One answer I could give is that when the sun comes out at about 2pm for it's 20 min daily exercise longs would be too warm. Fair point so tights are out but knee warmers or leg warmers provide the versatility needed and over the last few months I've been testing the evo7 legWarmers from Assos.
Lets get the price out of the way first. RRP £70. Yes seems expensive but look at it this way. Cheaper than a pair of tights and converting your favourite shorts to a possible all year round garment. That is actually pretty good value for money in my book. But for £70 they still need to be pretty damn good as well. So how are they. Well lets get the technical stuff out of the way first.
Using Assos's own materials they have a water resistant outer shell and a gridded fleece lining. The shell has stood up to a lot of rain and road spray without becoming wet through once. The legWarmers don't have taped seems so obviously there is moisture ingress although if I bit the bullet and actually fitted some mud guards most of that could be avoided. The fleece liner is warm without getting clammy and being gridded it helps with that all important warmth to weight ratio, so there is no excuse not to chuck these in your jersey pocket. The backs of the knees are articulated helping with free movement of the legs and there are understated reflective panels on the calves.
Now I've used knee warmers in the past and although I see the benefits I've often found the drawbacks too much hassle to bother using them unless desperate. These drawbacks include, not knowing which leg is which, not knowing how they sit on the leg, slipping down under the hem of the shorts resulting in a cold strip of thigh and rucking up behind the knee causing discomfort and pain. Well some of the more quirky features of the legWarmers have gone a long way to alleviate these problems.
On the right leg is a useful label saying, wait for it........ RIGHT LEG. Brilliant. Such a fine line between stupid and clever and Assos are on the right side of it. In smaller writing is "Seam at Back". Oh Assos with this label you are indeed spoiling us. Assos have also solved the problem of slippage by the cut. The top is extended up to the hip meaning that they are held in place much higher in the short. As a wise man said the mark of great kit is you forget you're wearing it and yet again Assos have managed this
In a few weeks I'll be riding my first sportive of the season the Etape Loch Ness. Scotland in April. Who knows what the weather will be like I'll have the legwarmer_evo7 in the jersey.
Further details can be found on the Assos website