You see Wiggle’s own brand dhb clothing riding around on bodies all over the country, and having tested out the kit and examined the price tag, it’s clear to see why it’s so popular.
Kit from dhb has long been considered fantastic value for money, with padded tights available from around £30 and jerseys at £10. However, the addition of the Blok range gave the brand an extra string in their bow: stylish designs in bold patterns and colour schemes that match across an array of accessories.
This year, dhb have proudly unveiled an ASV range of pro-rider tested performance cycling apparel for women, which promises exceptional cold weather protection with a comfortable price tag. However, we chose to test their performance/value kit, to see how well it would stand up for the price.
dhb Blok Women's Meso Lightweight Roubaix Jersey
This jersey has clearly been created from the ground up with autumn and spring conditions at front of mind. With short sleeves, it’s designed to be paired with the marching arm warmers on chilly mornings, and features a very light fleecy Roubaix fabric that offers warmth, but won’t cause overheating on a sunny day.
Roubaix fabric is often employed for much thicker, winter items – but in this case the material is still very light and feels like a summer item until closer inspection reveals the brushed surface on the inside. It’s this treatment that really sets the item apart as a purpose designed shoulder season garment.
Made from an 83 per cent / 17 per cent polyester and elastane mix there’s still plenty of stretch in the fabric, which provides a flattering fit, and a sort of light sheen which catches the light and adds a little extra style. I wore this jersey for my local bike shop’s ‘Torture Tuesday’ hill reps session, and though my legs were far too warm in the tights I’d opted for, the jersey offered all the wicking properties I’d expect from a quality brand.
At £40, the Meso jersey still sits in dhb’s ‘performance’ category, and has a comfortably close fit that a road cyclist after a sporty look will appreciate. There is a silicone gripper along the hem, though no arm grippers, but at the price point expecting this more luxury treatment would be quite a big ask. There are three rear pockets, plus a zipped compartment, and a cool colour contrast full zip.
The matching arm warmers (£18) and neck warmer (£10) are constructed from a bi-elastic micro brushed jersey fabric, which is comfortable and flexible. The arm warmer grippers do their job holding the tubes in place above the sleeve – always an important test for an arm warmer – and these offer a fairly high degree of warmth. The neck warmer is thinner than some other brands out there, handy if you find you overheat with heavily lined versions, but not ideal if you feel you need a lot of extra protection.
If you need more warmth still, there is also a long sleeved softshell Roubaix version of the jersey for just £65, and we'll be reviewing that when the temperatures dip further.
dhb Women's Classic Roubaix Bib Tights
I'll get my only criticism out the way before moving on to talk about the excellent fabric, pad and value for money.
I’m a big fan of bib tights that use a full zip and offer the rider an effective base layer in the body, and I think brands are really catching on to the fact this is common feedback from women. It’s got to be hard for a brand to get the fit of the body right, and it could be argued that dhb didn’t get it quite right for me. Though the tights fitted everywhere else, I did feel like I was - erm - 'popping out' a bit. I even tried to scour the product page in search of pictures of other women wearing these bibs, so I could garner if this is actually how they're meant to fit.
To be clear, I have other tights in this style, and none of them provide a full coverage or a perfect fit. I'm very much a Bravissimo customer, if you get me, but I'd say dhb's tights had the most 'pronounced' effect I've seen so far. Of course, it doesn’t actually matter, since I’d always be wearing a sports bra and jersey over the top, and I wasn’t made in any way uncomfortable by the fit, I just thought it was a little odd.
On to the the fabric goodness. These tights are constructed from a high quality, robust Roubaix lycra, which makes them thick and luxurious and feels a little bit like a hug for your legs. The brushed fleece within traps warm air generated by your radiator body, whilst the breathability of the outer layer means moisture can make its way to the surface.
The fabric has plenty of stretch, which pings to your form as you pull them on, and there are zips at the ankles to make this easier should it ever become a struggle.
I wore these tights for a cyclocross night ride, when it was pretty cold, for an evening session at the Herne Hill outdoor track, when it was really cold (not sure of degrees celsius, but I couldn’t feel my face) and for a ‘Tuesday Torture’ local bike shop hill reps session at lunch time – when it was about 17 degrees. Oops.
In the first two instances, I was absolutely snug and happy, never overheating even when pushing the pedals harder during efforts and far from feeling the chill on my lower body.
On the third occasion, I was absolutely sweltering and had to actually stop to roll the tights up, choosing riding around looking like a confused farmer over the torture of hill reps in Roubaix. The good news is that the flexible fabric means this is quite easy to do, but clearly not the intention. Of course, it’s not fair to criticise dhb for my own wrong choice of clothing - I probably should have looked out the window before leaving – but worth being aware that most people will only need these tights on the colder rides!
With an in-built Cytech Elastic Interface ‘Giro Air’ cycling pad which is engineered to improve air flow as well as provide a layer of comfort, I was more than happy pedalling away for hours in these. At a current price of just £44, they really do represent excellent value for money.
Stylish kit that ticks the value and performance boxes set out the achieve. The jersey is ideal for changeable conditions, and can be swapped for a softshell later in the year. The bibs are really made for winter rides (or less intense autumn excursions) and might not fit everyone like a glove on top, but offer plenty of stretch and comfort for an excellent price.
dhb Women's Classic Roubaix Bib Tights - £44, sizes 8 - 16
dhb Blok Women's Meso Lightweight SS Roubaix Jersey - £40, sizes 8-16
dhb Blok Arm Warmers - £18 here, yellow and pink available
dhb Blok Meso Neck Tube - £10 here, yellow and pink available