Cannondale’s LE Max bib tights, designed for the worst weather, are made from a combination of the big C’s Thermal HydroGrid and XJersey materials.
The HydroGrid material is windproof and waterproof, and stretches in four directions to help with fit and comfort while riding. It’s found on all the important panels where you need to stay dry and warm, namely the thighs, shins, stomach, upper butt and lower back. This HydroGrid is then held together with Cannondale’s stretchy XJersey material up the backs of the legs, a thin join across the knees and around the undercarriage. This is more like traditional Lycra and helps to provide a more body hugging fit. Inside, Cannondale’s top of the line Pinnacle chamois takes care of your butt with different thicknesses and densities of padding, although it did sit forward compared to some.
The bibs do feel weird when you first slip them on. It looks like they won’t have much give but they are actually surprisingly stretchy given their wind and waterproof qualities. They’re not as figure hugging as regular Lycra but fit similar to tights and are by no means flappy.
They do get hotter than regular tights but this trade off is more than worth it to have warm and dry legs. We did get a little damp through the XJersey material on the knees in heavy rain but remained warm and dried off once the downpour stopped. The mesh back and shoulder straps are not only comfy but do a good job of wicking to keep you dry and there’s even an internal stash pocket – useful for keys or coins if you don’t have any other pockets. With these qualities, the LEs offer good value for money and are more than competitive with other waterproof tights.