BikeRadar Battle: Zip-up tights

Cyclocross warm-up tights: Vermarc vs Champion System

Welcome to the thirdBikeRadar Battle, where we put two similar products head to head in a battle to the death. Or, at least, we give you a fun and informative look at both — and let you know which we prefer.

Zip-up tights are a fairly specific piece of clothing. They are great for cyclocross — where you are often standing for 10 or 15 minutes in the cold before the gun goes off — but not very practical for everyday use, as full-length zippers aren't exactly the most elastic seams. With that in mind, we set a pair of Vermarc tights against those from Champion System.

Both Vermarc and Champion System use single-sided soft fleece for the tights that zip clean off from ankles up to the waist. The Champion System tights use a slightly thicker fleece, and have double zippers for loosening the top if need be. Champion System's tights also have a fabric backing behind the zipper to keep it off the skin, which is a nice touch on the cold days when you'd use them.

The comparison isn't exactly apples to apples however, as the Champion tight is a custom piece, meaning you can get the rear and side panels sublimated however you like, while the Vermarc tight is a straight-forward black piece. But the end function is the same. The rear sublimated panel on the Champion tight seems to enhance the fit somewhat over the Vermarc's straight, four-panel cut.

BikeRadar cyclocross zip-up tights battle: vermarc vs champion system: bikeradar cyclocross zip-up tights battle: vermarc vs champion system

Vermarc  Champion System Advantage
Function as a tightNot greatAlso not greatDraw
Function as a warm-up layer for ’crossGreatGreatDraw
Fleece thicknessLightMidweightChampion System
Cost$170/£106From $104/£65Champion System

And the winner of the ’Cross Zip-Up Tight Battle is... Champion System!

Since the Champion System tight is a custom piece, the price will vary by the size of your order. For an individual, single-piece order, it might not make sense. But for a club or team looking to get a few pieces of matching gear, we recommend it.

Read the full Vermarc zip-up tight review here.

Read the full Champion System zip-up tight review here.

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team, Trek Boone 5, Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4, Marinoni fixed gear, Santa Cruz Roadster TT bike
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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