The Holborn skirt/leggings combo from Road Rags is possibly the most comfortable item of clothing I've ever worn. The Holborn takes the best aspects of lycra tights - stretchy, form fitting and moves with you - and transforms them into something that you could genuinely enter a pub in without looking like a cyclist.
Knitted in 18.9-micron (fine grade) merino wool, the leggings are heavy enough to be totally opaque, and the integral mini skirt gives just that little bit more coverage rather than exposing you to all and sundry. It also means that there is no VPL (visible panty line for any chaps reading) as the skirt gives an additional layer over these areas.
There is no integral padding as the Holborn is designed for urban use and commuting, not distance, but again the skirt would hide padded shorts should you choose to wear these underneath. The skirt also adds to the urban non-cyclewear look so is pub-friendlier than simply tights would be.
There are changes of texture knitted into the fabric which lift it above boring and basic, and the dark grey colour is subtle and easy to combine with other clothes. With knee-high boots and a shirt these leggings could easily take me from the commute directly into the office without a need to change out of them.
The merino wool is extremely soft, but to make sure there is absolutely no chafing the entire garment is seam free. I have no idea how they make it but the skirt forms a tube which folds down over the legs, none of which have any seams at all.
The Holborn I tested was a Large, and unlike many cycling garments it was actually true to size, fitting my size 16 bottom and waist without being tight. Kudos to Road Rags for making kit which will fit the majority of women in the UK.
Being knitted merino means that there is a lot of give in the fabric, and our size 14 tester also found the L fitted well although she could have also dropped a size to the M. The smallest size is listed as being a 26-28in waist which is a standard size 10-12. The leggings are very long (33in inside leg on the large). At 5ft 6in I needed to turn them up, but as the knit pattern changes around the ankle this looked fine, and when off the bike and at home, I turned them all the way down to keep my feet toasty warm.
The cut suits a relatively upright commuting position and did not show off any of my lower back until I dropped really low on to the handlebars. Because the skirt is integral, it effectively gives the leggings an adjustable height waistline if you spend a lot of time in the drops.
I was very pleased to find that the leggings were machine washable at 30 degrees, and they washed well. The way they had shaped to my knees that showed when I took them off after a ride was banished by the wash and they pinged back into shape perfectly. Being merino of course, they don't need daily washing as the natural anti-pong mechanisms of the wool works a treat.
At £90 the Holborn leggings/skirt are certainly what fashionistas call an investment piece, but considering the extreme comfort, easy care material and style, combined with UK manufacturing I feel that it is a decent price for what you get. I always try and work out a cost per wear to make myself feel better about expensive purchases and as these leggings could take me from the bike to the shops to the pub they were an everyday no brainer to pull on and I can see myself wearing them through Autumn and Winter and up 'till the end of Spring.
I really loved these leggings, and the skirt gave me that extra body confidence when off the bike. They'll be on my Christmas list so I hope Santa's reading.
Amazingly soft, warm and comfy Merino leggings/skirt combination that looks and feels great on and off the bike.
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Make and model: Road Rags Holborn - leggings and skirt
Size tested: Large, Grey
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?
These limited edition super fine merino leggings have been designed for comfort and style with a fine attention to detail. With the integral skirt they offer you confidence to leave your lycra at home!
For a spring ride or commute they are a perfect balance in breathability and warmth. We have blended 7% bilarex to add a little extra hold. The natural qualities of merino gives you the opportunity to wear and re-wear. Ideal for your weekly commute. Luxurious for a weekend spin through the local streets or lanes.
Versatile, functional, stylish, there are no unsightly seams and no rubbing. I wear mine all the time!! The subtle shades of grey mean they look great with our ladies merino jumper, or one of our mens tops. If you are trying to decide between sizes we would suggest you choose the smaller size, merino wool fibres resemble tiny coiled springs and have a natural stretch.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
93% 18.9 micron merino wool, 7% bilarex
Beautifully woven textures
Just lovely, and amazingly seam-free.
All the qualities you expect from good merino: wicking, warm, and very soft.
The machine washing adds to the product's durability as it doesn't need time-consuming handwashing.
Very lightweight without sacrificing warmth.
Possibly the most comfortable piece of kit or clothing I've ever tried.
You are paying for British design and manufacture, as well as top quality merino wool, so £90 is a decent.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well, holding its shape when riding and pretty much feeling invisible to wear - nothing to dig in or constrain.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The comfort and the style of the cut.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing. Perhaps they could print the labels onto the fabric rather than sewing them in.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
This would make a luxurious present for yourself or a loved one, but don't save it for special occasions as it makes great daily wear.
Age: 36 Height: 5'7 Weight: size 16
I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Novice
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, Leisure