December 13, 2012

Review: dhb Aeron Pro Bib Shorts & R2.0c Road Shoes

dhb-Aeron-Pro-Bib-Short-lifestyle

A few weeks ago the good folks at Wiggle/dhb sent me a couple of items to review: a pair of knicks and a pair of shoes. I’ve been wearing the knicks on my way to and from work for the past few weeks and my brother Brendan has been trying out the shoes. Reviews for both products can be found below.

dhb Aeron Pro Bib Shorts

There are three main things I look for in a pair of bib shorts. They need to:

  1. Have a comfortable, durable chamois (aka pad)
  2. Stay in place without having to be adjusted every five minutes
  3. Preserve one’s modesty

So when I pulled dhb’s top-of-the-range Aeron Pro bib shorts out of the packet and noticed how thin the front section of the padding was, I became a little concerned. It really is little more than a single layer of unpadded fabric in addition to the regular lycra.

This mightn’t sound like a big deal but lycra is revealing enough without needing to offer innocent bystanders any more of a clue as to what’s going on downstairs.

If I had been concerned when I pulled the shorts out of the bag, I was even more so when I put them on for the first time. Would I be able to wear the shorts in public without fear of  indecent exposure? Or would I have protective mothers scrambling to cover the eyes of their young children?

To my surprise and relief, the knicks, once clad, allowed me to maintain a level of decency appropriate for public outings. That said, I do find myself checking every so often to ensure the shorts haven’t shifted to reveal more than I would like.

Bib knicks generally have two mechanisms by which the garment is kept in the appropriate spot: shoulder straps (to keep the knicks from falling down) and leg grippers (to keep the knicks from creeping up).

I’ve been on the receiving end of both down-fall and up-creep in the past and both are quite frustrating. If the knicks start to fall down, the padding can slip out of place making for an comfortable ride. On the other hand, if the legs of the shorts/knicks start migrating north, you’ll find yourself in Stubbies territory in no time.

The Aeron Pros perform admirably in the first of their position-retention tasks, keeping the padding centrally located. But in their second job — keeping the knicks from creeping up — the shorts don’t go so well … and it’s not all that surprising.

Where other knicks often have a solid centimetre-thick of silicon to grip to the rider’s leg, the Aeron Pros only have a row of short, thin diagonally aligned blobs.

Whether this was an attempt at weight saving I’m not sure (that’s a joke), but the overall effect is that the leg grippers, well, don’t. They ride up my leg, an inch or two beyond where they should be (see the tanlines from my regular knicks in the photo below). At least that’s my interpretation of The Rules anyway.

Aeron Pro

The lack of grip in the leg-grippers led the shorts to ride up higher than I’d normally like.

And so onto the final and arguably most important consideration when buying new knicks: the padding. According to Wiggle, the ‘Tour Air’ CyTech pad ‘provides excellent comfort and improves airflow to keep you cool when riding hard’. I’m not sure about the improved airflow part (what are we comparing them to?) but the comfort is definitely testable.

From the barely-there front section, the Aeron Pro’s pad gets progressively thicker the further back you go … as you might expect. And by the time you reach the back-most panels — where most of your weight is being supported — the pad is reasonably thick and comfortable.

Being sub-$100 knicks, these are never going to deliver the same level of comfort as a $200-$300 pair of knicks. That said, I’ve been riding in the Aeron Pro bib shorts for several weeks now and on the issue of pad comfort I’ve got no complaints. They do the job, and they do so admirably.

Pros: comfortable pad, nice design (apart from the super-thick white leg band)
Cons: thin front padding, poor leg grippers

Price: AUD$98 (from Wiggle Australia)
Sizes: XS – XXL
Colour: Black/Black & Black/White

dhb R2.0C Road Cycling Shoes

by Brendan de Neef

dhb R2.0C Road Shoe - lifestyle

If you’re anything like me, your cycling gear may be slowly falling apart after many years of hard yakka and neglect. And if you’re like me, shoes are probably the last thing you’ll think about replacing.

You may also cringe at the prospect of spending $400+ on the latest brand name cycling shoes. For this reason, turning to online cycling stores can be a great way to save money while still getting a quality product.

The product:

The 2012 R2.0C Road Cycling Shoes are the new top-of-the-range offering from dhb — Wiggle’s in-house clothing brand. The R2.0Cs join an entry-level market full of nylon and fibreglass soles and instantly stand out with their carbon fibre composite sole. The shoes feature two velcro straps and a ratchet buckle system and weigh in at 734 grams per pair (without cleats).

The shoes are available in black or white, with red trim and lining and a synthetic leather upper body. Pedal systems supported are those with three-bolt cleat pattern, such as Look or SPD-SL.

The roadtest:

Over several weeks I’ve road-tested the R2.0C shoes with a Look Keo pedal system in a range of riding conditions (steep hills, flat roads and everything in between). Having previously ridden in a nylon-soled shoe I can really notice the difference in power transfer through the carbon sole.

The ratchet buckle system works easily and effectively but some of the materials in the upper part of the shoe feel cheap and flimsy, most noticeably the tongue and straps.

The shoe has sufficient mesh venting to keep your feet cool and the fit is comfortable enough. That said, if you have  wider feet you mightn’t find the R2.0C too comfortable as they seem to be a touch on the narrow side.

The verdict:

The dhb R2.0Cs enter the market at a price point which, on paper, makes it look superior to the competition, thanks to the stiffness and weight-saving of a carbon sole. If you are simply looking for a step up from your ratty old cycling shoes, into something low-cost that look great and perform well, then consider the R2.0C. At less than $80 these shoes offer tremendous value and for that price, it won’t matter if they get a little dirty or scratched.

Of course, having shoes that fit is so important for a comfy journey. If you aren’t sure of your exact size, it may well be worth parting with a few extra dollars for the advice and expertise you get from your LBS.

Have you got a product you’d like reviewed? Send Matt an email with the details.

3 Comments

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  1. Nathan / Dec 15 2012

    I haven’t seen any of your other product reviews, as I just subscribed to your RSS feed, but when I saw this I thought here we go, another reviewer who doesn’t say if something is wrong and always gives a big thumbs up.

    But you didn’t. It appears you gave an honest review of what you really thought. That is brilliant and really gives you and your site credibility.

    Thank you so much for a great site with great articles. It is a must read.

    • Matt / Dec 16 2012

      Thanks very much for this Nathan – I really appreciate your comment. :) It’s actually the first product review I’ve put together for the site so I’m just finding my feet. But your comment has given me confidence, so thanks! :D

  2. Steel / Dec 14 2012

    dhb is ok for short commutes only. Any ride longer than 50km and you’d have to be a bit of a tightarse not to wear something from a better brand.

    My mate wore torpedo 7s in the Audax Alpine Classic Extreme last year and said he needed a visit to the proctologist afterward.

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