Cardigan Bay based Howies have an all-new cycling jacket called Brenin set up for launch in the coming Spring. They've also quietly announced that the management team have bought back the company from the much larger group VF which acquired them in September 2011 along with the Timberland Group which in turn had purchased Howies in 2006.
The significance of the cycling-specific jacket, says their spokesman, is that it signals a return to first principles for the company which, lest we've forgotten, started in 1995 making down-to-earth but stylish mountain bike gear. Over the years as it grew and especially after the Timberland absorption, there was a move towards a more general outdoor sports direction and even, dare we say it, just looking good in sports gear.
Their man says that the recent sponsorship of the Revolution Series track team shows they're back in business in all aspects of cycling although not to the exclusion of other active outdoor sports like trail running where there is a huge overlap in interest among the core clientele.
The new cyclists, it seems, are as likely to participate in triathlon and fell running as they are to try cyclo-cross, time-trialling and touring and while they want technical clothing designed for the roles, they don't necessarily want to buy a jacket that they can only use once a month. Or, indeed, cannot be worn to the pub.
Anyway, the Brenin jacket is on the way to us for review so we'll put all that to the test. Meanwhile to whet your appetitie there are reflective patches, stretch arm and side panels for snug but unrestrictive fit and it packs into its own pocket, which is always a good thing in a lightweight cycling jacket. Price when it's available will be £100.
Howies Brenin Jacket: made from 80% recycled polyester and 20% polyester. "Stretch in arms and side panels for unrestricted movement," they claim.
"Outer zipped chest pocket with earphone cable slot on inside. Reflective bars on cuffs and side panel that make you visible if you're out in the dark on the bike. Reflective logo on chest pocket. Adjustable cord on hem. Inner collar lined with tricot for warmth and comfort. Can be rolled up into itself for packing into a small space."