dhb’s halterneck shorts have been available for some time. They’ve built up a reputation for being incredibly comfortable, great value, and they won ‘best on test’ in our timed ‘quick pee’ assessment. With that success in mind, dhb were keen to create a winter tight version of the same.
You’d have thought creating a bib tight version of the halterneck short would be easy – simply apply the same design to a long pair of tights. Not so. In fact the brand tell us a great deal of research and development went into these tights. The extra material involved had to be taken into account, so that the halter wouldn’t pull on the rider’s neck and the bottom half wouldn’t slip down.
Both the shorts and these bibs sit in dhb’s ‘Aeron’ range – which is designed to cater for riders after technically minded kit with a sporty cut, but at a sensible price tag. At £80, these certainly are more affordable than most bibs on the market.
dhb Aeron Women's Roubaix Halterneck Tights: The Features
Designed for winter riding, these bibtights are lined with Italian Roubaix brushed fleece. This is warm even when temperatures are barely above zero, and offers plenty of stretch for a close fit. Reflective panels are sewn in at the upper thigh, and they also add a little stretch stretch and break up the black.
Whilst the material is beautifully soft and stretchy, it’s perhaps not as hard wearing as some more resilient options. I did try two pairs of these tights, as the first developed a hole in the upper rear thigh (hamstring). This did seem to be suspiciously close to where the Velcro on my saddlebag might rub, but of course I’ve used several pairs of tights from other brands with the same saddlebag and had no problems. I didn’t experience any problems with the second pair, and it’s entirely possible I was just unlucky with the first. Of course, if a customer were to experience the same issue dhb would be quick to offer a replacement.
The upper body joins at the hips, and narrows to become a thin strip which sits around the back of the neck. This doesn’t offer any extra insulation, as you might get from bibs which have a full body – but it does mean you can pick and choose your base layer more depending upon conditions.
The halterneck bib allows you to simply pull down the back of the tights when you need to stop for a comfort break. There’s no need to remove the neck strap, as the material is designed to stretch with ease. As per the shorts, this works like a dream and eliminates the pre and mid-ride faff we all hate – particularly in winter when it’s cold outside and your pockets are often loaded with enough treats to make a four hour ride bearable.
The chamois used comes from the leading brand Cytech and is their Elastic Interface Tour HP Super Air Seatpad. That’s a mouthful. It all boils down to bum padding that’s specifically designed for endurance rides up to five hours. The fabric used is carefully designed to offer optimum temperature control and breathability thanks to the combination between soft polyamide and quick drying polyester threads. The ‘Super Air’ version has perforated foam for maximum ventilation, too.
To top it all off, dhb have added reflective logos, durable zips and silicone grippers at the ankles. A little more reflectivity and colour on the lower leg wouldn’t be a bad addition in my mind, but dhb aren’t unique in this.
dhb Aeron Women's Roubaix Halterneck Tights: The ride
So far, we’ve got a pretty conclusive offering from dhb: warmth, ease of pee, comfort from the chamois and all the extras such as reflectivity and good leg grippers have been taken into account. But how did they perform on the ride?
In terms of protection from the elements, these tights had me covered through the arctic conditions of November. Some more expensive bibtights will have reinforced panels at the thighs for extra warmth, and dhb don't offer that. This said, Roubaix fabric is renowned for being warm and intensely breathable and performed as expected. I tested a size 8, and the fit was close and comforting - though I can't see availability of any size smaller than that which makes me wonder if some of my smaller friends might struggle.
The halterneck design did take me by surprise on my first ride. I pulled the bibs on, expecting to jump on the bike and ride away in comfort, only to find myself struggling from the get go. The chamois wasn’t really staying put and I was suffering adverse side effects. It was only a short trip out on my cyclocross bike, so I put up with it at the time.
On my next ride, I paid special attention to the way I put on the tights. Sounds ridiculous, I know. But I carefully made sure I pulled the back of the tights up, so that the waist was as it should be: sitting snuggly on my waist. This instantly felt better and I realised that on the first outing, I’d had the chamois sitting far too low, causing a waddling walk and discomfort on the bike. From then on, I had no issues and rode in comfort.
Whilst it’s almost status quo now for a brand to offer a ‘quick pee stop’ solution when it comes to summer shorts, it seems like most don’t afford the same luxury in winter. It’s likely that this is for the same reason that dhb held back: the extra material means the process becomes more complicated. Though this is understandable, it’s also quite unfortunate because it’s on winter rides that the idea of stripping off your jersey to nestle down in a frosty bush is least appealing. After some research and trial and error – it seems like they’ve cracked it. The solution does however require the user to pull their bibtights up properly before getting on the bike.
dhb Aeron Women's Roubaix Halterneck Tights: The Verdict
A great new addition to the women’s bibtight market, that allows the same ease of pee that we often get from summer shorts these days. The hole that developed on my first pair was very unfortunate, though the second pair held up well and so I’m inclined to believe the first was a ‘one-off’. dhb would always replace a damaged item so this doesn’t concern me too much. For £80, you’re getting plenty of warmth and comfort, though at higher price points you might find tights with added windproofing or even waterproof panels.
The bibs are available in sizes 8-16, from Wiggle.co.uk.