Howies Light Merino Base long sleeve base layer £49

A superb all-rounder

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

The Howies Light Merino base layer perfectly treads the fine line between being cut closely enough to do its performance duty as a base layer, and cut loose and stylishly enough to wear alone.

That's not as shallow as it sounds. The advent of softshell jackets has changed the way we suit up in winter. For all but the coldest days it's enough to wear a good base layer plus a jacket. So it's always good if said base is suitable for show.

The panelled construction of the Howies top is impeccable - its easy movement doesn't just rely on the stretch of the fabric, and that's a sign of a well-thought through specification.

It's also beautifully made, with flatlock seams, a bound neck and a transfer label. The merino itself is relatively light, but we like the feel on warmer days and haven't found it lacking when the mercury drops.

Its length is generous, the sleeves are adequately long and it's been worn for three unsmelly weeks in a row... at which point it crawled into the washing machine on its own! But we just know it's the base layer we'll reach for in the coming months, and that's why we've scored it as highly as we have.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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