Versatile jacket combines waterproof outer and merino liner with a relaxed fit that works on and off the bike

Howies, who showed a new cycling-specific clothing range recently, make some very good clothing that happily straddles that line between on-the-bike function and off-the-bike casual style, such as the Outback long sleeve jacket here.

The Outback has been in their range since 2007 and has been updated this year. The sharp-eyed will notice it isn’t a cycling-specific top - there are no rear pockets, for example - so it’s pitched at those wanting a well cut jacket that can be used no matter the mode of transport. It’s obviously too casual for road riding of the performance variety, but for more casual jaunts, city cycling and commuting, with a spot of mountain biking or trail running (or whatever other sports you get up to away from cycling) thrown into the mix, it’s a versatile design.

It’s made from Schoeller 3XDRY water-resistant softshell fabric, so ideal for spring showers. A Merino wool fleece lining is bonded to the outer layer so it should provide a soft and comfortable place to spend some time, as well as providing some insulation on chilly days. Wear it over a base layer and it should be good for a range of weather conditions and temperatures.

While there’s no rear pockets, there are two zipped hand pockets plus a chest pocket. There’s also a headphone port for those who favour listening to music while on the move. It’s available in two colours, navy or licorice, and four sizes (S-XL). Available now priced £175 (yes, it’s not cheap) 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.