High performance bib shorts do well in any weather, finds Neil Braidwood.
I know it seems strange writing about shorts when thereâ€™s frost on the ground, but cyclists all know about layering, and these shorts are great for the winter months too. As well as wearing them during the mild autumn as they are, lately Iâ€™ve been wearing them under baggy MTB shorts, and now under long tights. As far as Iâ€™m concerned the more insulation in that region, the better.
The material is quite thin, being made of a mixture of spandex and nylon (or Lycra to you and me). The main short part is black, with an elasticated cuff in bright colours â€“ I had blue, pink and white. This feature is an update to the previous Aeron shorts. The bib part is white and the front â€˜bracesâ€™ are wide and stretchy. The back is narrow and of an open mesh construction for ventilation. Itâ€™s the padded seat though that steals the show â€“ itâ€™s extremely well padded, incorporating a CyTech Comp chamois sewn into the seat.
Pulling the shorts on isnâ€™t so tricky, and the braces manage to lie flat, and not get kinked, which is useful. The Lycra of the shorts compresses the muscles in your thighs, and the edging on the shorts has a â€˜stickyâ€™ silicone coating which stops them riding up (without cutting off your circulation) when youâ€™re cycling. They are also a decent length, which I like. I am 5â€™9â€ with a 32â€ inside leg, and they came to just above my knees. They streamline your shape too, which is perfect for road cycling, but as mentioned before, I wore them under MTB shorts more for the padding really. One thing I failed to do on my first try was wear a T-shirt or baselayer under the bib â€“ I wore it over the bib. Big mistake. The braces part of the bib rubbed on my nipples, which was pretty sore! Luckily it was just on a commute to work and not a longer ride, otherwise Iâ€™d have been in agony. Rookie mistake possibly, but worth pointing out to those new to bib style shorts.
The padding is very impressive, being both flexible and comfortable without being too bulky. I have a couple of bikes, both with very different saddles, and on longer journeys wasnâ€™t really aware of any discomfort at the rear end, which is always a good sign. The pad didnâ€™t compress even after a full day on the bike.
The short’s material apparently helps you to stay cooler when you are hot â€“ dhb call it â€˜Coldback treatmentâ€™. The shorts protect against UV and the dark colours heat up less â€“ even in direct sunlight. I did feel cooler when I was riding on warmer days, and I didnâ€™t feel like I sweated as much, so I feel the claim is correct.
Dhb Aeron Speed Bib shorts, Â£60 from Wiggle