The howies Chada Chinos are a cool, stretchy pair of trousers that are at home on the bike or around town. Having said that, they probably won't stand up to endless cycle trips.
My first thoughts when pulling these latte coloured chinos on was that I needed to update the age on my road.cc profile status as I had got a year older and these strides are maybe for someone a bit more youthful and spunky (or whatever the term is nowadays).
But they felt good on, the fit is slim but not skinny unless you have legs like Chris Hoy and there is quite a lot of stretch in the cotton material and most importantly, they looked good on.
The waistband isn't too low so they don't intentionally show off you underpants and you can tuck your shirt in which will keep your mother happy and an imminent cold at bay.
I wouldn't say that these chino's are a cycle specific garment, they are more an item of clothing that works well on a bike. There isn't a seamless gusset for example but that didn't mean my crotch got grated into ground nutmeg after swinging my leg over the saddle. howies describe them as on/off bike wear - they are a pair of trousers designed to work on a bike, but they're not designed for it, you could just as easily buy as a pair of trousers and never ride your bike - in a way that you wouldn't do with say, Rapha's cycling trousers, or Surface jeans which are more like technical wear made to look like streetwear.
The 3% elastic in the cotton material gives a fair amount of stretch and shape retention and makes these trousers remarkably comfortable. In fact I don't think they have any cycle specific features.
The narrow leg bottoms keep themselves from causing mischief in your chainrings so no need to tuck them into your socks or borrow your Grandad's trouser clips.
Riding in the rain did mean my legs got wet but the trousers held their shape and still felt comfortable to ride in when drenched. Being a light colour (other colours are available), as soon as water spills on to them they immediately darken which greatly exaggerates how wet you have got but, thankfully, being a much thinner material than say denim, they dry out incredibly quickly - maybe by the time you finish your croissant and latte while skim reading the Guardian for freelance jobs… mind you, while they are wet it does look like you have urinated down your legs.
The fabric is quite thin and feels light but the weave is tight enough not to give you chilly legs when cutting through the breeze. They might not have the thermal properties desired for cold winter days without an underlayer.
A neat little pocket on the front keeps a small bunch of keys accessible or some loose coins from spilling out of the main pockets. Other details include an embroidered logo above the back right pocket, belt loops and a button fly.
These are a nice pair of trousers, they look good, they fit well and they are very comfortable. They work well perched on a saddle and they are probably the most affordable pair of trousers from howies.
My main reservation is that the material isn't tough enough for these strides to be a dedicated cycle garment. After only one wet week of commuting, about 100 miles, the crotch is showing signs of wear and the material has adopted some bike stains (grubby chain mark on right calf and spray tan up the bum from not having a mudguard).
I wouldn't choose these for commuting but for someone like me who travels everywhere across London by bicycle, these are an excellent, non-restrictive, smart, fashionable trouser for bombing across town - if I was buying, and I might, I would choose a darker colour.
Comfortable, slim fitting chino with enough stretch to work well on the pedals
road.cc test report
Make and model: Howies Chada Chinos
Size tested: 32in waist, 34in leg
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
People who wear chino's and ride bicycles (at the same time) will enjoy these.
"Slim fit, cotton twill chinos with added stretch. Two front slash pockets and small jett pocket for keys or loose change. Two rear welt pockets with howies logo embroidery."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Cotton with 3% PU which give the necessary stretch. Slim cut.
No loose threads. Spare buttons too if needed.
There is enough give in the fabric to be un-restrictive and super comfortable. They dried out quickly too.
The material is a bit thin and there is only single stitching along the crotch.
They are light so not too warm in cold weather but dry quickly.
Good cut and stretch in all the right places. If these had a brushed lining they'd be perfect.
There are cheaper brands out there but these work well as a casual trouser that works on a bike.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They perform much better than you would think because the cut is good and the material is stretchy and they dry quickly. If you aren't planning to ride all day in them they are spot on.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable. Slim cut. Keep out the way of your chain rings.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Maybe have a version with bicycle features for a better all day riding trouser like articulated knees and a seamless gusset and made slightly tougher around the crotch.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yep.
Would you consider buying the product? I would.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I think so
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
I think my legs look 10 years younger.
About the tester
Age: 39 Height: 179 Weight: 79
I usually ride: Bike that I am testing at the time My best bike is: Giant CFR pro, old school carbon converted to fixed. Kinesis Convert 2 geared work horse, Look KG241 skinny whippet
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed, bare back