Post by Jude from Cycling with Heels.
An article in last week’s Guardian looked at the thorny issue of women’s cycle clothing, arguing that:
“Endless frills and florals may encourage women to be less assertive riders. It’s time the industry took a more unisex approach.”
One company that’s already taking more of a unisex approach to its womenswear is Endura. Founded in 1992 in Scotland, Endura is now the UK’s largest brand of cycling clothing. Their womenswear range is based on the same principals as their menswear – hardwearing, high performance gear for hard riding on the trails, hills and roads.
Also, they’ve taken the admirable position of providing both pink and pink-free gear. Interestingly, they report that both sell equally well – which goes to show there is demand for both!
So how does their gear stack up as commuter wear? I took two pieces from their current range – the Hummvee Lite jersey and the Hummvee Lite 3/4s baggies – out for a test ride to find out.
Hummvee Lite jersey
Made from extra fine gauge rapid wicking mesh fabric, the Hummvee Lite jersey has all the features you’d expect from an Endura product, plus a few more commuter-friendly ones – including silicone back pack gripper shoulder prints and reflective trim. It’s also a brilliant turquoise colour, which should help you stand out in the traffic.
So how is it for riding in? I normally wear ordinary clothes for my daily commute and, in comparison, I found this jersey to be a little warmer and heavier on my skin. The result was that I was sweating more than I usually would. On the positive side, the wicking fabric did its job and I arrived at work still smelling fresh. So much so, in fact, that I felt confident about wearing it for a second day before washing it.
One drawback of the Hummvee Lite is that it looks like what it is – a cycling jersey. This is fine if, like me, you usually get changed once you get to work. However, if you’re looking for a top that works both on and off the bike, then this probably isn’t it.
Available from Chain Reaction Cycles for £37.99
Hummvee Lite 3/4s baggies
As someone who’s never worn cycle-specific trousers before, these baggies were something of a revelation: wonderfully comfortable to ride in, with no bulky seams in awkward places, or having to pull up the back of the waistband at every set of lights. They’re also light and roomy enough, with enough give in the fabric, that I’m barely aware of them when I’m pedalling.
Again, as you might expect, these baggies are hard wearing and packed full of features – a number of which I felt were probably surplus to requirements on your average commute. For example, while I’ve been marvelling at the number of pockets (four!) I haven’t actually used them yet: everything goes in my pannier bag. One feature I did like, though, was the detachable padded liner. I haven’t felt the need to use the padding, but I know many people do, so it’s good to have the choice.
The lightweight fabric and length of these baggies means they’re probably best for summer riding, although they’ve handled the recent wet weather remarkably well. They would probably work perfectly well during the winter with a pair of leggings or tights underneath or – as I’ve been doing – paired with some knee high socks.
Like the jersey, the Hummvee Lite 3/4s baggies are designed for performance rather than looks. That said, I was perfectly happy to wear them around the shops, but drew the line at going to meet my friends in them.
Conclusion of review
The Hummvee Lite jersey and the Hummvee Lite 3/4s baggies are hardwearing, practical and good value. They’re also refreshingly free of frills, florals and (with the exception of the zips on the baggies) almost all traces of pink. But that lack of feminine touches means they’re functional rather than attractive – which is fine if all you want is an outfit that works on the bike, rather than off it as well. It would be nice to see if Endura could develop some women’s clothes to fill that gap, like their men’s Urban range.
- Not pink!
- Hardwearing and practical
- Not the most attractive designs
- Features not all really necessary for a commute