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dhb winter kit: three tiers of winter cycling clothing

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4 Dec 2019
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They say the Eskimo language has 50 words for snow, because they have so much of it. Of course, like most sayings it’s not true – they actually have four.

Given the variety of British winter conditions, though, we cyclists could benefit from a few more terms for the cold season.

Thankfully British clothing brand dhb has given us three for its winter kit: Aeron Equinox, All Winter and Deep Winter. Used correctly, they could go some way to easing the pain of the colder months.

‘People feel the weather differently,’ says dhb senior product manager Richard Land. ‘One person’s Aeron Equinox is another person’s All Winter and vice versa. We wanted to make sure riders have the choice to match their riding and tastes.’

Ultra-endurance riders Emma Ostenton and Josh Ibbett are, together, a good example of how dhb’s range fits riders’ tastes differently.

‘Emma rode the Trans Germany with the All Winter softshell with all the thermal protection,’ explains Land.

‘But Josh, on the other hand, took the Aeron Equinox jacket because he wanted protection but didn’t want the extra warmth and didn’t need the extra weight.’

While dhb’s Aeron Equinox jersey, Aeron Equinox jacket and Rain Defence jacket could be tricky to pick apart in a police line-up, the brand’s subtle distinctions make a lot of difference.

So let us delve into the kit that will suit cold, colder and the very coldest of conditions on the road.

dhb Aeron Equinox: wind-proof but breathable

dhb Aeron Equinox Softshell | £90 • dhb Aeron Equinox Bib Tight | £90

The vernal and autumnal equinox, when the sun crosses the earth’s equator, mark the start of spring and autumn respectively.

With that in mind, dhb’s Aeron Equinox kit targets protection from the elements while still having the light and flexible feel of summer clothing.

‘With Aeron Equinox, we have thought much more about wind-proofing. So we cover the vital areas, the arms and front, with 100% windproof material,’ says Land.

‘Then we use a breathable Roubaix material on the back because we wanted to be able to dump the heat out.’

A keen eye will spot some other features well suited to the needs of the twilight season.

The cuffs, for instance, are made of thin and super-flexible material that makes them comfortable on their own but also happily paired with thin or thick gloves – slipped over or tucked under the glove.

The matching Aeron Equinox tights, much like the jacket, are carefully tweaked for ‘cold’ rather than ‘coldest’ conditions.

The tights use a tight-knit wind-resistant fabric on the quads and lower back, but opt for more flexible and breathable Granfondo material for the lower legs and seat panel.

The result is a set of tights that can comfortably be worn in spring temperatures up to 16°. The tights also use Elastic Interface Paris HP Chamois, which aims for seven hours of comfort – ideal for a pacy run at a Classics sportive.

When the temperature turns a little sharper, though, one should look at dhb’s All Winter offering.

dhb All Winter: all-weather all-rounder

dhb Aeron All Winter Jacket | £110 • dhb Aeron FLT Roubaix Bib Tight | £90 • dhb Short Sleeve Seamless Base Layer | £25

‘All Winter was designed because winters are getting warmer, and we wanted to give customers protection from the elements without them overheating,’ explains Land.

It’s subtly different to the Aeron Equinox, using a membrane layer throughout to offer wind and water-resistance everywhere, rather than just in vulnerable spots.

While the moniker suggests the All Winter jacket could be worn over a jersey, it works better as a jersey-cum-jacket.

It is left to the rider to decide on a short or long-sleeve base layer, or a base layer and mid-layer to suit a wide range of temperatures. ‘I think for most Aeron customers this is the most flexible,’ says Land.

Without a jersey beneath, and anticipating a winter cargo of snoods and gloves, the jacket has three rear pockets and a zip stash pocket on the front – perfectly sized for a standard iPhone and within the wind and water resistant membrane.

Given the dark winter months, visibility is a priority. The All Winter jacket uses dhb Flashlight technology, with reflective features on the jacket’s front, as well as across the back pockets and on the jacket’s sleeves. That’s a touch that matches it very nicely to the Aeron FLT Roubaix tights.

The Aeron FLT Roubaix Bib Tights have a reflective panel above the hip, providing a great source of visibility directly in front of headlights.

The tights have also enjoyed an update that has ditched the zips from the ankles and use the natural stretch of the fabric to grip to either ankle or overshoes.

For most, weather that’s too cold for the All Winter range will prove too cold for cycling. But for those heartier cold-weather riders, or cyclists who enjoy more warmth, the Deep Winter jacket and tights are the warmest dhb has ever made.

dhb Deep Winter: full protection for the coldest winter days

dhb Aeron Deep Winter Jacket | £120 • dhb Aeron Deep Winter Bib Tight | £120 • dhb Deep Winter FLT Glove | £30 • dhb Neoprene Nylon Overshoe | £22

‘I often find it’s not cold enough for this kit, but some people feel the cold more, and of course the further you go north, the colder it gets,’ laughs Land, noting dhb’s comparatively balmy Portsmouth headquarters.

The jacket may look slim, but under the skin there is plenty to keep a rider warm.

Alongside the wind and water-resistant membrane of the All Winter, the Deep Winter soft-shell uses a fleece-like back to offer even more insulation.

Despite the cosier material, the softshell maintains much of the breathability of the other soft-shells.

There are some clever details, too: a dhb logo on the rear pockets made up of reflective dots, bulked out fleece-lined cuffs to offer a seamless transition to winter gloves, a large zip pull anticipating heavy winter gloves, and a reflective band across the collar.

The jacket can be paired with a super-warm Aeron Deep Winter Bib Tight, using a Schoeller treated PU foam on key panels of material to offer a highly wind and water-resistant fabric defence, but without limiting movement or breathability.

So it seems there are many types of winter kit to suit our many types of winter – and dhb has all of them covered.

That means, of course, that we’ve really got no excuse for not braving the cold and enjoying our cycling all winter long.

Click here for more information on dhb's full range of cycling clothing