dhb has gone high-tech, launching a completely updated Aeron Rain Defence range of clothing that uses fabrics from Polartec and Schoeller. As the name suggests, the lineup is designed to keep you dry in wet weather conditions, while the use of breathable fabrics means that you shouldn't get too damp from sweat.
dhb says that as well as offering clothing that's suitable for a wide range of riding conditions — which it has been doing for years — it is now beginning to design kit for more specific types of weather and circumstances. The Aeron Rain Defence range is one result of that approach. It includes jackets and bib tights for both men and women, along with arm, knee and leg warmers.
dhb is also using more fabrics from well-respected brands like Polartec than ever before. The Aeron Rain Defence Polartec Jacket (£130) is made from Polartec's Power Shield Pro softshell fabric, the idea being to provide resistance to the rain plus warmth and breathability.
Polartec says, "By re-engineering [our] dense knit multi-component fabric we developed an even stronger balance between warmth and breathability while drastically increasing the inherent ability to repel water."
Power Shield Pro features a micro-porous membrane and a weather-repelling exterior that's designed to be durable.
We've not yet reviewed the Aeron Rain Defence Polartec Jacket but we did visit dhb recently and had the chance to check it out. It offers a high level of water resistance without feeling stiff and inflexible or rustling as you move. The fabric is certainly soft and stretchy so we don't doubt that you'll be able to get a close and comfortable fit.
Both the men's and the women's versions feature a dropped tail for protection from road spray, a high neck to keep the wind and rain out, and four rear pockets, including one that's zipped and one that's specifically designed to carry a pump.
One interesting feature is the storm cover for those pockets. This is a flap that covers the tops to prevent water that beads up on the back of the jacket from rolling down and pooling inside. It looks like a good idea.
dhb gives the Aeron Rain Defence Polartec Jacket a temperature rating of 8-14°C although we reckon that you'll probably get some use out of it when it's colder than that with the right base layer because it's highly wind resistant.
The dhb Aeron Rain Defence Bib Tights have a retail price of £100 although both men's and women's versions are currently reduced to £80 on Wiggle. These are made from a polyurethane (PU) foam windproof/waterproof fabric from Schoeller. Polyurethane is an unusual choice.
"PU foam is a unique bonding process which enables our winter bib tight fabrics to have the right level of windproofing, water resistance, breathability and stretch," says dhb. "Whereas a laminated fabric construction would completely block windflow through the fabric, the dhb PU foam bonded fabrics… allow a small amount of air to pass through. For winter cycling tights intended to be ridden at a higher intensity, this means more breathability and more comfort.
"Another benefit of PU foam construction is that it offers a much higher level of fabric stretch than a laminated alternative. Once again this means much more comfort and a better fit."
That's the thinking. The tights also feature Schoeller's NanoSphere durable water repellent (DWR) treatment to stop rain and road spray from saturating the exterior of the fabric.
DWR treatments always need to be renewed sooner or later but Schoeller claims that NanoSphere is one of the most durable out there, lasting up to 50 washes at 40°C, and with the right care can remain effective after that. The function can be reactivated by heat treatment, either in the dryer or by ironing on a low heat (similar to Castelli's Nanoflex, for example).
You'll often find that dhb shorts and tights feature the same seatpads as more expensive options, which is good news because if the seatpad is no good you might as well forget it. The Aeron Rain Defence Bib Tights use a new Paris HP pad from Italian specialist Elastic Interface, part of the brand's Long Distance range with three different densities of foam, including high density inserts in the perineal and ischiatic areas.
The arm warmers (£25), knee warmers (£22) and leg warmers (£25) comprise water-resistant panels on the more exposed front sections and water-resistant stretch fabric panels at the back, with silicon gripper elastic to hold them in place.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.