BikeRadar Battle: Zip-up tights

Cyclocross warm-up tights: Vermarc vs Champion System

Welcome to the third BikeRadar 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.

BikeRadar cyclocross zip-up tights battle: the vermarc at left is pretty straightforward; the champion system at left has double zippers, zipper backings and can be custom sublimated:
Ben Delaney/Future Publishing

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
Ben Delaney/Future Publishing
Vermarc  Champion System Advantage
Function as a tight Not great Also not great Draw
Function as a warm-up layer for ’cross Great Great Draw
Fleece thickness Light Midweight Champion System
Cost $170/£106 From $104/£65 Champion 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.