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review

dhb Aeron Merino Mesh Sleeveless Baselayer

7
£45.00

VERDICT:

7
10
Comfortable and effective baselayer that manages sweat well, but a bit expensive
Fast wicking
Regulates temperature effectively
Comfortable
Pricey for a blended garment
Weight: 
84g

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The dhb Aeron Merino Mesh Sleeveless Baselayer is a blended garment, made predominantly from polyester, so the merino tag seems a little misleading. Indeed, it felt obviously synthetic blend for the first few rides and washes, but longterm it's proven a surprisingly comfortable and temperate garment.

OK, so I gave it away in my opening paragraph – this is a predominantly polyester (76%) garment, with a 2% Lycra component – the rest is merino. However, as I'm fond of pointing out, not all polyesters are created equal.

This fabric was apparently developed in partnership with Thygesen & Birk, who were set a brief of producing a light yet hardwearing mesh for 'incredible insulation, breathability and moisture management.'

Reversible design

The merino is 'extrafine' and sits inside, against the skin. It's designed so it can be reversed for summer riding/warmer climes, where insulation can be very unwelcome.

Now, save for indoor trainer duties, a sleeveless garment might seem an odd choice for year-round riding. However, a 'string' type vest very effectively traps pockets of air, retaining heat. I should also point out that it's not entirely mesh, but attaches to a sold 'frame' to provide more shape at key points.

Sizing

The fit is snug, as you'd expect from a performance base layer. It feels slightly narrow around the shoulders against something like the Lusso Pain Cave Summer Base Layer, but I didn't find it an issue in practice. Otherwise, there is ample length in the body, and no issues with it lifting or bunching when low on the drops. The size guide is very reliable.

2021 dhb Aeron Merino Mesh Sleeveless Baselayer - chest.jpg

Comfort

I was initially a little disappointed by the material's more overtly synthetic feel – I couldn't detect merino's 'trademark' softness. Thankfully this improved with regular washing and use – and was crucially forgotten on the bike – but still came as a surprise. Some pure synthetics feel considerably softer.

> 16 of the best cycling base layers for riding through the year

Flat seams ensure there's no chafing, or indeed tell-tale branding when it's time to hit the shower.

Temperature regulation

In this respect, this top feels closer to a traditional merino garment, trapping and retaining welcome amounts of warmth on cool morning rides, while kicking it out as temperatures climbed into the mid-high teens. In the former context, I'd defaulted to long sleeve middleweight jerseys.

It came as no surprise to discover my shoulders feeling a little cool, but this faded as the miles increased and to my surprise, remained consistent, even when some feisty, cold winds were thrown into the mix. I'm not convinced I'd be defaulting to it between December and March, though.

> 26 of the best summer cycling jerseys — tops to beat the heat from just £10

A few sessions on the indoor trainer, with thermostat turned to the mid-high 20s confirmed the blended fibres respond quickly to moisture. The fabric stops short of becoming damp after the first flush of heat, and stays predominantly dry then onward.

Odour management

Merino is synonymous with neutralising nasty niffs. In my experience, blended fabrics tend to perform quite well on this front. I wore this for a week without washing it... not something I'd advocate, but a sure-fire test. Things turned faintly funky by the fifth day, though it was still within socially acceptable limits.

Durability

For such a light garment, the fabric is seemingly very rugged. While I'm not overly hard on clothing and kit, there's no hint of stretch, sagging or fraying from several weeks' hard use.

> road.cc’s Best Cycling Clothing of the Year 2020/21

I've stuck to thirty degrees and tossed it in with my other technical kit, rather than the household wash, and it's been fine. Obviously it dries rapidly, too.

Value

£45 is on the spendy for side a baselayer, or at least a summer weight vest – there are plenty of polyesters offering excellent performance and giving change from £30. The Lusso Pain Cave Eco Summer Base Layer is a case in point at £29.99, and indeed, the dhb's own Lightweight Mesh Sleeveless Base Layer is £25.

dhb also offers a more tradition short-sleeve model, the Merino Short Sleeve Baselayer, for £40, though as is so often the case, you can easily spend extra instead – the Assos Summer NS Skin Layer is £50, for instance, and the Velocio Men's Radiator SL Base Layer is £55.

Summary

The dhb Merino Mesh Baselayer is a very competent hybrid model that delivers a high standard of performance. My only issues are the arguably misleading merino tag and, to an extent, the price.

Verdict

Comfortable and effective baselayer that manages sweat well, but a bit expensive

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road.cc test report

Make and model: dhb Aeron Merino Mesh Sleeveless Baselayer

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

dhb says: "Created in a fabric developed exclusively for dhb, the Aeron Merino Mesh Sleeveless Base Layer blends extra-fine Merino wool and polyester. This lightweight yet hard-wearing mesh delivers incredible insulation, breathability and moisture management. "

It's a competent garment, but pricey for a merino blend.

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

Exclusive fabric partnership with Thygesen & Birk

Extrafine Merino (19.5 microns) polyester blend Sportwool fabric

Lightweight mesh structure (120gsm)

Extremely hard-wearing

Naturally anti-bacterial and odour resistant

Suitable for year-round riding

76% Polyester, 22% Merino Wool, 2% Lycra

Thygesen & Birk produce the most advanced Sportwool® and Merino on the market. They have spent the past 15 years working on the development of Sportwool, which blends the physical performance of synthetics with the power of natural fibres.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Well made.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

No obvious weaknesses in the yarn, and has responded well to constant wearing and washing.

Rate the product for fit:
 
7/10

Narrower around the shoulders than I was expecting, but not an issue while riding.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
7/10

Sensibly proportioned and the size guide is accurate.

Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10

Reassuringly solid.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10

A very competent garment that regulates temperature, moisture and odour equally well.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

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

Responds very well to machine washing at 30 degrees.

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

Though lacking the outright softness of merino, it performs very well at regulating temperature and moisture.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Decent quality and performance.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The merino part is a little overplayed – it's more polyester.

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

£45 is on the spendy for side a baselayer, or at least a summer weight vest – there are plenty of polyesters offering excellent performance and giving change from £30. The Lusso Pain Cave Eco Summer Base Layer is a case in point at £29.99, and indeed, the dhb's own Lightweight Mesh Sleeveless Base Layer is £25.

dhb also offers a more tradition short-sleeve model, the Merino Short Sleeve Baselayer, for £40, though as is so often the case, you can easily spend extra instead – the Assos Summer NS Skin Layer is £50, for instance, and the Velocio Men's Radiator SL Base Layer is £55.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Not really

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe

Use this box to explain your overall score

This is a very capable baselayer, but the merino component feels overstated. If it were a bit cheaper it could score higher, but it's still good.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

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