Strengths: Quality, very appropriate for specific conditions. Excellent chamios and wind and water protection. Nice and warm...They offer greater warmth than super roubaix material.
Weaknesses: The material is noisy. They can heat you up quickly if you wear them much above 50 degrees. The excellent wind and water protective material keeps you dry, draft free, and warm, but the price is that they don't breath all that well. No mositure build up in the crotch or legs, just a draft resistant front panel.
I'm always looking for quality cycling gear at discounted price, and I found just that in a pair of Demarchi Contour Plus Bib Knickers on sale at Bike Nashbar. Moreover, I'm a big fan of Knickers for late winter and fall riding.
These knickers are definitely a quality product, and in some ways, they rank right up there with Assos and the high-end lines of brands such as Castelli, Santini, and the rest. The chamios on these are very good, and I found them to be second only to Assos's. The fit is also relatively good. However, they are Italian, so they tend to run a little small/tight. Yet, this is offset by having a full size run for the product. I'm 6'3" and 250lbs, and found their XXl's to fit fine (at least in the Knickers. I tried a pair of their bibtights and they were a few inches two short).
What they are good for: These are excellent cold wheather knickers. If you are into wearing knickers when temps are between 40 and 50 degrees as I am, these are perfect. They feature a wind and waterproof front panel that really does keep you quite warm. The brushed material on the inside of the knickers is both warm and pleasing to the skin. The straps/braces are first class, they stay in place and don't roll.
What is not so great about them: Well, how often are you going to need a cold weather, wind and waterproof bibknicker. The temperatures that these knickers do well is a temperature that many people (myself included at times) would opt to wear full tights. Anything much above 50 degrees, unless it is a wet or very windy day, and these knickers are overkill. Also, the wind and waterproof nature of these knickers (and the bibtights as well) is that the material makes noise as you ride. It is not annoying on the road, given that once you factor in wind, cars, and other ambient noises it is almost imperceptable. However, walking around off of the bike, or when you try these things on at first, the noise is not welcomed.
So, here is the kicker, they are a great product for very specific uses. I live in Maryland, and these are a November and March product almost exclusively. They would however also be really good for someone into cyclocross, for a winter hammerfest, or for someone like me who does not mind cold shins in exchange for comfort of movement on the bike. They might also be good for an epic day on the bike during the transitional seasons when you need to be ready for any type of weather conditions. If you are going on a three plus hour ride at the time of the year when daily temps range from cold mornings to cool middays and cold afternoons, these are knickers to reach for. Throw in high winds or the threat of rain and they are absolutely perfect. But again, how many rides are you going to do like this each year?
In some ways, these are a product unlike anything that I've tried before. They keep the covered parts of your body warm enough to withstand the coldest temps that anyone would ride in. However, since they are knickers, you can only wear them down to about 40 degrees comfortably, and that is for someone like me who does not view 40 as very cold (my threshold is about 25 degrees, any colder and I'm on the trainer). At 40, the parts that are covered are plenty warm and dry if it is wet.
I guees this is why such a well engineered product was on sale for $50 bucks. Good stuff, but limited viability.
I am an advid cyclist, have been riding for more than 20 years, and I'll more than get good use out of them, but I do see how they are somewhat of a specific product that won't have universal appeal. I'd call them a hybrid bibtight/bibknicker.
I gave them a 5 rating for quality and value. Keep in mind, I got them for $50 dollars...that is a value for the high level of quality in this product. However, only individual users can determine how valuable a cold weather knicker is to them.