electrosmog pollution’ from electromagnetic radiation resulting from wireless technology and electricity”.
Without laboratory test conditions, it is impossible to tell if the protection against electrostatic and magnetic interference actually works. To be honest, it’s a Pandora’s box that I’m not skilled enough to open properly, so it’s probably best to stop there on the subject.
Q36.5 Lightweight Bib Shorts – Value
Without proof of the benefits of high-tech magic, it might be tempting to think that the $200 RRP is a bit of a stretch, especially when we can’t vouch for the science behind one of the pantyhose’s key features.
However, looking through their tight peers, they really are priced rather competitively. Over ten percent cheaper than the full priced Rapha Pro Women Bib Tights, Castelli Sorpasso RoS (opens in a new tab)although they are presumably for a different climate.
Either way, I feel like the Q36.5 lightweight bib shorts are a great find, and I’d rather slip them on than a pair of warmers any day – as long as the conditions are right. pretty much warm enough.