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review

dhb ASV Bib shorts

9
£64.99

VERDICT:

9
10
High-end comfort and fit for mid-range money - the best dhb bibs yet
Weight: 
200g

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Wiggle launched its ASV sub-range of riding apparel last year saying that it was bringing pro-level materials, construction and performance to a mainstream price-point. These bibshorts are apparently identical in technical specification to the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team kit and those worn by the Charge Bikes Team, and the use of high-quality fabrics, a great pad and a really good fit mean they are probably the best bibs I've used in the sub-£100 price range.

Find DHB ASV Bib shorts online

Last year I tested the matching long-sleeve jersey from the same range and was unconvinced by the claims of 'pro-level gear'; the loose-fitting sleeves and relatively simple construction from a single fabric type didn't really back up all the words. It wasn't bad for the price (dhb kit very rarely is) but it just didn't seem a whole lot better than their other, cheaper jerseys.

It's a different story here. I have a few other dhb bibs and as soon as you take these out of the packaging it's immediately apparent that they're a cut above the rest of the range. Constructed from 210g Italian lycra, they have that lovely silky feel you get with quality gear, making them a pleasure to put on.

Once you're in, the fit is spot on too. It's obvious that a real effort was made in this respect. If you compare with the pictures of the Blok bibs I reviewed last year, you can see that the fabric sits flatter against the skin. This is likely due to a combination of higher quality fabric and a more complex layout of panels.

Wiggle say that ASV kit is designed to have a form-fitting fit on a lean build. The large was perfect for me; I can fit in a medium of most dhb bibs but sometimes with the legs a bit shorter than I'd like. Here the legs were long enough, and the fit overall was better than any other dhb bibs I've used, with a light compression around the thighs.

Wiggle's online-only business obviously means that you can't try on before buying, but they're always pretty accommodating if you need to return items that are the wrong size in my experience.

Like elsewhere in the range, there's a pad from the Italian Cytech brand, this time the Endurance model. Cytech pads are used by lots of brands (including in bibs costing a lot more than these) and they're normally very good, and so it proved here. The Endurance is a 3D anatomical pad made from dual density foam which is thick where you need it to be thick (under the sit bones) and thinner to provide pressure relief in sensitive areas. It is noticeably a different shape to the Cytech pads I've tried in other dhb bibs I've used but it worked for me – rides of several hours were not a problem.

Wiggle say the pad has perforations to provide airflow and help move sweat away from the skin, and there is a discernible texture on the side which sits against the skin. Unlike the Blok bibs, however, I couldn't feel any perforations on the outside - it's completely smooth. It's a comfy pad, for sure, but I'd say it's not as breathable as others I've used. If you're riding somewhere really hot, maybe the more expensive Goldline bibs are a better bet.

Around the thighs, manufacturers are increasingly moving away from narrow elasticated bands with tacky silicone strips and instead using wider bands of compressive fabric, sometimes with some grippy material woven in, to keep the legs in place. Here there are 45mm-wide raw-cut compressive bands with 'silicon micro-dots' which work faultlessly. On colder days there's enough compression and grip to keep your leg warmers in place without any problem.

The bib straps themselves are made of carbon fibre mesh. Wiggle say that carbon has 'natural thermal properties' and its use helps keep you cooler than if they were made of something less impressive-sounding. I'm assuming that they have some research which could back up this, as I'm sure it couldn't possibly just be there because cyclists love stuff made of carbon fibre, right? Setting such cynicism aside, they work just fine. At the back there's a single wide mesh panel in the centre which divides into two between the shoulder blades, keeping the straps securely on the shoulders. I found the straps plenty comfortable and the use of a mesh material undoubtedly helps here.

With the ASV gear, dhb continues the styling direction that it started with its Blok range last year, with panels of blue, white and blended grey on these shorts. If you're of the opinion that cycling shorts should be entirely black then you'll need to look elsewhere. There are orange and red versions available if that works better with the rest of your gear. I think they look pretty good.

I complained that the ASV jersey cost more than other dhb tops without offering enough of a performance differential, but the opposite is very much true here. These are priced identically to the longstanding dhb range-topper, the Aeron Pro, and only a fiver more than the Blok bibs and are unequivocally a cut above both. In this price range, the only competitors I can think of which give these a run for their money are the excellent Leadout bibs from Howies. Those are rather different, though, using incredibly stretchy woven material to give a fit almost like a body stocking.

If I say the ASV shorts are of a more conventional construction that is in no way a criticism. They use high quality materials with the fit and details that you'd expect from premium brands at a higher price point. In short, they're really, really good, and a steal at this price.

Verdict

High-end comfort and fit for mid-range money - the best dhb bibs yet

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road.cc test report

Make and model: dhb ASV Bib shorts

Size tested: Large

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?

Light and aerodynamic, the ASV Bib Short combines branded, highly technical fabrics and refined striking graphics for the ultimate racing apparel.

dhb Professional is highly technical kit worn by professional athletes - designed to meet the demands of elite level racing.

Superior, high performance fabrics are used throughout the range to deliver maximum comfort to riders who are reaching the ultimate in endurance and effort levels. The garments are cut to an athlete fit for an aerodynamic profile and the feature set is made up of exactly what is required for race conditions, nothing more, to ensure that every product is optimised for competition.

*dhb Professional garments come up smaller in comparison to dhb Performance. If you are of a larger/muscular build, we recommend ordering one or two sizes up to match your usual dhb performance size. For further sizing and fit advice, please see our size guide.

Just Add Effort

The ASV kit is sure to get you noticed with its race ready construction, technical fabrics and sophisticated graphics. Identical in technical specification to the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team kit and as worn by Charge Bikes Team, the dhb ASV Bib Short is the ultimate apparel for racing and elite level athletes.

Superior, High Performance Fabrics

dhb have used branded, reputable, technical fabrics to ensure the ASV Bib Short caters to the high demands of professional cycling. The Lycra Sport 210g Italian fabric has a four way stretch for full freedom of movement and to allow the garment to mould around the body. This offers light compression to your muscles to ensure optimum comfort, effective muscle use, additional support and can reduce recovery time.

A lightweight carbon fibre mesh bib construction has been built into the bib short to offer improved temperature regulation and further compression. The Carbon Fibre mesh, with it's natural thermal characteristics, helps to control body temperature and reduces the amount of energy required from the body to cool you down, allowing wasted energy to be kept to a minimum (when compared to conventional fabrics).

Elastic Interface Endurance Chamois, Perfect for Long Distances

An all-Italian chamois custom designed and shaped specifically for the male cyclist. The Endurance seat pad features an anatomic 3D construction with dual density foam layers for cushioning, pressure relief and support. The padding features ventilating Air-Flow perforations for extended freshness and dryness on long endurance rides. The surface layer is made from a seamless microfibre for a smooth abrasion-free fit.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

dhb Professional level kit

Aerodynamic, athlete form-fit designed to a lean build

Lycra Sport 210g Italian fabric

Lightweight fabric with positive compression

Carbon fibre mesh bib construction

CyTech Elastic Interface Endurance Chamois to allow racing performance over long distance

45mm micro dot silicone hem gripper

Medium weighs 171g

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Very nicely put together out of really good quality material.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Very nice to use, even for long rides. When it's really hot you might want more ventilation in the pad but this isn't a big issue.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

No concerns here.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

Not as light as the Goldlines, but light enough.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10

About the only bibs I've used which are more comfortable are all significantly more expensive.

Rate the product for value:
 
10/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well - dhb's existing range of bib shorts are really good, and here they've stepped up in terms of materials and fit without any price increase over the Aeron Pro.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Lovely fabric, dialled fit and the details that you want to keep you comfortable for hours.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I'd have liked the pad to be a little better ventilated, but this was only an issue on hot days.

Did you enjoy using the product? Very much so.

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 36  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. 

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