This week I am mostly very jealous of Andreas and his Frisco jaunt. I’ve been keeping the home fires burning having a look at some dhb kit that Wiggle kindly gave me to road test. I did take some photos of me wearing the kit but they got lost on a memory stick somewhere between home and work so you’ll have to put up with these pics from Wiggle. My guess is down the side of the train seat. I hope nobody finds it and bothers to look. Lots of crap shots of me in all manner of cycling kit and lots of bike porn! Sad I am….
If you read this column on a regular basis or look at my blog, you’ll know that I’m not short of a bit of kit and that my preferred brand is Rapha, mainly because of the quality of most of it but also because of the fit and the colour scheme. I can’t tell you that it’s value for money but I like it and I’d rather spend my hard-earned on something that looks good and makes me feel good rather than less money and feel that it’s not quite as good as it could have been.
Shock!! the DHB Pace Roubaix bib tight might have me eating my words. There are only two very minor issues with them, the length and the inside seams, but overall at a very respectable £49.99, it’s more than a serious rival for the Rapha 3/4 version, which comes in at a whopping £160. The pad on the dhb tight is manufactured by Cytech, as is the Rapha version and, although not quite the same, my bottom couldn’t tell the difference, and I doubt yours will either. It was super comfortable. The fabric is lovely and fleecy on the inside, smooth and thick on the outside and is all you need for a autumn/winter/spring tight. The shoulder straps are wide and don’t dig in so it’s comfortable over a bra and although the legs felt a little tight, there was lots of movement on the bike and I didn’t feel restricted at all. Apparently the legs are tight to prevent trapped air and therefore more cold. There is an extra panel on the knee to stop the windchill.
The zips on the ankles were super quality, as with the jacket, and there was a lighter. wicking fabric under the arms and on the back panel. As I mentioned earlier, the only downside to this tight is that the seams aren’t flat-locked and therefore could be an irritant on real long outings. Because the legs are so tight, the seams do make a mark but on my rides I didn’t feel any discomfort. If your skin is fairly resilient, as mine is, then I don’t think it will be a problem but for longer rides, anything that might chafe, will. The legs are not as long as I would really like (I’m 5’8″) but in the conditions for which they are designed, I’d be wearing overshoes or over-socks and those would solve the problem of the little gap. These two points don’t seem, on any reckoning, to make the difference between £160 and £50.
I normally take a size 10 but this jersey was very snug fitting and even though it had gripper on the bottom, the jersey just wasn’t long enough to stay in place and no amount of gripper would have kept the hem there. I’m sure that it would be better in a larger size and if my cycling purse didn’t extend to the price of a soft-shell, then I’d get this. It’s lovely and thick fabric, super warm but with more breathable inserts under the arms, sides and back of the shoulder. I tested the red colour and the white fabric that you can see on the picture is the breathable stuff. It has a good amount of reflective detailing on the forearm and elbow, back logo and tail. There is an angled panel for the elbow to give a good range of movement the bike and the sleeves are long enough for extended riding on the drops. There are a good amount of pockets, 3 on the back, and a zipped valuables pocket with just enough room for a credit card and a key, and a key fob to clip them to. The best thing about this jersey, and the most thoughtful touch, is that there is a sweat-proof lining in the middle pocket to prevent your phone and your fiver from becoming all misted up and damp after a long ride.
This jacket isn’t waterproof or windproof so you’d be wearing a very lightweight waterproof/windproof over the top if it rains. IMHO, this is the only thing that lets it down. It should be one of the two, either water-resistant or windproof, but for dry, crisp and cold days, it’s a winner. It comes in at a very respectable £53.99 but I’d go a size up if you’re thinking about one.
This is a fairly unremarkable base layer, good for wearing under a gilet which has pockets at the back. It’s nice and long and, although I personally don’t like to tuck things into my bib tights, it’s long enough for you to do that, as long as your top layer had the required pockets. The sleeves are nice and long too and the fit is snug. Perfect for running or cycling and superb value at £20.99. You can’t go wrong at that price for a top that does double duty.
All in all, the dhb gear is brilliant for the price. Well constructed, good fabrics and nice details which usually make the price go up a bit. All of these I tested were women’s specific too. It’s nice to see just as much attention to detail in the women’s ranges as in the mens.
Three of my work colleagues are currently training for the London 2 Paris bike ride on behalf of Help For Heroes. One of them is a woman, slightly shorter than me and a size down, so I’ve donated this kit to her for the ride. I think it should fit her better than me and she’ll be needing every bit of kit she can get her hands on for the training and the ride. If you’d like to sponsor the trio, here is the link below. See you next week!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.