The Aeron Lab Raceline kit from dhb will save you precious watts. Really, it will. It's nice to wear and easy to use, too. If you're looking for a performance fit in your jersey then it's certainly one to consider.
- Pros: Close, comfortable fit; aero benefits; good pockets
- Cons: Hard to get on, armpits get a bit sweaty, you might need a V-neck baselayer
This kit has been developed in conjunction with the Canyon dhb pro team, and the main aim has been maximising the aero performance to save you effort. To that end the kit is pretty uncompromising in its cut, with no spare fabric anywhere; if you tend to sit between two kit sizes you'll probably want the bigger of the two.
The material is nice and stretchy to keep the fit close, but that and the very tacky sleeve grippers combine to make it pretty hard to get on, and you need to be a bit careful not to put too much pressure on the seams. That's the payoff for getting it super-close-fitting, though.
Once it's on the cut is very good: the kit is comfortable and doesn't feel restrictive. The sleeves are long, so if you're out in the sun you might end up with some slightly odd tan lines. The hem gripper keeps the body of the jersey in place very well.
The neck is tight, and quite low, which meant that my baselayer poked out of the top a bit. You might need a V-necked base layer for best results there. That or just don't wear one.
Does it save you energy? We did some testing up at our local closed road circuit and the answer was: yes.
So the shorts and the jersey combined saved me 8W at 30km/h. Those numbers aren't huge, but they are repeatable: I've done the test again in (obviously) slightly different conditions since, with the same result. The saving ramps up considerably the faster you go: your wind resistance is proportional to the cube of your velocity, so if you go twice as fast there's eight times as much to overcome. Going from 30km/h to 40km/h would more than double the saving here.
How much of that is down to the jersey? Well, there's more jersey surface in the wind, in cleaner airflow, so certainly more than half; I didn't test the bibs and the jersey separately. Is it a meaningful saving? Well, in terms of its magnitude it's not all that different from switching from a standard road bike to a brand new, state-of-the-art aero machine. Cannondale says that its new SystemSix would save you around 14W over a standard non-aero road bike at the same speed. So in terms of savings per pound spent, you'd be much better off buying the kit if you want to cheat the wind.
Maybe if you're all-out in pursuit of your efficiency savings you'd be prepared to put up with a bit of discomfort and some idiosyncratic design choices. You don't have to here: this is a very easy-to-like jersey. It fits snugly but it's not uncomfortable. The three pockets at the back lie pretty flat when they're empty but they're plenty stretchy enough for a bit of packing for a longer ride. There's a hidden valuables pocket in the middle pocket in place of a zippered one; it's a bit of a faff but works okay.
I've completed a range of rides in the Raceline jersey up to a fairly fast (for me) 125km, without any major issues. If there is a downside with the design, it's that the aero fabric doesn't really allow much airflow to your armpits, so you can get a bit sweaty there. A vented panel would help and probably wouldn't affect the aero performance very much.
Value-wise it's decent; the RRP is £110 but it's already discounted on Wiggle/CRC to £82.50, and that's the only place you can buy it, so the RRP is kind of moot, really. At full price it's the same as Castelli's Aero Race 6.0 jersey, which also makes claims for its aero efficiency, but which I haven't ridden round in circles to test. In terms of the garment quality the dhb jersey isn't giving anything away.
Overall this is a very good jersey. The aero claims were borne out in our outdoor tests, and it's a well-made and well-thought-out jersey for faster riding.
Good quality, close-fitting race jersey with aero credentials
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road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Aeron LAB Raceline jersey
Size tested: XL
Tell us what the product is for
dhb says, "Built for speed. The latest and improved dhb Aeron LAB Raceline Jersey 2.0 combines an exceptional second-skin fit with new aerodynamic fabrics. If going fast is the aim, this new development from dhb ticks all the boxes.
"Aeron LAB. Engineered in the best laboratory we know: out on the road.
"Over two years in the making, the all-new Aeron LAB collection combines rigorous real-world testing with the best components available, resulting in a collection tuned to the needs of demanding riders reaching for new levels of performance. Because when you're pushing yourself, you need kit that exceeds your expectations."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Aeron LAB Raceline: tuned for speed
Raceline has been designed around one thing: speed. Using fabrics specifically selected to disrupt airflow and help you cut through the air more efficiently, Aeron LAB Raceline feels fast, looks fast and is fast.
Race ready, second-skin fit
Made for top level road cyclists with a cyclist's physique, Aeron LAB has a close, uncompromising second-skin fit. It's built for riding fast. This brand new model has had the fit refined and improved so it's now better than ever.
Designed to sit extremely close to the body with no excess fabric to slow you down, Aeron LAB has a closer fit than the dhb Aeron collection. It will feel different: compressive and close. Once on the bike, Aeron LAB comes into its own.
With a shortened front zip length designed for an aggressive riding position, the LAB Raceline Jersey is perfect for riders who spend most of their ride pushing the pace. The low neckline also improves comfort when riding in this position.
Premium disruptive fabrics
Fast fabrics that disrupt the airflow in key areas have been used by dhb to create a jersey tuned for speed. This latest Raceline jersey gets a boost in performance thanks to a new 3D Aero fabric. Across the shoulders, the length of the sleeves and down the side panels, dhb have used this quality fabric, there to improve your aerodynamics and help you cut through the air quicker. Added to a lightweight, high-wicking fabric for the body of the jersey, this is the perfect race-ready combination.
When the fabrics have been put together with a super close fit and longer, more aerodynamic sleeves, the result is your new favourite race jersey.
Pockets that work
Rear pockets on elite level jerseys often perform poorly when fully loaded – but without a team car on an all-day ride, that's exactly when you need them to work. dhb have carefully built the Raceline pockets to sit flush when not in use and able to take a load when you need, without any sagging.
Inside the middle pocket sits the toko pocket. It's a hidden fabric envelope, there to keep your valuables secure without needing to add the bulk and weight of a zip. It's also got a radio porthole just in case you do need to talk to that team car after all.
Neat finishing touches
When the tempo picks up, the details have to be spot on. A minimal hem gripper keeps this jersey in place during even the most intense efforts, especially when combined with secure but non-restrictive arm grippers.
Well made, good quality fabrics.
Easy to wear and use as a jersey, aero claims backed up by our testing.
Thin fabric and tight fit mean a lot of pressure on the seams.
It's snug. I wore an XL when I'm normally an L in a standard fit jersey.
It's a light jersey.
Very comfortable once you're in it.
Good value at the discounted price, which realistically is the only one that matters here.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed on a normal cycle, it scrubs up fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Aero fit, comfortable, pockets are well placed and designed.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Hard to get on, gets a bit sweaty in places.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At full RRP it's the same as Castelli's Aero Race jersey, and it's discounted on Wiggle/CRC which is the only place you can buy it.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? If I needed free speed for something I wasn't required to wear a club jersey for, yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
If you want to save watts there are plenty of ways to do that, but addressing your body (80% of the total drag) should be your first priority, and it's cheaper than buying a new frame. For the outlay, this kit makes a meaningful difference and it's decent value too.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.