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review

dhb Aeron Men's Softshell 2.0

8
£120.00

VERDICT:

8
10
A warm and versatile jacket/jersey hybrid that fends off wind and some rain with good breathability and a fair price
Great windproofing panels including on the arms
Sturdy elongated cuffs
Visible and reflective
Comfortable, performance fit
High-fleeced collar
Tight, slightly fiddly pockets
Not very packable
Middling weight
No zipped valuables pocket
Weight: 
358g

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The dhb Aeron Men's Softshell 2.0 is the Wiggle brand's slightly lighter off-season layer that straddles the gap between jersey and jacket, providing wind resistance alongside good insulation. The performance-leaning fit is snug and the top comes in three colours in addition to the lumo hi-vis colourway on test. The DWR does its best in shortish showers but rain will eventually permeate – especially on the back panels.

Check out our best winter cycling jerseys buyer's guide if you're in the market for winter warmth.

Is it a jacket? Is it a jersey? There's no need to decide. You can wear nothing underneath, an underlayer, or stack it up with a jersey on those bitterly cold days, which makes it useful beyond the minimum 6°C guidance. It's a well-constructed jacket, with a really sturdy gripper and very strong cuffs adding to the secure feel.

2023 dhb Aeron Men’s Softshell 2.0 - cuff.jpg

I'm a big fan of cycling kit made to bridge the awkward gaps of the year. This dhb softshell is designed to be ridden in temperatures ranging from 6-16°C, which covers most of my riding in the south of England in early November. Depending on what the weather was doing on any given day I wore the dhb Aeron Softshell 2.0 layer on its own or over a decent technical base layer. The temperature never quite warranted a jersey as well, but I'm confident that would give you carte blanche when the temperature dips lower than 6°C.

I found the jacket really cosy and reached for it before most of my late autumn-early winter rides. The Softshell 2.0 is part of the 'Aeron' collection, which dhb claims contains the most technical fabrics for performance benefits.

2023 dhb Aeron Men’s Softshell 2.0 - pockets.jpg

The fleece back panels are breathable while the slightly coarser panels elsewhere provide windproofing. The difference between the two is clear to the touch, with the windproof sections having a slightly crunchier texture. The neck is high and, like the back, also made of fleece.

I think that dhb has done a great job with the materials: the panelling is carefully crafted so that any front-facing areas and the tops of the arms are windproof but there's enough soft material for heat to escape from the back.

2023 dhb Aeron Men’s Softshell 2.0 - back.jpg

Check the forecast before you head out, of course, but it was easy to get the right insulation for riding in different temperatures, and I found I didn't need a baselayer when the temperature was 12°C or warmer. A sliver of wind-blocking material behind the zip is a further help at keeping out the cold.

2023 dhb Aeron Men’s Softshell 2.0 - collar.jpg

The CO DWR [durable water repellent] coating dhb has used is more environmentally friendly than some alternatives – and it actually seems to work. I was reasonably lucky on my outings, but the jacket protected me well from light and middling showers – especially on the front and shoulder panels.

2023 dhb Aeron Men’s Softshell 2.0 - shoulders.jpg

There was a clear difference in the softer Roubaix sections, which feel more like normal, non-technical material, and the upper half of my back got damp after about 15 minutes in light rain. The material does dry out pretty quickly so I wasn't averse to wearing it for shorter rides when showers were likely.

I wouldn't have changed anything about the cut of the jacket. The sleeves are long enough for you to comfortably tuck your gloves into even when you're riding stretched out on the drops, while the slightly dropped back gives a bit more coverage to your bibs. This material is windproof too, so road spray wipes clean better than the Roubaix fabric. The Roubaix fabric is properly stretchy, with a decent amount of give on the windproof sections, so the jacket adapts nicely to different riding positions.

2023 dhb Aeron Men’s Softshell 2.0 - gripper.jpg

The three pockets are secure, but I found them pretty much impossible to access when I was wearing thick gloves. This is because the overlapping fabric that prevents rain from entering the pockets also makes accessing them very tight. There isn't a valuables pocket so you will need to think about where to stash your keys.

2023 dhb Aeron Men’s Softshell 2.0 - pocket.jpg

The middle pocket has a large reflective dhb logo and the gripper is wide and very stretchy, which is particularly helpful if you've loaded up the pockets of a jersey underneath.

Value

At £120 the dhb Aeron Softshell 2.0 seems like good value. I wore it with two combinations of layering, and if you were to pair it with a jersey and/or a gilet – as well as a baselayer – it would work across an even broader temperature range than the 6-16°C that dhb recommends. It washes well, it feels well made, and I think you would get a lot of wear for your money.

Josh had barely a bad word to say about the Galibier GrandTour jacket, which covers the same temperature range and also has small pockets. It's only £82.34 and when paired with a gilet is designed to be worn down to freezing.

The Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier Jacket is now £135 and Stu rated it highly. It has a double-ended zipper, no pockets and the PI technology keeps light rain off while maintaining breathability, and at 124g it's extremely packable.

I recently reviewed the Van Rysel Winter Jacket Racer Extreme, which is another quality option that represents very good value. It's incredibly warm, helped by both a zippered inner jersey and neck snood. The windproofing was fabulous and it stood up to some quite persistent rain, but it is significantly heavier and bulkier than the dhb.

Conclusion

For all but the very worst of the UK winter, the dhb Aeron Softshell 2.0 is a very capable companion. It's been put together with careful thought, applying the technical materials in the right places, creating a garment that gives you protection from wind and rain without cooking you in the process. The pockets are fiddly but they do at least provide protection for your possessions, so even that minor drawback makes sense.

Verdict

A warm and versatile jacket/jersey hybrid that fends off wind and some rain with good breathability and a fair price

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road.cc test report

Make and model: dhb Aeron Men's Softshell 2.0

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the jacket is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

From dhb:

Our Aeron Men's Softshell 2.0 is the perfect cycling jacket for between seasons. A hybrid of warmth and breathability, this outer layer combines the weather protection of a jacket with the performance of a jersey.

Close-fitting without feeling restrictive, this top has been crafted in fabrics with excellent stretch, allowing you to move freely whether you're focusing on your training goals or simply taking in those crisp seasonal views.

The front panel and upper arms are made from a brushed grid-back softshell, which features a wind-resistant membrane. The soft and breathable fleece-backed Roubaix fabric on the back allows any build-up of heat and moisture to escape while keeping you insulated from the cold.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

From dhb:

Top Features

Grid-back softshell with wind-resistant membrane

Breathable Roubaix back panel

C0 durable water repellent (DWR) treatment

Elongated (10cm) clean-cut cuff

Three drop-in rear pockets

Internal hem gripper

YKK Vislon® zip

Reflective details

Temperature range 6-16°C

C0 durable water repellent (DWR) treatment

A C0 durable water repellent (DWR) treatment is a coating applied to fabrics to make them resistant to water. C0 treatments do not contain perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which are harmful to the environment. The C0 designation indicates that it has a low or no carbon content.

Aeron collection

Our most extensive range of performance products, Aeron is engineered with the best technical fabrics to keep you at optimal body temperature in all conditions. Built to last, we rigorously test every garment out in the field, fine-tuning until they are ready to go. Minimal distractions, maximal comfort.

Fabric composition

Main: 72% nylon, 28% elastane; Back: 96% polyester, 4% elastane; Inserts: 84% polyamide, 16% elastane; Inner Pocket: 100% polyester

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Impressive construction throughout. The YKK zipper is strong and sturdy, the pockets are well-stitched, and the sturdy, extended cuffs are a little bit tight to pull on but feel great on your wrists.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
8/10

Does what it claims to across the board. Once the temperature drops to single digits you need to pair the jacket with a baselayer to sustain a nice temperature.

Rate the jacket for durability:
 
9/10

Everything feels thick and hardy, especially the front's windproof panels. I didn't manage to break anything during test, which bodes well.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
7/10

It has a DWR treatment applied, which only claims to repel water rather than be totally waterproof. Decent performance here, with the windproof front panels providing significantly more water resistance than the fleecier material at the back.

Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10

Also good. The balance between different materials worked well to keep me not clammy even when making decent efforts.

Rate the jacket for fit:
 
9/10

I was happy with the proportions and the svelte cut. The arms are long enough for gloves to tuck into the sleeves and the front and back lengths were what you expect, overlapping with my bibs sufficiently. The back hangs down slightly to provide additional road spray protection.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
8/10

Sized up as you would expect. No surprises here.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
7/10

Not particularly light and doesn't claim to be. It's very similar to the Galibier GrandTour which is a couple of grams heavier and has a comparable spec. At the other ends of the scales, the multilayered Van Rysel is 750g and the pocketless Pearl Izumi is a feather-light 124g so the dhb sits pretty much the middle ground.

Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
8/10

Lovely fabrics used and I wasn't bothered by any of the internal seams. A nicely cut jacket that doesn't pinch or sag anywhere.

Rate the jacket for value:
 
8/10

Since it's both a jacket and a jersey – and feels very much like a jersey when you're wearing it – you need to be careful what you compare this to. It offers good wind resistance, great insulation, and dhb's aeron performance technology – and a bit of DWR coating is thrown in to offer some moderate water protection.

It costs £120, which I think is reasonable, especially as most alternatives are much more binary: either a jacket or a jersey. The Galibier GrandTour is £82 but doesn't have any DWR coating, while the £149 Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier Jacket is pocketless.

I own a Castelli Perfetto RoS 2 Jacket and that can also function on its own or with just a baselayer but does have a more jackety fit than the dhb. Admittedly the Castelli is absolutely top of the range and now costs £260, but the dhb offers good insulation and sheds heat in a similar way.

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Easy to wash. Light marks came out easily and no noticeable bobbling or degradation after a few weeks of wear.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

I wore this a lot during a variety of rides and was impressed with it. I was only caught short when the rain really hammered down, but I was still happy to use it for shortish winter rides where shelter was never too far away.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

I really liked the texture of the different panels and the overall cut and construction both feel carefully considered. The windproof panels brush off dirt and rain nicely and the Roubaix fleece has a super-soft feel.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

I'm not a huge fan of this particular acid shade of high-vis but there are three other colours available. The super-tight pockets are annoying to navigate and I'd have appreciated a zipped security pocket.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

As with much of dhb's range this is competitively priced. It occupies a specific area in the market and offers a good level of performance and technical spec for £120 – and you'll often be able to find it for much less than that.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

A versatile jacket/jersey hybrid that doesn't underperform anywhere. Useful for a significant part of the year and definitely a good thing to add to your collection if you're looking for a top to cover lots of bases.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 34  Height: 187cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride: Pearson Hammerandtongs  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Ultra endurance

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1 comments

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Freddy56 | 3 months ago
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anyone know is dhb ok for warranty or will it die with wiggle

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