Cycling shorts for indoor riding need to calm the torrent of sweat and provide comfort in the saddle. The sweat test numbers don't lie - these did the job and the pad was effective too. The waist band annoyed our tester, and we'd like to see a bib version.
Quick dry fabric is effective
Waist band is annoying
Indoor specific clothing is still somewhat of a controversial topic, and if you'd asked me last month I would have said you could plonk me firmly in the 'sceptical' crowd on this debate. I've always stuck to turbo training in my standard bib shorts, typically opting for a design with an in-built base layer (like the halter shorts from Giro).
However, when dhb offered to send me a pair of its 'Aeron women's turbo shorts' I decided to be open minded and explore the options available. The brand creates a men's version too, which shares all the same features but with a male specific chamois (you don't read the words 'male specific' in cycling material very often, do you?).
Regardless how big your fan is, turbo training is going to get hot and sweaty, and you're not moving around as much as you would when riding outside. So turbo shorts claim to meet the needs of indoor riders with quick drying fabric and a more forgiving chamois.
Keeping dry isn't just about comfort - a hot, wet environment is an emerging saddle sore's dream, so it is best avoided where possible.
To this end, dhb's Aeron turbo waist shorts are constructed from a lightweight, breathable fabric, with an even lighter (and very slightly transparent) fabric along the quads. Obviously, the material is denser at the front and rear panels to preserve modesty and the quad sections still leave enough to the imagination - if I were so inclined I would wear them to a group spin session with no concerns.
The chamois is also geared up to deal with sweat - featuring perforations to allow for greater air flow, with a top layer that promises to carry natural antistatic and antibacterial properties.
The pad is manufactured by Cytech, and is an Elastic Interface Paris HP Super pad - it's high density, and feels much firmer than a typical construction.
I've been involved in prototype testing in the past where brands have used a very firm chamois, and that created a lot of discomfort for me - but this Cytech model has got the balance just right, so I did feel more protected from saddle discomfort without the pad creating undue pressure of its own.
The pad is female specific and I found relief both in the drops during efforts and spinning during recoveries.
Back to the sweat. In order to test how effective the shorts were at reducing the amount of moisture build up, I weighed them before and after a 90 minute turbo session (featuring a similar rest/effort ratio and effort level), and then repeated the exercise with a pair of 'non-turbo' waist shorts from Assos.
The results surprised me, and it's fair to say that dhb has been true to its word:
|dhb Aeron turbo shorts||Assos UMA GT shorts|
|Pre session||157g||Pre session||141g|
|Post session||163g||Post session||158g|
The numbers are hard to argue with, these shorts did keep me drier. Plus I did like the firm but protective chamois.
On to the standard features you'd find across all shorts. At the legs, dhb has provided a 2" gripper with silicon patches to keep them in place. Sizes range from UK 8 to UK 16; I tend to find I need to size up in dhb's Aeron range so opted for a size 10 which fitted well.
These are waist shorts and in this respect dhb promises a high-cut. The brand has opted for an elasticated rear whilst the front panel mirrors the stretchy fabric on the quads. The waist band didn't actually slip, but I found myself continually wanting to pull it up between efforts. Admittedly, I do much prefer a bib short, and those who are more used to a waist option may not find this so irritating. Personally I would much prefer these with some sort of upper on offer to match what I'm accustomed to.
In terms of price, these come in at £65. They are part of the Aeron range, and thus sit within dbh's higher end collection, even so the price is still very reasonable. I'd suggest these could be a worthy investment if you do spend a lot of time riding indoors and find you struggle with saddle sores. If you're not experiencing saddle issues as a result of indoor riding, you can probably continue to use your existing clothing.
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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