It took a while, but winter finally came after an uncannily warm start. Just as well as I’d been waiting to try out the dhb Aeron range and it was jut too warm.
The dhb Aeron range sits just below their ASV kit, which is dhb’s professional level range. Dhb say that the Aeron range “delivers exceptional performance for all day riding – whatever the weather”. Well we’ve had plenty of weather this winter, from howling winds and rain to freezing wind and ice. While I won’t claim to have ridden through all of it, I certainly found it a lot more pleasant experience with the dhb Aeron kit; as someone once said “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”
If you’ve not tried dhb’s clothing before and thought, “oh that’s Wiggle’s in-house, economy brand”, well you’re wrong! Feel and quality of all the dhb kit I’ve come across has been very high, with nice detailing and finishing. Also I find the fit, for me is spot on; I’m 172cm (5’8″) and weigh 66kg (10.5stone); there’s no excess flapping, sleeves are long and collars are tall enough to keep the draughts at bay.
My dhb Aeron wardrobe consisted of four items; a Full Protection Softshell Jacket, Roubaix Long Sleeve Jersey, Roubaix Bib Tights and Winter Merino Socks. All came in winter friendly blue and fluorescent yellow, so being spotted on murky winter days shouldn’t be a problem.
Full Protection Softshell Jacket
This jacket certainly deserves it’s Full Protection name, I rode in most weather conditions – apart from full on monsoon – I’m too old for that anymore and it consistently kept me warm. I won’t say dry because like all breathable clothing, as soon as you start working hard, you’re going to get damp inside. However, it never got to the stage where it was a problem – I wasn’t ever wet under the Aeron jacket and depending on what base layer I had on, I was often amazed at how effective it was at limiting the build-up of sweat after hard rides. On cold rides of 1-5°C I was quite happy wearing just a lightweight, short-sleeved base layer under the Aeron Full Protection Softshell Jacket.
The feel and fit of the jacket was just right for me, with a tall collar that wasn’t too tight and kept the wind out. A dropped tail kept some of the road spray on those no mudguard days off my rear end, which on a long ride over wet roads is much appreciated. The sleeves were tight enough not to flap, but I could still fit a long-sleeved base layer underneath without bunching and they are long enough to cover your wrists when on the drops.
Nice touches are storm baffles behind the zips to stop the cold getting through and an easy to grip tab on the zip, which was simple to work with gloved fingers. The rear pockets are easy to reach when on the bike and the waterproof, zipped security pocket kept my cash and cards dry – although it was a little small for my giant mobile phone!
Roubaix Long Sleeve Jersey
I found the Roubaix Long Sleeve Jersey perfect for cold, crisp winter days, it can handle a bit of drizzle, but it’s not a wet weather item. The warm Roubaix lining combined with the close fit really keeps the heat in, without feeling constricting. The cuffs have a really nice feel to them – they’re made from a wide, doubled over piece of material that produces a soft and grippy cuff that stays put without cutting off your blood supply!
If you’ve not come across Roubaix material before, it’s basically a soft fleecy material that’s been around for years. While the outside is smooth, the inner face has a brushed, fleecy finish that helps trap warm air. It can get a little damp if the weather warms up, or you’re really pushing hard, but I found it also gets rid of the dampness quick, handy when you get going again after a cafe stop. Although I usually take my jersey off at a cafe stop to give it a chance to dry. Dhb have placed lighter weight panels on the sides and back of the Roubaix jersey, as well as along the inside of the arms to help keep you from over heating.
There are four pockets at the rear, one of which is zipped and lined to keep the contents safe from road spray and sweat. Reflective piping runs along the top edge of the pockets to help with visibility. A deep silicone edged rear hem kept the Roubaix Jersey in place, nice for keeping your bum warm on really cold days. Although I did tuck it up when I didn’t need it as I’m a bit of a fashion victim and aren’t that keen on the long jersey look…
The full length zip has a storm baffle behind it to keep out the drafts and the top section has reflective edging added. The collar is high and snug with that soft, fleecy Roubaix lining feel very pleasant on cold days. With the addition of a gilet and by varying the base layer, I could probably get through most of the winter with just the Roubaix Jersey, although you would need a waterproof layer to deal with the rain.
Roubaix Bib Tights
Long, blue and comfy. What more can I say about the Aeron Roubaix Bib Tights? Well they have the same quality feel to them as the other items, the pad is particularly nice. The pad is a Cytech Elastic interface Tour HP Air chamois, it’s seamless, has a soft face material and the padding varies in density; firmer and denser under the sit bones, lighter towards the front. I had no problems with these on rides of three to four hours, very comfy!
The braces have a mesh material in the middle to help keep your back dry, but they do come up high at the rear to keep your back warm, so when working hard you will get damp, but never enough to cause any discomfort. Zipped closures combined with elastic hems and silicone strips at the ankle, keep them in place and mean no annoying foot loops. The zip tabs are large and have a rubber covering that makes them easy to grip and they look like they will last.
Winter Merino Socks
Finally! A pair of cycling socks that actually keep my feet warm. I must admit the whole Merino wool thing had seemed a little over blown to me, but after a couple of cold months riding the Aeron Winter Merino socks have converted me. Thick enough to provide decent insulation, but not so thick that getting them in your shoe is a problem; they even managed to keep me warm when worn on a cold CX Sportive. Despite not having any over-shoes on and with repeated icy plunges during a four hour ride that saw temperatures down to 5°C, I finished the ride with happy toes!
So that’s the dhb Aeron Winter clothing review done. As usual I was impressed with the quality of dhb’s kit and it’s all at sensible prices that mean you can buy a complete outfit without having to sell your first-born or a kidney. All the items were well made with no loose bits or flaws.
The fit is a tight, athletic fit, which is what I prefer. There’s no excess flapping material and it feels good when on. Dhb’s range comes in both men’s and women’s fittings; the women’s kit often scores very highly in reviews, so worth looking at. The only item that I used that wasn’t from dhb was a base layer. I varied these depending on the conditions and what top layer I was using. I found that I could often get away with a lightweight summer base layer as the Aeron kit had such good insulating properties. Thoroughly recommended.
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