Five highlights from dhb’s 2016 spring/summer Aeron clothing range

Sponsored feature: dhb product manager Ben Hewitt talks us through the highlights of this summer's collection

Sit on the start line of almost any UK sportive and you’ll likely see clothing from dhb. It’s one of the most popular brands among cyclists on these shores and since being established in 2004 dhb clothing, available exclusively from Wiggle, has gone from strength-to-strength. The range now includes everything from entry-level gear for new cyclists to pro-level kit.

Five collections make up the 2016 dhb range and the Aeron range sits at the top, with dhb’s most innovative products. “This is most comprehensive Aeron range we have ever offered,” says dhb product manager Ben Hewitt of the 2016 Aeron collection, which includes no less than 49 items of clothing for men and women.

We caught up with Hewitt to find out more about the development of this year’s Aeron spring/summer clothing and to take a closer look at the highlights from the range – or you can take a look at the full dhb collection here.

dhb clothing is a firm favourite with British riders

The Aeron range, now in its fifth year, is designed to offer a complete collection of clothing to cover all weather conditions, Hewitt says, and is the result of years of development and user feedback.

“We’ve built on the history and the learnings of past Aeron products, updated them and tried to cover anything a ride can throw at you,” he says. “In some cases this has meant ripping up our rule book and starting again; in other cases we have taken on feedback from thousands of customer reviews in order to make a product better.

“The mission with Aeron is simple – kit for any condition. It’s about riding 365 days a year, no excuses.”

dhb’s Aeron Rain Defence clothing is new for 2016

Rain Defence

The Rain Defence range is a new addition to the Aeron arsenal for 2016 and follows a trend within the clothing market over recent years for water resistant, performance-focussed clothing which provides protection from the elements without unduly neglecting fit or breathability.

The launch range is made up of a short sleeve jersey, bib shorts, and arm, knee and leg warmers. “We’ve used a breathable, waterproof, high performance fabric to develop a product which performs really well in the wet,” says Hewitt, who highlights the £95 Aeron Rain Defence short sleeve jersey as a personal favourite.

“The Rain Defence Jersey has taken quite a long time to get right, he says. “The fabric is great but pretty difficult to work with – one centimetre here or there makes all the difference to the fit on this garment.

“We had quite a few rounds of prototype samples across the men’s and women’s products to get it right. I think as a team we’re most proud of this one and I’m certainly very proud of the team for getting the product right.”

The short sleeve jersey has a back yoke vent to help prevent overheating, while the rear pocket is covered with a flap to protect your ride essentials. The front zip is water resistant and also covered with a storm flap.

“The easiest thing in the world with this garment would have been to just make it black – but we don’t do easy and think the navy/orange jersey looks great,” Hewitt adds.

No less than nine pairs of bib shorts make up the Aeron range

Aeron Speed bib shorts

All in all, there are nine bib shorts in the Aeron range – five for women and four for men. The dhb Aeron Speed bib shorts top the range and are described at dhb’s most technical shorts to date, priced at £80 in both men’s and women’s fits.

“We were really keen to use Coldblack fabric to help riders keep cool and this short seemed like the perfect match,” says Hewitt. “We also developed our own straps for the bibs, made from a soft, elastic fabric, and they’re supported by the mesh panel in the back to make the shorts really comfortable and help transfer heat away from the body.”

The shorts are made from a fabric dubbed ‘Revolutional Energy’, which offers a compressive fit said to provide muscular support and an aero fit, while still offering plenty of stretch. The Coldblack treatment helps reduce the absorption of heat rays in dark colours.

“We’ve used the a Elastic Interface Comp HD chamois in these shorts,” adds Hewitt. “It’s designed for around six hours in the saddle and, for my money, is one of the best pads on the market.”

dhb’s Aeron Superlight gilet barely touches the scales at 67g

Superlight gilet and jacket

“The Superlight windproof products are real essentials,” says Hewitt. “We don’t mess around with naming on these things – they are super light.”

You’ll find a Superlight jacket and gilet, in both men’s and women’s fits, in the Aeron range, and both are design to offer lightweight, packable, windproof protection – a must for UK riders.

dhb say the gilet, which weighs just 67g for a men’s medium, is ideal for long, fast descents, or cool mornings and evenings, while the 86g jacket adds a little more protection but is only marginally heavier. Both are available in a range of colours.

“We purposely stripped these back to keep weight down but still provide protection from the wind,” says Hewitt. “I guarantee every member of the dhb team has one of these in their back pocket right now.”

In fact, feedback from the dhb team – and a wider range of product testers – is vital to the development of new products, according to Hewitt, as he explains the process behind getting a new piece from the drawing board to the (online) shelves.

“First of all we make prototypes and fit them on live models on a bike to make sure we’ve got the fit right when you’re in position on the bike. There’s no point in standing up straight and saying a garment fits, then getting on a bike and discovering everything’s a bit out of place,” he says.

“Then we test! And we test again, and we keep testing until we get it right. We have a big pool of people to use for testing. We have riders who compete, riders who pop out for half-an-hour on a Saturday and everyone in-between. Following the testing period we tweak and move things around until we feel that we have it 100 per cent right. Getting the product right is the most important thing in the world to us; we have been known to stop production runs to change things that we notice at the last minute.”

Superlight jersey

The Superlight range isn’t only about lightweight windproof protection, but also featherweight clothing for riding on the hottest summer days. Enter the Aeron Superlight short sleeve jersey.

“There are three short sleeve jerseys in the range: the Aeron, the Aeron Speed and the Aeron Superlight,” says Hewitt. “The Aeron Superlight is the pick of the bunch for me.”

dhb have used lightweight fabrics throughout, including a mesh under the arms. The main body of the jersey also has a UPF rating of 50+. “It’s a great climber’s jersey,” adds Hewitt, who says they went through 50 samples before arriving at the finished product.

dhb’s Superlight jersey is designed for hot summer rides

Despite that intensive development, the Superlight jersey comes in at £55, and Hewitt says it’s vital for dhb to ensure the range remains competitive on price.

“It’s really important for us to strike the right balance between performance, technical fabrics/features and affordability – it’s kind of what we do,” he says. “We sell direct to the consumer so we can offer fair prices but ultimately  the product and the performance are the most important thing.

“Our customers and what they need are the forefront of what we think about when we’re developing a product. Everything we do is for them.”

The Aeron helmet, pictured above, is also new to the range for 2016

Aeron helmet

Finally, the Aeron helmet, made in conjunction with Italian specialists and Team Sky supplier Kask, is a brand new addition to the range for 2016 and completes an Aeron collection which includes everything from socks, to arm warmers, to jackets.

“We also wanted a great helmet to go with the Aeron range, so we approached the guys at Kask to see if they would be able to help us out,” says Hewitt.

The helmet is a £50 lid which uses Kask’s up-and-down retention system to provide a comfortable fit and easy on-the-fly adjustment. It also has 24 vents and comes with anti-bacterial pads and reflective detailing.

Website: dhb

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