Over the past couple of years, we’ve noticed a change in stance from dhb, Wiggle’s in-house clothing brand, with a subtle shift from the online retail giant to position itself higher up the food chain.
That is not to say they have become a high-end manufacturer, instead, rather than focussing on budget-busting clothing, there is a generous spread of products to satisfy almost all riders. That shift gathers further steam in dhb’s 2011 summer collection, not just in the clothing itself but also the presentation, with each item individually packaged in a sealable bag.
We’ve received a selection of items to test. Here are the highlights.
Like much of the range, dhb’s new jersey collection covers three price points, starting off with the Transit, which retails for £29.99.
Reflecting its position as a jersey for casual riders or commuting, the Transit, made from breathable polyester and available in red, blue or black, has a relaxed fit, with a 20cm lock-down zip at the front. There are three pockets at the rear and reflective detail on the piping and logo.
Next up at £39.99 is the Clip jersey (pictured right), which has a slim fit, which sits midway between dhb’s relaxed and race cuts.
It’s made from a stretchier fabric – 89 per cent nylon, 11 per cent elastane – to reflect that close fit, and there are mesh side panels, a 30cm half-length zip, two rear pockets and an additional zipped pocket for valuables. The Clip is also available in red, blue or black.
Finally, the price kicks up to £53.99 for dhb’s range-topping Chevron Air jersey (pictured left), available in red or black. According to dhb, it’s “aimed at the rider who has the highest aspirations in cycling.” And, with that, comes a race cut, three rear pockets, a zipped side pocket, full-length zip, discreet ventilation mesh panels under the arms and a seamless collar that sits close to the skin.
Just as in the jersey range, dhb come to the fore with three new bib shorts’ for 2011. All three use high-quality Cytech pads.
The entry-level Aeron, with a Race LT chamois, is made from the Italian Ceylon 190g stretch fabric (80 per cent nylon, 20 per cent elastane), while there are silicon strips on the inside of the legs to hold the shorts in place. These shorts are available in black, red, blue and white.
Stepping up a level, the Aero Race bib shorts, which come with either blue, grey, red or white trim, retail for £59.99 and, with an anatomical design, are manufactured using Action 205g fabric, again with a 80 per cent nylon, 20 per cent elastane composition.
“The slight increase in [fabric] weight from the Aeron shorts means more compression on the legs,” say dhb. “Greater compression provides a feeling of strength and security whilst also improving blood flow and reducing stress on the muscles.”
The braces and abdominal area are constructed from a mesh fabric containing a carbon fibre yarn to regulate body temperature and reduce stress on the body. With a Giro Air pad, the Aeron Race shorts are designed to be comfortable for 3-5 hour rides.
Finally, and most interesting we reckon, the Aeron Pro shorts (pictured right) are made from 249g Fieldsensor fabric (69 per cent nylon, 16 per cent polyester and 15 per cent elastane), which helps wick sweat away from the body.
The top-end Tour Air chamois has perforations in the pad to improve airflow, while the mesh braces, with carbon fibre yarn, further help aid ventilation. A thick white band on the bottom of each leg brings the shorts in line with current design trends, further adding to the pro look. Available in black only, the £74.99 price tag may begin to make your eyes water but you’re getting plenty of bang for your buck here.
While jerseys and bib shorts make up the bulk of the spring/summer range but there’s also a selection of other new items for this season, most notably socks, arm and knee warmers, and a race cape.
We’re particularly impressed with the addition of Summer Socks (pictured left) to the dhb collection. Available in two lengths – 8cm and 14cm – the socks are manufactured using Coolmax fibres to help keep your feet cool, while both the heel and toe are reinforced, with extra support in the arch too. Four colours – white/black, black/white, red/white, blue/white – are available.
The Pace Lycra Arm Warmers (£14.99) and PaceLycra Knee Warmers (£12.99) feature an anatomic design to mirror the shape of your body and are made from a highy breathable Super Stretch fabric with the dhb logo on the right hand wrist and knee respectively. Both are available in red, black and blue.
As for the super-light dhb Clear Race Jacket, that features a water resistant membrane to keep out short, sharp showers, while underarm mesh venting pits help reduce the boil-in-the-bag effect, and a high neck, dropped tail, and elasticated cuffs and waist help keep out any errant rain.
Keep an eye on RCUK for full reviews.