Fiona Outdoors reviewed: Rouler top and Betty neckwarmer

Fiona Outdoors reviewed: Rouler top and Betty neckwarmer

Fiona Outdoors specialises in writing about the great outdoors and adventure, so who better to review FINDRA kit? She sent her one of our Rouler tops and a Betty merino neck warmer to try out.

Cycle clothing for women doesn’t need to be all about girlified bloke’s racing kit and shiny, shiny Lycra. The proof is in FINDRA, a fairly new Scottish company that designs and creates beautifully designed cycle clothing for women.

What strikes me first when I check out the online FINDRA shop is just how natural the clothing looks. The short and long-sleeved tops, neck warmers and beanies are made from lightweight merino wool. They are created in a range of natural and subtle colours.

They also look like the kind of clothes I might wear to the pub for a drink. They are far more smart sports lifestyle than the bright colours, pizzazz and shine of my usual cycling it.


More about FINDRA

The ethos FINDRA is about “empowering and encouraging women to look good, feel good and perform to the best of their abilities through participation in outdoor sports”.

Launched in December 2014, Alex Feechan, a keen mountain biker and fashion designer spotted a gap in the market for well-designed performance clothing for women.

She felt the products on the market suffered from the “shrink it and pink it” approach. Determined to change that, Alex set about creating a range of “performance lifestyle clothing that fuses fashion and high performance raw materials”.

Using high quality Italian sports merino wool, the FINDRA garments are durable, practical and boast natural wicking properties. The Made in Scotland products also incorporate a seamless knitting technology.

I would describe the products as:

  • Under-stated but beautiful
  • Practical and feature-full
  • Light but warming
  • Versatile because they can be worn on and off the bike.

 

On test: FINDRA top and neck warmer

I confess I am a fan of Lycra fitness clothing. It’s rare that I will go out for a run or a bike ride in clothing that is not tight-fitting and super-wickable. Yet I also know the value of natural materials, such as merino wool for offering great warmth in lightweight garments.

If I am hill walking in winter I will usually wear a merino baselayer. I like that merino wool keeps me warm and also manages not to be whiffy with excessive sweat.

The FINDRA Rouler Merino Round neck offers a really nice fit. It lightly hugs my torso but without feeling too constrained. The wool is super light yet it offers great warmth, too. I love how merino wool manages to be so thin and light yet still makes me feel warm and cosy.

The length of the torso and arms is generous, which is important if you want to keep the wind off wrists and lower torso while cycling.

The top is also seamless so this means there are no irritating edges and seams. I admit that I find most merino wool too itchy for bare skin. (This is not just in the case of Findra sports merino wool but most all pure wools.) I get around this by wearing a polyester base layer under the merino wool, which works just as well and offers a warmer double layer system for winter cycling.

The FINDRA crew design includes textured elbow patches for “detail and support” although I think these would be better promoted as providing improved wear resistance. I am not sure I need elbow “support”!

There are “integral knitted thumbholes” to give cover for the wrist. I usually find that the arms of most tops are a bit short for my Mr Tickle-long arms but this top is just about right. My only criticism is that that fabric is quite thin and has a sort-of sharp edge to it around the thumb so I think you’d need to wear in the thumbholes to make them a bit looser and more comfy.

After one wear I could feel the thumbholes “give” a little so I don’t think it will be long before they are super comfy.

There’s “extra breathability and comfort from the textured detail at the nape of the neck”. This is a thoughtful extra detail and helps to regulate body temperature while cycling (and getting sweaty).

The look and style of the top is smart but casual and I like that it is both practical for cycling as well as being smart enough to wear to the pub. I like wearing sports clothes for a range of occasions and this top will serve me well.

The Findra top comes in four shades, Slate Grey, Grey Marl, Dark Navy, and Pebble. It costs £80 on the Findra site and £68 on Wiggle. Merino wool is always expensive so I don’t think this is an excessive price.

 

FINDRA Betty Neck Warmer

The FINDRA Betty Neck Warmer is also made of merino wool. There are lots of different colours and designs and I reckon it would look as good on a cyclist as it would on a post-ride trip to a café or pub. I think I’ll use the neck warmer for hill walking as well as general dog walking this winter so £25 would be well spent.

The neck warmer looks super stylish but it also offers great practical features such as being very good at keeping out the wind.

If you are looking for cycling kit that is less Lycra, shine and “pinked” and more lifestyle, normal yet still highly practical, Findra could be one to look at. If there are any guys looking for Christmas gifts for their cycling partners, the tops would make a lovely surprise.

A note, however. I know that many women will ask me about larger sizes. Currently the tops are UK6/8, 10/12 and 14/16. I expect there are lots of women who would like to see larger sizes and we can only hope these are developed as demand grows. It is hard for new companies to produce huge ranges of clothing in lots of different sizes but I recommend that if you want bigger sizes you write to Alex at FINDRA.