Monday, 29 February 2016

The Long Term Kit Review: DHB Aeron Range

For anybody that knows me, or has ridden with me, you'll know that i'm pretty much always cold when on the bike. I've tried lots of different methods over the years from extra thick base layers, to waterproof jackets over the top of a jersey. So, it was with much trepidation, that when DHB asked if I could review and test their Aeron range, I thought I might actually find a range of kit that will keep me warm over winter. 

I've been riding and testing the Aeron range for the past 3 months over a wide range of rides and conditions. So, some background, DHB's new Aeron range is their performance and flagship kit. Originally starting off as just DHB's top of the line bib shorts, this range has evolved into a full range. 

Aeron Roubaix Bibs
This might sound a bit odd, but these are only my second pair of bib longs. Up until winter 14/15 I had only ever ridden in bib shorts with leg warmers. So, as you can imagine, my first pair if bib longs were a bit of a revelation. A pair of classic DHB Roubaix long bibs, served me well, kept me warm and looked good. I was sure these Aeron bib longs would be just as good, if not better. I've worn these for around 1,000 miles now. Usual ride time in these was around 3 hours, as I tended to ride them on the longer weekend and weekday training rides, and they have been superb, very comfortable on all day rides, look good, have zips at the bottom to make getting on and off easier and most importantly the fleecy roubaix fabric throughout keeps you very warm. What more can you ask for? The only change I would make would be to have the zip and material coming up further up your chest to provide an extra layer of warmth.

Aeron Roubaix LS Jersey
Perhaps the best bit of kit from the entire range is the Aeron Roubaix long sleeve jersey. I find jerseys quite a difficult thing to get right in terms of sizing and warmth. The Aeron jersey is made from roubaix lined material, so offers a nice, thick fleecy lining on the arms and body, yet on the rear has slightly thinner material and thus being extra breathable. This jersey has some really key features that I look for, they're simple, but it makes a big difference, first of all, the neck is high, this offers essential protection from the cold, and in addition, looks great. A second key thing is long arms. At 6ft 4" I clearly have quite long arms, often when trying jerseys if I opt for a size that is good in the body, offering a close fit, the sleeves are miles too short, and you get that annoying bit of skin showing between your gloves and jersey, with this jersey, that just isn't an issue. The cuffs are long and elasticated for extra comfort, and ease of getting on and off over gloves, clever. 
I opted for Small and the fluro yellow colour. I tend to go with slightly smaller sizes that usual to get the close fitting nature (This is small, i'm a 37/38" chest) I'll be honest, this is probably one of the best fitting jerseys I own. It looks great, doesn't bulk up when on the drops, doesn't flap in the wind. The fluro yellow is also a great touch for winter and helps with being that little bit extra visible on the roads. I've been wearing this jersey for around 3,000 miles now  in a wind range of conditions, from early December's mild "winter" of 8 degrees, to the more recent weather where we have finally seen temperatures drop below zero. The jersey has been teamed with a LS DHB merino base layer for temperatures around 5 degrees, anything colder than this i'll use the Aeron lightweight Windslam gilet for extra warmth. A couple of cool little features include a zip rear pocket with a waterproof lining, simple touch, but clever and keep the rain and sweat out. 

Aeron Thermal Socks
Socks. A topic that will stir up much conversation and debate between cyclists. Long white,  fancy patterns, black etc... everybody has a favorite style. Thankfully, winter means this debate if often sidelined as your socks are often covered. These Aeron socks are a good length, a simply grey colour (others available if you fancy), no odd patterns, but most importantly for this time of year they're thermal. Nothing much to say really, they work, they have worn well, and can be worn at work if you forget your plain black work socks...

Aeron Lightweight Windslam Gilet
Another cyclist's wardrobe favorite, the gilet. I wear one alot. I've got 4 different ones, and this is often a go to choice. The Aeron range consists of two gilets, softshell one, and this, the lightweight Windslam. The very nature of a gilet means the lightweight construction of this is ideal. It will keep the wind and chill off you first thing but when you're drilling yourself in Zone 5 you can stuff this in a jersey pocket. Once on, the fit is great, I opted for a medium to allow for layering up, and the fit over a base and jersey is perfect, I certainly wouldn't want to go any smaller and the elastic grippers keep it in place no issue. An issue i've had with other gilets in the past is that once on, unless you unzip, you can't access your jersey pockets. DHB have overcome this by putting two slits on the back to allow your hand through to access the pockets. It's the little things but that is a really good feature.

Aeron Oversocks
Oversocks are pretty simple really (although try explaining to non cyclists when you're putting socks over your shoes) and an ideal extra layer when full overshoes aren't needed, they also do a pretty good job of protecting your shoes and keeping them clean. I've been using Prendas oversocks for the past few years, so was keen to see how these DHB ones will stack up. Whilst you may think and oversock is just an oversock, these DHB ones have a few key differences, first of all, they're quite long. Second they have reflective stripes on the heel and the toe, subtle but offer just a little bit extra visability in low light & dark. They have worn well, the constant stop/start nature of commuting means that they are now starting to develop holes in the toes, but they're only £10, so I reckon that's pretty good.

So, my overall verdict? Well, the Aeron range really is great, the value and price is on point, typically much cheaper than rivals, the quality and fit are superb, and have really upped the game on previous DHB items iv'e worn, and so far, all the item have performed very well indeed.

You can pick the Aeron range up from 

Thanks for reading guys.

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