The dhb Aeron Lab Women's All Winter bibtights offer up high level weather proofing with wind blocking material that will provide warmth on very cold winter days. For me, the fabric didn't provide enough flex at the knees, which let these tights down.
With its Aeron LAB range, dhb has aimed to enter the top end market, using performance fabrics targeted at riders looking to train and race at a high level.
The Aeron LAB Women's All Winter bibtights place their focus on weather proofing, utilising Windbloc material produced by Polartec - the same experts who create the Alpha Direct fabric featured in the Aeron gilet and Aeron Lab jacket I recently enjoyed testing.
The goal is protection in cold temperatures, down to 0 degrees, with water resistance and wind blocking technology added into the mix, to cater for the very worst conditions.
Pulling the tights on, the heavy duty nature is immediately apparent. The panels on the outside of the quads, down to the shin, are constructed from the Windbloc fabric, which reportedly keeps out 100% of wind, using a micro-porous laminate wedged between two layers: lofted inner fibres and a durable outer.
The Windbloc material is designed to be flexible and breathable.
Riding on a truly abysmal day - with the kind of 50mph wind and face slapping rain that has you questioning your life choices - I was thankful for the added protection. Of course, I still ended my ride soaked to the skin, but the windchill was manageable. I also never found I was overheating in these whilst riding in the relatively mild winter we've had so far this year.
However, I did find the fit at the knees exceptionally tight. The fabric seems to stretch vertically, but with reduced movement horizontally, which was uncomfortable when pedalling. I initially tried the tights in a size 10 - one size up from the eight I'd usually wear in dhb. Clocking the knee issue, I requested a size 12 to try, and still felt restricted at the knee. The fabric on the quads wrinkled a little, rather than snapping to fit the skin, another sign that it's not as supple as a standard bib.
At the shin, hamstrings and around the chamois, the brand has used a much more flexible Italian thermal fleece fabric from MITI. This targets breathability, and offers significantly more stretch. The leg cuffs use an even higher elastic content
The heart of any pair of tights is the chamois - dhb has employed the experts at Elastic Interface here, with a dual density Road Performance pad designed to handle up to seven hours of riding, and I had no issues with saddle comfort.
At the top, dhb has opted for wide straps, with an 'x' shaped back, meaning there's little fabric at the rear to allow for breathability. The front of the bib is low cut, designed with high effort riding in the drops at front of mind.
Some flashes of reflective material have been embedded at the lower leg and along the outer quads, with a dhb logo on the right side, and a stealth 'Aeron Lab' marker on the left.
On paper, it's all good - and the tights did keep me comfortable both in very wet and cold as well as milder conditions. However, having tested the brand's much more value orientated Aeron FLT Womens Roubaix Halterneck bibtights (£85), personally I would favour the cheaper creation over the top end race tights - both for the for the addition of the halter comfort break feature and increased flexibility of the fabric.
Whilst the All Winter tights - at £150 - offer greater weather protection, I rarely find I need anything quite this heavy duty in the UK, and I'd rather have less warmth and do away with restrictive fit. This said, if you are looking for a very warm set of tights for baltic conditions, these could be just the thing.
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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