Wheelsuckers’ member, Paul Antony, assesses the dhb Aeron Speed Short-Sleeve Jersey and Bib Shorts, both of which were a new addition to the dhb stable of cycling apparel for 2017 and are available in both a men’s and women’s version.
The Aeron Speed is an updated version of the excellent ASV collection and the tight-fitting, aero cut makes pitches it very much in the performance and race-orientated market.
Would you buy clothing that looks great but doesn’t quite work as it should? Or would you buy something that works well and never mind how it looks? Cycle clothing manufacturers have a tough job as their products have to function, fit, last throughout hard use . . . and they have to look good too!
The dhb Aeron Speed Jersey is a highly technical garment, incorporating lightweight fabrics aimed very much at the performance end of the cycling spectrum. And if I was in need of any reminding of this, then the attached labels for ‘Hydro Fit fabric’ which “expels humidity immediately” and ‘HEIQ Fresh Tech’ that “eliminates bad smells from your clothes” suggested I had quite a lot to live up to!
The fabric of the jersey is thin and feels as light as any top end climbers’ jersey. The front panel is a denser weave, while the shoulders, entire back, sides, arms and underarm utilise a perforated fabric to maximise breathability.
The collar is soft, but runs high up the neck. The Aeron Speed is a summer jersey, so I question whether a high collar is really necessary. I just tend to leave it zipped down a little.
On the rear of the jersey, there are three pouched pockets (of the denser material) and the right hand pocket has a vertical zipper for your phone, as well as an unusual fabric separator inside the pouch - a good idea to help separate items you stash away.
The pockets are reasonably high up the back and hold plenty of kit and the outer ones are cut on angle for ease of access – a nice little touch for a jersey in this price bracket. The phone pocket is big enough for an IPhone 6 but the zipper is tight and needs two hands to open (maybe it’s just new?).
The waist has a very angular cut, high in front and long at the back. It has gripper elastic sewn at the bottom of the front panels with a wide black elastic band sewn around the back, which keep the jersey nicely in place.
The Aeron Speed jersey and shorts are also available in a women specific cut.
The racing pedigree of the jersey is further underlined by an internal button hole in the right rear pocket, to facilitate the running of a radio cable up to your ear!
The panel construction and the overall cut of the Aeron Speed Jersey is of a very high quality, but the dhb designers have taken great care to ensure it looks fantastic too. There are plenty of colour options to choose from - I opted for the red version, which is composed of different shades of red: bright red on the shoulders and across the top, a darker red on chest and back mixed, with a very dark, complimentary blue on the sides and under the arms.
I am not a thin person and the jersey is a good, snug fit but not constrictive – the jersey tested was Medium and I am 40” in the chest. The sleeves feel long and stretch out around the arms, filling in the underarms without any gaps. There is no excess material, but I can pair the jersey with a base layer without any increase in tightness.
The silicon hem ensures the jersey stays in place and is even more comfortable when one is tucked in the riding position.
As for the shorts, again the tags say it all: ‘coldblackSun Reflector UV protector’ we are told “reduces heat build-up and protects from the suns heat rays”, ‘Lycra Sport fabric’ offers “lightweight, breathability” and the Elastic interface pad is an “original classic pad used by the best cycling apparel brands…for the most comfortable cycling shorts ever” As with the jersey, a lot to live up to!
The main fabric of the shorts feels like standard lycra, but is actually ‘Revolutional® Energy fabric with coldblack® finishing’, which provides impressive protection from the sun – up to UPF50+ to be exact. In short, a highly technical fabric and the fact that a pair of shorts at this price point offer this level of quality is further illustration that you are getting a lot for your money.
The wide elastic bib straps are sewn onto a perforated material that runs high up the back and low at the front. The pad insert incorporates extra material that runs higher up the front and the back, which may help to keep the pad stitching from wearing out. The pad itself is split down the centre and made of robust, but not overly thick padding.
Most importantly, bib shorts need to fit and I was reassured by the compressive tightness at the top of my legs of the Aeron Speed. When you are riding, the pad stays firmly in place, ensuring maximum comfort. The material at the rear of the pad helps to keep it tight to the body. So, full marks for the cut and fit. (BTW, I am 5’10” and weigh around 75kg, and opted for the Medium).
I have worn both the jersey and bibs many times over the summer, from a short 1.5 hour blast at 15°C with a sleeveless mesh base layer to a challenging 3.5 hour ride that started in 25°C heat. It’s a versatile jersey - in cooler conditions, the solid fabric on the chest of the jersey has kept the chill air at bay, but in hotter conditions, the jersey feels cool, thanks to the excellent ventilation and breathability. The fit and feel of the bibs is first rate, but I don’t think they run any cooler or hotter than my usual bibs, but I’ve yet to feel the need to wear a cooler pair of cycling shorts.
The combination of the jersey and shorts has garnered some very favourable comments from my fellow riders and the combination of the different reds and the deep blue is striking. In conclusion, the dhb Aeron Speed package looks as great as it works and a great addition to the dhb summer collection . . . and also to my own summer wardrobe!
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