See that picture above? Glorious isn’t it. So while I cannot call on the foothills or climbs of the French Alps or the sheer beauty of the Italian Lakes it ain’t all that bad here. Throw in some lovely little coffee shops, well behaved traffic and weather like that and it’s a pretty good place to cycle. Save that it’s not really all that warm yet. It’s still a bit, well, fresh. But I braved it for the purpose of getting this stuff reviewed. While I might have normally opted for 3/4 knicks and a long sleeve jersey I got out there and tested not one, but two new dhb summer jerseys and a range of accessories. So, ahead of my review of those jerseys I thought I’d cover the rest of the accessories that Wiggle kindly provided me with to review. And, once more, it comes as little surprise to find that these products don’t just work well or offer great value, they do both and compete with the more expensive products out there.
dhb Rain Defence Arm Warmers
Ok, I didn’t actually test these in the conditions above. I did these at the end of last week when there were still a few showers around. Though their thermal properties would have been a nice addition to take the chill off even on a sunny ride. They are, quite honestly, ridiculously priced at present. They’ve been reduced from an already cheap £25 to a quite staggering £16. That’s not just good for waterproof arm warmers, it’s good for arm warmers full stop.
dhb produce quite a range of arm and leg warmers now. The Regulate range take care of keeping you warm duties and the Rain Defence do as they say on the tin. In addition there are some more colourful options from their Blok range, very visible options from their Flashlight range and, finally, some very thin UV options from the Aeron range. None of them are expensive. Indeed, you might call of them cheap. In monetary terms of course. If my experience of the rain defence warmers applies to the rest of the range then their performance is very far from cheap.
Wiggle’s description of these states that they are warm and water resistant/offer shower protection. I think they’re selling themselves a bit short here, or perhaps just playing it safe. Certainly one of the two. The warmers are made from Windtex Storm Shield. Remember that? It’s the material that the Parentini Mossa is made from. It’s waterproof rather than merely water resistant. That’s the nature of the fabric. I wonder, here, whether dhb use the description of water resistant due to the fact that they might be uncomfortable describing something with seams as water proof? Perhaps. And it is the case that in torrential rain something will eventually make its way in. Indeed, think about what you might be partnering these warmers with. If it’s with a short sleeve jersey and gilet combination then you’ve got a big gap at the top for water to get in. And whilst the fit of the upper arm gripper is tight water always finds a way. So, in terms of waterproofness the choice is yours. They are as good as you’re going to get in that regard with the inevitable compromise that they are a tube that’s open at both ends. The combination of windtex and the water repellent treatment means that these work very well in cold and damp conditions. Even after the repellent treatment wears off the windtex membrane will still keep working. I wore them in a couple of light showers at temperatures of 8 degrees and they were warm and remained dry inside. I’ll continue to test them in some heavier stuff but, thankfully, the next few weeks look uncharacteristically dry.
You’ll note that the inner is fleecy lined. Not all the way round though, just on the leading edge inside surface. It’s a nice compromise in my view and means that they are sufficiently warm in the conditions that they’re intended to work in and still breathable.
There are 4 sizes to choose from here. That’s a nice option to have. Mine were an XL and fitted my larger upper arms perfectly. Obviously each larger size varies in terms of length and circumference. I hoisted mine up to mid bicep and there they stayed. The grippers are both inside and outside the upper arm so they’ll latch onto you and should also grip your jersey. They’re a little bit less stretchy than a thermal warmer but windtex is still a very stretchy membrane indeed. So there should be no problems getting the best fit. Though, of course, any review of warmers must come with the caveat that everyone’s arms and legs are very different!
You can get similar products from the other big makes. But they don’t offer this combination of waterproof base fabric and repellency. The others are good, but they will be less good over time when they lose their rain repellent treatment. These will also lose it over time, but the nature of the fabric means that they are a much better option. Indeed, you can quite happily purchase a set of dhb Rain Defence (arms, knees and full legs) for around £56 at present. That’s a superb investment and, coupled with a decent pair of rain repellent bibs, gilet and jersey would form the basis of a very versatile wardrobe.
dhb Aeron Seamless Base Layer
I love it. Let’s get that out of the way. It’s as soft as wearing really soft kittens wrapped in silk coated in love. It’s a really soft lovely thing. And, at the time of writing, priced at a very reasonable £20 or £17.60 if you’re a Platinum discount customer. Visually, it looks very much like my Helly Hansen Lifa base layer. But they are very different in my view.
This is one of those versatile pieces that offers a nice element of thermal insulation under a spring or autumn jersey but then doubles up as your go to summer wicking jersey.
It’s made of Dryarn. We’ve seen that one before as well. They provide the material for the quite frankly sublime Parentini long sleeve base layer I tested with the Mossa. Here it’s a slightly different fabric make up overall but still does two things brilliantly. It feels like you’re wearing nothing and gets on with the job of wicking moisture away. I thought it might be worth linking to Dryarn’s website so that you can see some comparisons with other base layer products.
When dhb say seamless they mean, of course, the main body of the garment. We’re still not quite 100% seamless yet. Where there are any seams they are either flat locked or as near enough flat locked as to make absolutely no difference to comfort.
There are a number of mesh patterns going on. The main body is a slightly different and closer pattern than the areas that need a little more ventilation such as the upper mid chest, back and arm pits. You can see that in the photo below (arm pit shot). dhb refer to this as a zonal knit pattern. And it seems to work very well. Though I was out in rather fresher conditions than I’d normally test this in, it was still very much a tempo ride. I removed the base layer the second I got home and found that it was virtually bone dry. Clearly the wicking properties were done well. It even smelt box fresh.
It’s a nice piece this. But what is particularly nice about it is how it feels on. I’ll continue to monitor whether it retains that softness after its washed on each occasion. I know from experience that my Helly Hansen has proved durable but it never started off feeling like this. Generally I just chuck my base layers in with the rest of the wash. I’m going to make sure I take particular care with this as I don’t want to lose that comfort. For really high summer there’s a sleeveless vest version available as well. Size wise mine is an XL/XXL. That ties in with the jersey sizes that Wiggle sent me. I think that it’s probably quite easy to size down in these. Mine is comfortable and doesn’t squeeze me. But I reckon I could get away with a size down as well. There’s no issue here, just preference. But the fit of this is excellent and there are no issues at all with how it sits under a jersey. No trace of an VPL or the like. Chuck it on and forget about it. That’s as good a recommendation as you can ever make.
dhb Aeron Socks
These are socks. They are 13cm height. They are made of polyamide and spandex. Oh, and they’re made in Italy.
Was that enough? They’re just socks right. Well, yes. There’s not a lot you can say about socks other than are they comfy and do they last? I’ve been wearing, in addition to my Prendas Thermolite socks, some dhb ASV Merino socks over the winter. Not just on the bike either, I tend to use cycling socks for just about everything. The dhb ones were comfy, warm and they lasted. They were outstanding at being socks. If that sounds less than sexy, it isn’t meant to, if it does the job well then it’s all good.
These new dhb Aeron ones go for about a tenner depending on whether you’ve got platinum discount or not. Notwithstanding my perhaps flippant intro above, there’s actually quite a lot of technical stuff going on as well. The first thing is that they are very springy for want of a better word, that’s the spandex at work. I’m not going to say they hug your foot or become aero or some other magical property. But they do cling really well and that’s nice. Wiggle claim “Light compression support to help blood circulation.” I’d be hard pushed to test or justify that. But it’s a claim often made of clingy products so we’ll let it pass.
The uppers are a mesh fabric with good breathability. The bottom is a stronger material designed to be durable. The heel is reinforced and has a very slight bit of padding. There’s no obvious seam. And they’re anti microbial apparently. It’s all very lovely. And there you go. Really reasonably priced socks that are lovely to wear. Other size cuts are available so, if you don’t want the very “now” 13cm model then you can choose from a 9cm or 6cm model. For spring and summer temps these are just the ticket. For spring and winter you can also choose from an Aeron thermal, merino or cashmere sock, again in varying lengths. There are loads of colours to choose from. That should cover you for pretty much all conditions. Even wearing them to the office as I often do.
dhb Aeron Speed Overshoe
Speed. That’s a common theme with parts of the new Aeron range. I am speed. Well, not really, not at the moment. But I’m trying my best to get back to it.
These “speed” overshoes retail at £20 or £17.60 with platinum discount. They are absolutely not thermal in any way shape or form. Or waterproof. Or even water resistant. Think of them as filters for road grime and dirt. Something to keep the crap off your lovely shiny shoes. Crucially, they are aero and that’s almost certainly true in terms of marginal gains. I’ve no idea what wattage over what distance it might equate to. Not many I’d imagine. But they are sufficiently slippery looking to merit an aero description and certainly in keeping with other overshoes of their ilk.
There are three colours available. Orange, black or the green, yellow and blue ones above. They are the only multi coloured versions and tie in with the similarly coloured Aeron and Aeron Speed jerseys and bib shorts. Obviously they also match the socks which sit next to them. Well the green bits do anyway. Not that you’ll see your socks if you’re wearing them. Unless you’ve opted for the 13cm socks in which case you will find that they exceed the length of the overshoe. So bear that in mind. If you don’t want your socks peeping over the top then get the 9cm version. Of course, if you’re wearing them with bib tights that’s not an issue.
So, what you get is a tidy zip up the back with some reflectives. The cleat and heel opening are quite wide so there’s no issue getting these on. You need to take some care to get them correctly positioned but that’s an overshoe issue generally rather than these ones. They remain stretchy once installed. It’s possible that you could wear them with MTB shoes given how much area there is at the bottom. But they are a little more fragile than your winter overshoe by their very nature so I’d not recommend it and I couldn’t really see why you’d want to be aero with MTB shoes.
There are 5 sizes from small up to XXL. Mine were the XL for my 45 (UK 10) shoes. The range for the XL is 9-11.5 (44-46). They’re very stretchy so it’s not difficult getting a good fit and, once they’re on, there’s no floppiness or bagginess. The ankle hole is sufficiently tight to ensure closure without compromising in terms of comfort. Each of the contact/seal points (ankle cuff, bottom openings, rear zip) are reinforced so there should be no issues with durability. Finally, that yellow green section at the rear is wipe clean. I should add at this point that only this colour way has that contrast colour panel. The black and orange versions are just lycra there. And that’s it, no fuss, no drama. They’re not sexy in any way but they just get on with the job at hand. They’re well priced, look good and all the features you’d expect are present and correct.
So, there you have it. In addition to these 4 pieces there is, of course, my review of the Aeron short finger gloves elsewhere on the site. The total outlay for these 5 accessories is fairly minimal in the great scheme of things and should last for a number of seasons. I think what’s also important is this. dhb don’t just produce the Aeron and Rain Defence range of accessories. There’s a variety of other ranges as well to suit particular weather conditions, stylistic choice or just preference. I’d expect all of them to perform similarly well given how much clear thought has gone into the things that I’ve tried. Give them a whirl, you won’t regret it.