Nick Livermore wheels out howies’ bib shorts for review, and is impressed not only by their look and quality, but also their aggressive price.
RRP – £59
Website – www.howies.co.uk
My bib shorts always seem to outstay their welcome, losing much of their padding. Not until life gets painfully uncomfortable do I tend to replace. Bib shorts are just so expensive, generally.
Not so with howies’ bib shorts – £59! The bait that got my attention hook, line and sinker.
What immediately strikes you about howies’ bib shorts is their look. Granted, bib shorts are never as garish as jerseys, but these are seriously minimalist.
“…if you want plain kit you’ve come to the right place.”
Black all over, except for chevron detailing on the back panel and a small, blue howies logo on the front, if you want plain kit you’ve come to the right place.
Personally, I love my cycling clothes on the plain side – see my review of TORM’s T3 jersey – so these howies bib shorts did the trick for me.
Anyone who cycles knows that the least comfortable aspect of any item of cycling apparel is its seams. Seams rub. Even flatlock seams can rub.
Clearly, howies has picked up on this, claiming to have created ‘seamlessly knitted padded bib shorts’. That isn’t quite true – the invention of marketing – but the bib shorts do have fewer seams than most and are extremely comfortable as a result.
In fact, one of my first rides out in these bib shorts was last weekend’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and they were comfortable throughout, despite my steed being an unwieldy tandem.
“…one thing’s certain; the pad is comfortable, firm and hard wearing.”
Much of their comfort rating comes down to the padding of the shorts, of course. According to howies, the pad is Italian in origin and features ‘a base construction of 40 density, 4mm thick foam bonded to a shock absorbent 90 density, 8mm foam in higher impact areas.’
Now, as to what that actually means, I’m not entirely sure. But one thing’s certain; the pad is comfortable, firm and hard wearing.
Other review of howies’ bib shorts have noted that the pad is a little wide and uncompromising to begin with, but it does soften up pretty quickly. By my second or third ride, everything was just fine.
Other than their how they look, the first thing I noticed about these bib shorts was how high quality the fabric used seemed to be.
Thicker and clearly more durable than your average pair of shorts, these bib shorts should see you through a couple of seasons’ riding. I’ve not yet had the pleasure of crashing in them, but reports suggest that stacking it shouldn’t be an issue.
One interesting design quirk is the short’s lack of silicone grippers around the legs. I was rather taken aback upon discovery of this fact, but so far the lack of gripper doesn’t appear to matter.
They stay nicely in place, albeit below my carefully nurtured tan lines.
According to howies, such a close fit is down to their ‘circular knitting machines’, which enables them to precisely tailor panels for different parts of the body, without need of seams.
We’ll see how this holds up over 10,000 miles, but so far, so good.
I couldn’t be happier with my howies bib shorts. The quality they exude is unrivalled in this price bracket and they’re certainly super comfortable.
Initially, I thought they might be a little tight, but sizing hasn’t been an issue. Besides, my legs are on the massive side of chunky; if you’re smaller than that, you shouldn’t worry.
The bottom line is that if you’re a cyclist who likes clothing on the plainer end of the scale and wants a high quality bib short, suitable for long distance riding and at a reasonable price, there’s little reason to look elsewhere.
I’ll certainly be coming back for more.