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August 29, 2014
DHB is Wiggle’s in-house clothing brand. While it might not command the same brand appeal and reputation as, say, Castelli or Assos, we wanted to see how dhb’s winter gear stacked up and whether it’s time for a rethink when it comes to perceptions of the brand.
I have to admit, I had reservations about reviewing dhb clothing at first. I perceived it as too low-end and perhaps not appealing to our readers (yes, that sounds snobby!). However, after a couple years of seeing more and more dhb kit on the road with better styling and listening to people’s opinions, I’ve heard overwhelmingly positive feedback. So I asked Wiggle for a sample of their winter range to review.
In my experience with dhb this winter, their garments offer you 90% of the fit, comfort and performance benefits that luxury garments four times the price offer. What you don’t get with dhb are the exorbitant brand costs and the small details that offer diminishing benefits in high-end garments. Don’t get me wrong — I absolutely love those small details that the top brands offer, but if your a pragmatist and you want value for money, then dhb products should definitely be considered.
Designed in England, made in Bosina or China/Macau are what you’ll see on the tags inside the dhb garments. No, not made in Italy, but not much is anymore.
These winter tights might be one of the best value-for-money products I’ve come across. I’m accustomed to paying an enormous amount of money for simple bib shorts (nevermind tights) and these have it all. Most importantly, they use a quality 2D (two layer density) Elastic Interface seat pad (read more about what a good chamois needs here) that’s properly positioned. Traditional winter tights often don’t include a seat pad because they’re meant to have a set of cycling knicks underneath (for proper fit) but I see absolutely no issues with the way these fit.
Personally I’d wear these between about 0C-10C — anything above that would simply be knicks and leg warmers weather.
The garment uses Roubaix fleece-lined fabric (85% nylon and 15% elastane) which is warm, breathable and reinforced with multiple thicknesses in all the right places. Designed with pre-bent legs, they’re a snug fit on every part of the leg (bent or straight) with absolutely no sag or excessive stretch at any position.
The high zip at the waist keeps you extra warm and the ankle zips make them easy to get on and off. Silicon grippers ensure they don’t ride up.
Upon inspection, the stitching looks comparable to similar high-end garments. Reflective detailing strips on the rear of the legs and two reflective dhb logos help to improve your road visibility when riding in reduced light conditions.
The only way I could see this garment being improved is by including some water resistant panels on the backside so that water doesn’t directly penetrate the seat pad during those wet days. But at $77, if you only got one season out of these they’d be worth it. I’ve seen leg warmers cost more. And I’m certain you’d get multiple winters out of these.
For more information head to Wiggle.
The dhb Momentum Roubaix long sleeve jersey compliments the bib tights mentioned above. Both are made for riding in similar cool temperatures and have matching styling.
Featuring a mid-weight fleece-lined fabric with varying thicknesses and breathability in different areas, it’s ideal for 8C-12C temperatures. There’s no WindStopper material anywhere on the garment which is intentional — this keeps it breathable and lightweight in cool (not freezing) temperatures.
The rear pockets are excellent. By that, I mean that the middle one is sized properly (i.e. all your big and heavy stuff can go in there) while the outer pockets are tapered for easy accessibility and access. With fleece garments such as this I’ve often seen lots of sag in the rear pockets due to the stretch of the fabric, but this jersey executes the rear pocket form and functionality without flaw.
The fit is not quite at the “performance” end of things where the jersey is skin tight, but it’s still flattering for those of us who can’t quite pull off that WorldTour rider physique.
In terms of styling, the two shades of black with a hint of fluro yellow work well in my opinion. The reflective panels work themselves into the design while still being practical, adding a safety component to a colour that doesn’t stand out in the dark.
The dhb Windslam Roubaix jersey is meant for those moderate autumn or spring days where the sun is warm and the air is cool. The whole garment is made from the same breathable polyester mesh fabric and the front protected with a windproof membrane to keep the chest warm. It’s best to be worn with a merino base layer underneath and nothing else.
It’s a “performance fit” that looks good whether you’re slim or have a little winter insulation to hide with an understated but smart styling.
The Windslam is best worn on those 12C – 15C degree days without need for armwarmers or a vest. It’s simple, gets the job done, and at $72.50, you can’t beat the value for money.
Perhaps one of the most versatile and essential pieces of clothing we tested in the dhb winter range was the Wisp Windproof Jacket. On even the most beautiful of days I’ll almost always have a lightweight jacket stuffed in my back pocket. They’re great for the start of a ride in those brisk mornings, I always put one on when descending, and of course, they’re a saviour in unexpected bad weather.
There’s not too much to a jacket like this but the Wisp Windproof Jacket makes use of most features you’d want. It’s 100% Polyester, extremely lightweight (no pockets to add bulk), a high fleece-lined collar which almost tricks the body into a feeling of warmth, reflective strips for night time use and has cuffs and waistband to keep things in place. The jacket packs away into the arm sleeve for storage, and has vents at the back so that it doesn’t balloon up. It’s water resistant enough for a brief shower but don’t mistake it for a rain jacket.
I’ve seen jackets like these with more features such as wind-tight zippers and stitching, pockets, draw-strings and so on, but these things usually add bulk and cost.
After wearing the dhb winter kit for a few weeks I’m impressed with the level of quality given the affordable price. The fit and function all come within reach of high-end garment offerings and I suspect if they put the same marketing dollars into their brand, consumer perception would be the similar.
If your riding is as much about having the best brand on Beach Road as it is being comfortable and warm, dhb mightn’t be for you. But if you’re looking for simplicity that works at a relatively low cost, you’ll be hard pressed to find something better.