Autumn clothing: dhb - review

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Autumn clothing: dhb – review

dhb is the in-house clothing brand of online retail giant Wiggle and the Hampshire-based brand has really upped its game over the past couple of years.

A well-designed and value for money winter ensemble

Value for money has always been dhb’s biggest selling point but the brand has improved significantly on the style front.

Winter cycling can be an expensive business with the array of gear and clothing you need to see you through the cold, dark months ahead, but this is a well-designed ensemble which won’t break the bank.

The Windslam jersey has a windproof front panel

dhb Long Sleeve Windslam Jersey (£48.99)

The Windslam jersey is a innovative piece which uses two different fabrics to keep the wind at bay while ensuring that you don’t overheat.

It’s blowy out there and, combined with falling temperatures as we head into winter, wind chill will make it feel colder than it actually this. This jersey uses a wind resistant membrane on the front panel to combat that. The front of your body takes the full impact of the wind but the Windslam’s front panel does a great job at keeping the chilly breeze out.

The key to its success as an autumn piece, however, are the arms. They’re made from a lightweight polyester fabric which isn’t windproof, thereby regulating your overall body temperature. The back of the jersey is made from the same fabric, while there are mesh panels under the arms for added ventilation. Both fabrics – the front panel and the rest of the jersey – are very breathable, quickly wicking sweat away from the skin on fast rides.

There’s reflective detail on the chest, forearm and tail, which is in turn lined by a silicon gripper to hold it securely in place.

The fit is, on the whole, excellent; slim without being super-tight, with the back cut slightly longer than the front to protect your rear from road spray. The cuffs on the arms are a little loose, however, and a slightly tighter fit would provide a more secure fit over the top of gloves, and stop any wind blowing up the arm.

At the back there are three pockets, with the middle covered by a flap to protect your valuables in poor weather. That does, however, mean you can’t use the central pocket to store a mini pump and I’d personally prefer a standard three-pocket arrangement with an additional small, zipped pocket for valuables.

Minor gripes aside, the Windslam jersey does a superb job at bridging the gap between autumn and winter. dhb also offer a Roubaix-lined version of the Windslam for colder conditions. This unlined version, however, is ideal for days when it’s a little chilly for arm warmers, but you don’t want to dig out the winter softshell just yet.

It’s a jersey which has had plenty of use over the past month, first with a short sleeve polyester base layer, then with a short sleeve Merino base layer, and, on the few really cold days we’ve had so far, with dhb’s Merino long sleeve baselayer.

dhb’s Merino baselayer is soft and warm

dhb Merino Long Sleeve Roundneck Base Layer (£32.99)

dhb’s Merino base layers have been part of my winter wardrobe for some time and little has changed in their design over the years. That’s a testament to the quality and value for money.

This one is made from a 150g fabric which is super-soft, with none of the scratchiness that associated with wool in years gone by. The fabric feels thin to the touch but it’s very warm, and has plenty of stretch, resulting in a snug fit, but one which isn’t restrictive.

Merino base layers behave differently to the polyester versions you might wear through summer. While a fast-drying polyester base layer serves to wick sweat away from the skin as quickly as possible, Merino retains moisture in order to keep you warm. Its natural insulation is excellent, holding heat within the fibres of the wool.

Merino still has a natural wicking quality, moving sweat away from the skin, but, on the whole, it takes much longer to dry than a synthetic fabric. That’s fine, though, unless you stop for a prolonged period of time mid-ride, when a damp base layer combined with a chilly air temperature will make you cold.

Merino remains an excellent choice for winter, though – it’s soft, warm and insulating – and this performs like a base layer with a much higher retail value.

Reflective detail for winter riding

dhb Vaeon Roubaix Padded Bib Short (£42.99)

dhb’s Vaeon range replaces the Pace collection from last year. All legwear in the Vaeon Roubaix range uses a 235g Lombardia Lycra fabric, which is Roubaix-lined on the inside, giving it a soft, fleecy finish.

Why wear Roubaix-lined shorts? A bib short and knee/leg warmer combination offers, in my opinion at least, more freedom of movement than bibknicks or tights. Only when winter sets in for good does the additional warmth of full-length longs swing the balance in their favour.

They’re also useful for racing, or at least any high intensity training. The full-throttle nature of cyclo-cross racing, for example, demands that a rider ‘dresses down’, but these shorts ensure all the key areas are kept warm.

For the final round of the Rapha Super Cross series, which took place last weekend during the first truly cold blast of the season, I paired these shorts with knee warmers, a short sleeve base layer, RCUK summer jersey and arm warmers, and was plenty warm enough without overheating.

As you would expect, these are considerably warmer than regular Lycra shorts, which the chilly autumnal wind will cut through. They’re also more resistant to rain in that the added thickness means it takes long for it to reach the skin.

The bib straps are made from the same Roubaix-lined fabric as the rest of the shorts, but the centre back panel is made from mesh to improve ventilation on a part of the body which can be prone to sweat build-up. On the whole, the shorts do a good job at wicking sweat away from the skin despite the fleecy lining.

dhb say the Vaeon Roubaix range offers a snugger fit than the Pace Roubaix range it replaces and the shorts are anatomically cut, thereby following the curves of your body when on the bike, but like much of dhb’s range, sizing is still fairly generous.

What about the chamois? dhb use a mid-range CyTech Giro chamois, made from a dual density foam and with an anatomic construction. dhb say it’s suitable for half-day rides and that’s a fair description.

Otherwise, the shorts are held in place by silicon grippers on the inside seam of each leg, while there are reflective dhb logos on the outside of the right leg and the back of the shorts.

On the whole, these are excellent shorts; warm, comfortable, versatile and superb value for money.

dhb Vaeon Roubaix Leg Warmers (£21.99)

No bunching

Finally, the Vaeon Roubaix Leg Warmers work well on cold days when paired with with dhb’s shorts from the same range. They’re made from the same fabric and so, unsurprisingly, offer a similar level of warmth, plus there’s the same super-soft finish.

The key to a good pair of leg warmers, and knee and arm warmers for that matter, is the cut. Some leg warmers with a less sophisticated cut will bunch up as you ride but that’s not the case with these. We’ve also tried dhb’s Vaeon arm and knee warmers and they’re excellent as well.

The Vaeon Roubaix Leg Warmers have an anatomical cut, so they match the shape of your legs and follow the movement of your knees as you ride.

The leg warmers are quite tight at the bottom, so you need to take care when pulling them on to avoid popping a stitch, but the overwhelming upside is that they grip the ankle well and there’s no bagginess, no matter how skinny your legs.

That’s helped in part by a silicon gripper which runs around the inside of each ankle, and the top of the thigh gets the same treatment to stop them slipping down at the other end.

There’s also an external silicon gripper on the outside of each thigh, which helps to lock the leg warmers in place against the shorts you’re wearing them beneath. An impressive touch to round-off an impressive bundle of cold-weather kit.

www.wiggle.co.uk/dhb

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