Three-quarter length shorts are ideal for warmer spring days, and these cunningly-named howies Bib Sh34rts are both well priced and exceedingly comfortable.
The Welsh company have used the same seamless circular knitted construction process as employed successfully in their bib tights and shorts, and the fit is as close to a second skin as it's possible to get. There are seams of course, but they're all flatlocked and you don't notice them. The stretch of the fabric ensures there's absolutely no restriction when pedalling. They're really very comfortable, surpassing much more expensive and elaborately constructed three-quarter shorts.
In the howies padded bib tights reviewed previously, I found the fabric a little chilly on deep winter rides, but in these three-quarter shorts, which will primarily be worn on warmer days, it's perfect. Insulation is adequate for blustery rides yet there's no hint of overheating, thanks in part to strategically placed breathable panels, when you're riding hard or the temperature is going up.
The length of the shorts is generous, easily sitting well below the knee. That stretch mentioned previously means you can adjust to a certain degree just how low down the leg the shorts sit. howies have certainly made them longer to be on the safe side so there's no issue of them not providing adequate coverage.
The TMF Professional cycle pad is the same one howies use in their other shorts and tights, and offers a high level of comfort for rides of any duration. It's made in Italy and uses variable thickness foam, ranging from 4mm thick high density foam to 8mm foam in key areas. A soft elastic open-cell surround ensures the insert doesn't shift about unduly. No complaints at all from the comfort it offers.
Details include a ribbed hem and a discrete howies logo on the left leg, and a small bib strap pocket which howies say can be used for keys or emergency cake money, if needed. It would be nice to see a few more reflective details, but maybe the construction process doesn't easily permit the addition of reflective material.
That small oversight though is easy to overlook, because these are excellent value for money tights and make it hard to justify spending any more.
Fantastic comfort and fit, and at a cracking price
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Make and model: Howies Bib Sh34rts
Size tested: Small-Medium - Black
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?
Circular knitted 3/4 length padded bib shorts with breathable panelling and a second skin fit. Integrated breathable panels allow excess heat and moisture to escape and minimise the need for seams, helping to avoid chafing.
Just like our best-selling bib shorts but knitted a little longer in the leg to keep your knees warmer.
Fitted with a 2-layer TMF Professional cycle pad, manufactured in Italy, with a base construction of 40 density, 4mm thick foam bonded to a shock absorbent 90 density, 8mm foam in higher impact areas. Covered with a soft, elastic open-cell surround that moves with your body and an antibacterial finish – simply put – very comfortable.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Seamless circular knit design
- TMF® High density foam antibacterial cycle pad
- Knitted longer in the leg for warmer knees
- Integrated breathable panels
- Bib strap pocket (for keys / emergency cake money)
- Fast wicking
- Ribbed hem
- Flatlock stitching
- howies Tricolour tab
Why spend any more?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Hugely impressive fit and comfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
All this comfort at such a good price, hard to beat.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Could do with more reflective details.
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?
howies get the basics right with these shorts, and while they look basic they're stunningly comfortable
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
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.