I was handed the new Henty Wingman in the Bike Exchange office, but before I was even told what it was I was informed “lucky we could get this, they have totally sold out!”. That is always pleasing to hear. Consumers vote with their feet, especially in the current financial climate and most especially in the cycling industry. For the Hobart-born company to be out of stock is certainly a vote in the ‘affirmative’ column (thankfully new stock has arrived!).
Over the past six months I have reviewed different types of bicycles for commuting. Eco-friendly, great for the body and terrific to save on fuel, parking and avoiding traffic. The only drawback is being required to either ride in your work clothes or to attempt to pack it in to a backpack that was made for anything but.
If you job is in jeans and a tee-shirt, not a huge concern. However if its business attire, you are a sprinkle of rain away from showing up to your first client meeting looking like you’ve stepped off the set of a Hollywood action movie. This is where the Henty ‘Wingman’ comes in. No, it’s not someone to head out on the town with. Or to sit with you at your desk, a Goose to your Maverick (Top Gun style). It is actually a new and innovative way to get your business attire (suit, shirt, shoes, toiletries and even laptop/tablet) to and from work –without risk of it getting wet or dirty.
There are puns about me reviewing the suitability of something designed for a suit…but we won’t go there. Especially as after only ten minutes with the Wingman did I appreciate there is nothing funny about this piece of gear.
Unrolling (and unzipping) the Wingman you immediately appreciate the quality of the straps and zips used – and the ease with which they can be adjusted. Might seem like a small detail, but it’s refinements like this which a quality product make.
The suit compartment is spacious enough to easily fit an entire outfit, with the clothes hanging securely on a custom plastic coat hanger. When the Wingman is unrolled, this sits at the top – precisely like a standard suit bag. A second pair of slacks (or a moderately sized towel) could also be accommodated. In fact, the limiting factor would become more weight than actual volume. As when you zip and roll the Henty up, you neatly roll it around the bag for your shoes, socks toiletries (and possibly used towel).
So neat and simple is the set-up, ten minutes and you will be completely versed in how to use it. The features don’t end there though. The exterior of the Wingman features a pocket with compartments for your laptop or tablet and office needs. However should you just want that space for bulk storage, that compartment has a Velcro attachment – allowing it to be completely removed. A very well considered design feature for when you’re on the way home and remember you need milk (it fits 2 litres of milk, I tested it) or other groceries.
Finally, in the event the trip is looking like it’s going to get wet, the base of the Henty features a discreet zipper compartment with a water-proof shell inside. It slips effortlessly over the Wingman and is secured quickly and simply with Velcro. It’s these moments you want to spend the least time possible fussing, the Wingman allows you to get yourself (and your clothes) to your destination as dry (and as quickly) as possible.
Henty have changed the game with the Wingman. It’s clear why they are so popular. Rarely are solutions so practical, well considered and still able to look good on a bike. If attire was the only thing holding you back from riding to work, meetings (or, dare I say, the next wedding) then the Henty Wingman is a ‘must have’.