dhb Blok Fluoro Cycle Bib Shorts - the clue's in the name - you can have these bibs in any colour as long as it's fluoro yellow. Traditionalists who hold that black is the only acceptable colour for bibs can stop reading now.
In reality the fluoro is confined to wide bands around the thigh, a couple of small dhb logos and a thin strip around the edge of the bib straps; the visible parts are predominantly black. The resulting look isn't at all bad in my book - a well-judged balance that is lively but avoids being too garish.
I've a few other pairs of dhb bibs so it was instructive to compare this new model. The Blok Fluoro sticks to a recipe which has certainly proved successful for Wiggle's in-house brand dhb, using an Elastic Interface pad from Italian supplier CyTech and pricing keenly (currently under £50 on wiggle). The pad in question here is the Giro Air, the same as is used in the Aeron Race bibs and positioned just below the Tour Air pad that is used in the Aeron Pros. This pad is supposedly a little thinner than the Tour Air but to my surprise I found it more comfortable than the one in my Aeron Pros.
Pads (or chamois) are a personal thing, like saddles, so what suits me may not necessarily be your cup of tea, but you only have to look at the list of (rather more expensive) brands who use CyTech pads to get an idea of the value for money that dhb bibs generally represent - CyTech count Rapha, Gore and Assos among their other customers. I used these bibs on rides of up to 7 hours without a problem, which is a ringing endorsement as I do suffer if I'm riding with bibs that I don't get on with.
The Giro Air is made of perforated foam which provides "extended freshness and dryness on long endurance rides" - this makes sense, as sweat can accelerate your discomfort. It is of variable thickness, coming in (as best as I could gauge) at a smidge under 10mm on the sections under your sit bones. Wiggle tell us that there are dual density foam layers to give you support where you need it and pressure relief where you don't. In any case, I found it works, very well indeed.
Let's take a moment to talk about unguents. I mentioned riding for 7 hours in these bibs. Don't for a moment think that this was done "dry" - I personally would always use a cream for rides longer than a couple of hours. We've reviewed various chamois creams and I get on particularly well with the Sportique Century Riding Cream. Of course this is a personal thing, there are members of the road.cc team who never use chamois creams and roadcc editor, Tony has done some big day rides in a pair of these too and he doesn't go in for unguents at all. indeed some short manufacturers who say you should never use them with synthetic pads at all. So the, ahem, bottom line is go with what works for you.
Anyway, back to the shorts - the construction of the rest of these bibs is relatively simple, with fewer panels than dhb's higher-end offerings. On the one hand this makes for fewer seams, which is never a bad thing, but I did find that the material tended to bunch a little around the edge of the pad at the back. This didn't cause any discomfort at all, but just looked a bit odd. There are flatlock seams around the edge of the pad itself (where it's arguably the most crucial), but the rest of the seams are conventional ones. Again, this wasn't an issue, but these are the compromises necessary to meet this price point.
In terms of fabrics, the Blok Fluoros use an Italian Miti fabric and an Action 205 lycra. You are familiar with the 205, no? The bib straps and upper back section have tiny little holes in them - dhb calls this a mesh but I think that is perhaps overstating the ratio of air to fabric. In any case, it all feels fine when you're on the bike. You wouldn't mistake this lycra for the stuff used in super high-end cycling gear, but the difference in use is not enormous.
Returning to the Action 205 lycra, (I know you were hoping I would), this boasts a light compressive effect. I wasn't really able to judge if this had an effect on reducing my muscle fatigue or improving my circulation, but I found the tighter fit helped keep the pad in the right place which was certainly welcome. There are silicon gripper blobs inside the legs, which - combined with the tighter fitting fluoro bands - kept these in the right place. The small yellow decals have started to crack after half a dozen (cool) washes and will probably start to peel soon - this is a pretty common issue with bib shorts at all price points. As they are fairly small anyway it's perhaps less noticable than on some shorts.
The only downside I've found is that the white straps and fluoro leg bands tend to hold onto sweatstains and dirt more than I'd like. I wash my cycling gear on a cool wash and avoid using bio detergent and the lighter parts of these bibs are now a little discoloured (but only such that you'd notice when looking closely at them).
Great value bibs offering a good level of comfort for longer rides - another winner from dhb
road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Blok Fluoro Cycle Bib Shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The dhb Blok Fluro Cycle Bib Shorts feature an Action 205 Lycra construction which offers a light compression effect, muscle support and freedom of movement for all levels of cyclists.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
CyTech Elastic Interface 'Giro Air' chamois for low bulk cushioning and heat exchange over long distances
Action 205 Lycra construction for light compression, muscle support and freedom of movement
Mesh back panel for ventilation
Fluoro sublimated leg elastic and lycra binding
Durable flatlock stitching to minimise chaffing
Elastic cuffs with silicone grippers for a secure bunch-free fit
Soft mesh braces designed for comfort and breathability
Well put together if simple bibs - less panels than on more expensive bibs and mostly non-flatlock seams, but neither caused issues when riding.
Marked down for the common issue of peeling decals which seems to annoy some people more than it does me.
Very comfortable bibs - at this price point they are outstanding
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed - impressive comfort even for long rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not much really.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
If you like a touch of fluro then this combination of price, performance and design really is exceptional
About the tester
Age: 35 Height: 190cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute My best bike is: Rose Xeon CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.