19/03/2013 | 1 comments
An extensive wardrobe is required to keep riding through winter and we’ve been kitted out in clothing from Wiggle’s in-house brand dhb over the past month.
We called in dhb’s Vaeon Roubaix Jersey, Windslam Blade Jersey, Vaeon Reflex Roubaix Bib Tights, EQ2.5 Waterproof Jacket, Amberley II Glove and Windproof Overshoe. Here’s how it all performed.
dhb Vaeon Roubaix Jersey – £69.99
The dhb Vaeon Roubaix jersey is a mid-weight piece ideal as an outer layer on winter rides when the temperature is in the mid to upper-single figures, although the cut isn’t as good as we’ve come to expect from dhb.
That’s because there’s too much material on the back of the jersey, leaving excess fabric around the waist and three rear pockets which could be nipped in. It’s not a fatal flaw, however, as the cut is otherwise good, with long sleeves which taper in and a high collar – it’s just not as accurate as we’d like.
The jersey is made from the same 235g Roubaix-lined Lombardia fabric as dhb’s Vaeon legwear range which we liked when reviewing the firm’s shorts and leg warmers last November. It performs just as well in this jersey, which is very soft next to the skin and good as an outer layer when combined with a base layer, or as a mid-layer on really cold rides.
Aside from the three rear pockets there’s also an additional small, zipped pocket for valuables, and reflective detail. It’s also available in red as well as the black of our test sample.
dhb Windslam Blade Jersey – £79.99
The Windslam Blade jersey is for colder conditions and, while largely made from the same fleece-lined fabric as the Vaeon Roubaix jersey, has a windproof membrane on forward facing areas of the jersey. The result is a jersey which does a great job of keeping the wind off your chest without having the bulk of a jacket.
While the chest and outer arms use the windproof fabric, the back and under arm panels are membrane-free which helps prevent you overheating. Two vertical mesh ventilation panels, one on either side of the back, do a surprisingly good job of letting air pass through the jersey, which in turn helps transfer moisture away from the body, but on rides where you’re working hard or when the temperature creeps up, there are two additional zipped vents on the sides of the chest to facilitate the movement of cool air through the entire jersey.
That means it’s a surprisingly versatile piece of kit. Whereas some windproof jerseys and jackets are best saved for the coldest days, when there’s little risk of overheating, the Windslam Blade jersey can be used in a variety of conditions. I’ve used it through winter as part of a three-layer clothing get-up on sub-zero rides and on its own with a short sleeve merino base layer on recent days when the temperature have been around seven degrees.
Our size medium test sample is just that, with enough room underneath the jersey for an additional layer or two, but with a ‘form fit’ which hugs the body in the right places. Out back there are three vertical pockets but, because the fabric has plenty of stretch, we found these sagged a touch when fully loaded for a long winter ride and a little difficult to access. There’s also an additional zipped pocket big enough for a smartphone. All that’s left to mention is reflective detailing on the chest, back, arms and logos.
dhb Vaeon Reflex Roubaix Bib Tights – £64.99
The Vaeon Reflex legwear range is new for this winter and, once again, it uses the same 235g Roubaix-lined fabric that is popular across the rest of dhb’s collection. The key difference, however, is that all items in the range have oversized 3M reflective prints.
In our opinion it’s clothing covered in reflective print like this which will attract the attention of drivers at night, particularly when car headlights shine down on your furiously pedalling legs. So the Vaeon Reflex bib tights score top marks for visibility, which marks them out as ideal for evening training rides or commuting.
dhb say the fleece-lined fabric is suitable for a temperature range of 8-15 degrees but we’d say they’re suitable in weather a little colder than that, down to around five degrees, although it depends on your tolerance to frosty conditions. On the front of the tights there’s a zip which makes nature breaks a breeze. The tights are shaped with a number of panels but we struggled a little with the fit. While the tights are superbly cut around the knee, with no bunching of material, we found it difficult to get the pad to sit exactly where we’d like it when you initially pull the tights on. That can be resolved by quick pull of the tights here and there, or a shuffle about on the saddle, but it’s not something we’ve experienced with other dhb tights.
That aside, the tights use a CyTech Race chamois which dhb say is suitable for rides of around two hours but we’ve had no problem on rides a little longer than that. Otherwise, the tights have foot loops at the bottom at each leg. We’re not normally a fan but these are made from a very thin material and, while you can feel them when you first pull on the tights, that sensation disappears as soon as you’re on the bike and pedalling away.
dhb EQ2.5 Waterproof Jacket – £69.99
If you’re determined to ride year-round regardless of the weather then you’ll need a warm, waterproof jacket which will keep you dry on rides when it’s raining from the outset.
The dhb EQ2.5 waterproof jacket does just that without breaking the bank. It’s made from a 2.5-layer, Teflon-coated fabric which will see off the worst weather conditions.
But there’s always a trade-off between waterproofing and breathability when it comes to jackets like this, in that the former seeks to keep water out, and the later requires moisture to be released through the fabric. That means the EQ2.5 can get a little toasty and clammy on the inside on warmer winter rides when it’s still raining heavily, although there are zipped vents under the arms for extra ventilation when required, and an additional vent covered by a flap on the rear of the jacket.
Details include a generous dropped tail, adjustable cuffs and articulated sleeves which provide a secure fit on your wrist. There are two internal pockets on the lower half of the front of the jacket, but in reality these are only useful for light items as anything else will bang against your leg at the top of each pedal stroke. There’s also a single, zipped pocket on the rear of the jacket and while that has more than enough room to carry winter essentials, it does, like most pockets of his nature, sag quite heavily when fully loaded. You’re better off using a well organised saddlebag.
dhb describe the jacket as having a ‘mid-slim’ fit but it’s anything but that, with our initial medium test sample very generous. We switched to a small and the fit was excellent when wearing the jacket on top of a long sleeve jersey. But minor gripes aside, this is an excellent winter jacket (also available in grey and black, and in a female-specific fit) for not a lot of money.
dhb Amberley II Glove – £26.99
Good winter gloves are an essential addition to any cyclist’s winter wardrobe and the dhb Amberley II gloves are water resistant and windproof, making them ideal for mild to cold rides.
The gloves are listed as being waterproof thanks to the use of a membrane which sits between the outer layer and the brushed polyester lining and they’ll keep your hands dry on long rides in persistent rain, although they gloves will eventually be penetrated in the very worst, heavy rain.
The gloves have a compact fit and by that I mean that while they initially look fairly bulky, there’s not much in the way of padding. I like this as it ensures a good feel on the handlebar and shifters, and there’s still enough about the gloves to dampen road vibrations. The fingers are pre-curved, the palm is reinforced and the index and middle fingers, and thumb, have plenty of silicon grip, which all makes for a pair of gloves which are well designed for cycling.
The gloves are warm down to around five degrees. We had a medium and large pair arrive at RoadCyclingUK and while the medium proved a perfect fit, the slightly roomier large gloves combined perfectly with dhb’s Roubaix Liner gloves on frostier rides. Those liner gloves, by the way, also have plenty of silicon grip on the palm and fingers so are good in their own right on spring or autumn rides.
dhb Windproof Overshoe – £19.99
dhb have a size guide on the Wiggle website for the Windproof Overshoe and so, in line with that, we plumbed for a medium pair for our size 43 shoes. In reality that meant the overshoes needed some persuasion when kitting up for a ride, so don’t expect to put these on in a rush when about to head out of the door. Once on, however, the overshoes are snug and provide a close fit around the ankle, heel and sole of the shoe. A zip on the rear of the overshoe also ensures a good fit and that can be fastened using the accompanying velcro tab.
Crucially the overshoes have proved durable through the course of our test, with a reinforced Kevlar toe, heel and base to protect the shoe when walking. As for windproofing, the overshoes do a good job of keeping cold air off your feet and, while not waterproof, will shake off light rain and road spray.