Welsh clothing brand howies (it's a deliberate lower case 'h' by the way) are returning to their cycling roots and have launched a new cycle range. We saw the Brenin, a cycling-specific jacket that signalled a return to their founding principles, just before the winter and as we head into spring they’ve released two new jerseys - long and short sleeve - plus their first ever padded bib shorts.
Fit has been at the forefront of these three new garments and they’ve used a seamless circular knit technology - specialist machines that knit yarn into a single continuous tube shape - that basically minimises the need for seams. As anyone knows, badly placed seams can contribute to discomfort when riding. And nothing ruins a ride quite like discomfort caused by clothing. Pain in the legs, that's another matter...
This reduction of seams to produce one-piece body panels should reduce the potential for chafing and irritation when pedalling along, as useful for the short ride to the shops as for longer rides into the country lanes. No one likes chafing, and anything to reduce it is to be welcomed.
The circular knitting machines are capable even of adjusting the patterns so howies can produce different weaves in key areas on the same panel. This allows them to incorporate lighter breathable panels in areas prone to higher perspiration, the underarms and back. And they can increase the compression and stretch of the fabric where they need higher tension, such as the hems and where it’s necessary to give a good fit. And all without separate panels and extra seams.
They have three garments in their Cycle Range, the Slipstream SS Jersey (£49), Slipstream LS Jersey (£59) and the Leadout Bibshorts (£59), that each make full use of this technology.
With a chill still in the air, the Slipstream Long sleeve Jersey is the perfect accompaniment. It’s a smart looking top with a full-length zip and breathable panels in key areas. It’s constructed from a fabric that is 96% Polyamide and 4% Elastane, and is fast wicking and breathable. There’s two cargo pockets around the back and one zipped pocket with reflective detailing around the zip.
The hem and cuffs are ribbed and there’s a long toggle puller on the zip. It’s available in three sizes, small, medium and large.
The Slipstream short sleeve Jersey is essentially the same as the long sleeve variant, with the same fabric used. It has short sleeves, obviously, and a half-length zip opening.
There’s the same three pocket and reflective details around the back. Ideal for warmer days.
The Leadout bib shorts use the same seamless knitting technology, and howies describe the fit as ‘contoured and second skin like.’ Inside is a high density foam insert with an antibacterial finish.
There’s a race radio pocket and the 96% Polyamide and 4% Elastane fabric is high wicking.
Available now at www.howies.co.uk
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.