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Archive for the ‘Kit reviews’ Category

Huez* Apparel

Cycling clothing tends to be built for performance or style, not both. With a few rare exceptions, the clobber that really performs tends to look very ‘cyclist’.

Not that clothing should always have to ‘perform’, of course. At Boneshaker we’re big fans of the ‘Copenhagenize’ movement, the notion that cycling should be seen as a perfectly normal activity that anyone can do, any day, in more or less any clothes. But there are times when you’re late for the school run, an important meeting or perhaps a first date, when you just have to ride hard. There are times when the heavens open and a gazillion gallons of water descend on you in a few minutes. There are times when you want to swing your leg off the bike, lock it up and stroll into the office looking suave, not sweaty.

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For all these situations and more, new cycling clothing-mongers Huez* have created a range of high-end bike wear, most of which doesn’t look like bike wear at all. A prime example is the smart suit jacket (above) that looks tailored, but conceals a host of bike-friendly features: it’s made of Italian bi-stretch merino wool with a Teflon coating, the Swiss-made mesh interior offers improved moisture management, flexibility and durability. The undercollar and cuffs employ a cunning  reflective tape called Darklight for improved visibility as the gloaming descends. They make chino-type trousers that offer similar technical benefits without looking bikey at all.

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We’re not really suit jacket or chino-wearing types, so Boneshaker was sent one of Huez’s top-end rain jackets, the Starman Storm (above). Through a hundred miles or so of riding over the past week, it’s performed impeccably. It’s beautifully light and perfectly finished. The fabric doesn’t rustle as you move. The cut is athletic but not aggressively so – you don’t need to be Wiggo-thin to squeeze into it – but it doesn’t flap around at speed either.  It’s long enough at the front even when standing upright (something many cycling-specific jackets fail on) and generously cut at the tail, so that it fully covers your bum even as you lean down into the drops. Assuming you use drops, that is. The bottom hem is lined with grippy silicone Huez* stars, so it stays in place. I like that.

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As you’d expect from a high-end jacket, it’s packed with technological gubbins.

It’s made from a double-layer of breathable fabrics, a Japanese three layer nylon and a Swiss-made fabric by a company called Schoeller, offering four-way stretch. The easy-sliding zip has a full-length, rubbery storm guard behind it, and all seams are robustly taped for waterproofing. An unusual feature is the pair of vents across the upper back, which remain open and allow a through-draught if you unzip at the front when in motion. Cowled covers have successfully prevented the elements finding their way in through these vents on a series of torrentially wet test rides, and there are two reflective tabs on the back to add visibility and allow easier access to jersey pockets. The sleeves are a good length even at full stretch and are equipped with elastic cuffs with additional velcro adjusters. You can cinch them in around your gloves and they stay put.

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The jacket comes in very blackish blue-black, which I like; nervous night-time nellies (or hard-bitten SMIDSY victims) may be relieved to hear there’s a reflective Huez* star logo on left sleeve and the jacket’s criss-crossed with reflective Darklight tape – invisible by day, but bright-glowing in headlights.

The slim internal mesh pocket means you can keep your phone out of the rain, and has a reversible zip so you can pack away the jacket into it when not in use. Given a squeeze it’ll go small enough to fit in a jersey pocket.

At £235 the Starman Storm is at the top-end of the market price wise, but having tried dozens of cycling jackets over the years, this one is definitely a cut-above. Completely weatherproof, impressively breathable, but you could wear it down the pub with a pair of jeans. It performs impeccably, but is discrete. It disappears into its own pocket when not in use. And it definitely succeeds in combining performance and style.

We’ll follow this ‘first impressions’ review with a longer term report a few months down the line.

To see the full range of Huez* cycling apparel, swivel your peepers thissaway.

huez.co.uk