The dhb Classic Windproof Marl Gilet is a simple garment that works very well, offering warmth, plenty of storage and a small pack size – everything you want really from this spring/autumn wardrobe staple.
The Classic range is described by dhb as 'timeless design meets technical fabrics'. A look through the collection shows that dhb has taken the few garments that are likely to make up the backbone of your kit and used the latest materials to create them while keeping special features minimal.
There isn't a lot to the Marl gilet to be honest, it's a straightforward polyester construction with the front panels receiving a 25% mix of polyurethane to block the breeze. It may be simple but it works – very effectively.
On a couple of rides with a cutting north-easterly wind, the windproofing of the dhb really stood out as my chest and stomach were noticeably warmer than my arms or legs. The polyurethane panels cover the front of your torso and extend over the tops of the shoulders. Add in a high neck and no draughts are going to be getting in either through or around the fabric.
For comfort and windproofing, the zip has a baffle behind it which covers the entire length before it flips over the top to become a zip garage, stopping it digging into your neck.
Polyurethane is far from breathable, so the rest of the garment is made from a fine mesh polyester which lets your body heat escape. If you really push the effort the dhb can get a little overwhelmed, but only slightly, and once the pace drops it does vent quickly.
The fit isn't quite as racy as the Aeron range; it's still close, but with loads of stretch in all directions it never feels unrestrictive. The tail is dropped by quite a long way to keep your lower back covered when you are in the saddle, although with the fabric being mesh it won't stop any road spray getting through.
I do like to see pockets on a gilet and the dhb has three deep ones to replace those on your jersey that you've covered up. They aren't zipped but are easily secure enough to hold a mini pump, tubes, phone and so on. It's worth bearing in mind that the material between you and whatever is in your pocket is that mesh, so moisture will transfer to the likes of your phone.
I know for some the colour will be an issue, being only available in grey (the standard Classic comes in brighter ones but doesn't have the polyurethane panels) especially for a garment that is likely to be worn at a time of year when things can be a bit drab. I do like the styling, though, I must admit.
When it comes to value, dhb products tend to do pretty well and nothing changes here. Forty quid is a very busy price point for gilets, but the Classic Marl stands out for its overall solid construction, fit and performance.
It really does look and feel very well made with no loose threads or unfinished edges, and the fabric shows no sign of wear from being worn under a rucksack for many miles.
A classic looking gilet that ticks all the boxes, especially windproofing
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road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Classic Windproof Marl Gilet
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?
dhb says, "An indispensable part of your kit game the Classic windproof gilet offers that extra bit of body protection in cooler temperatures or on sweeping descents. Ultra light weight makes it super easy to stow in a pocket ready when you need it."
It's a great addition to your autumn wardrobe considering how well it blocks out the chilly breeze, plus it offers great value for money.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Top Features of the dhb Classic Windproof Marl Gilet
Ideal for cool spring and autumn rides
Ultra light and packable
Windproof and breathable
Mesh rear panel for temperature regulation
Three spacious rear pockets
Strategically placed reflective trims and logos
Elasticated hem with dropped tail
Very nicely made.
Impressive windproofing for such a lightweight and thin piece of clothing.
There is plenty of stretch in the material and it feels pretty robust in use.
The dhb has a well-thought-out cut with a dropped tail, high neck and a close almost race fit.
The dhb range sizes up more realistically to UK body shapes than, say, the likes of Castelli or other Italian brands. The gilet is generous without being baggy.
Weighs next to nothing.
The material is soft and wherever the gilet comes into contact with your skin there is no chance of irritation.
£40 is a very impressive price for a gilet of this quality.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You can give it a 30-degree wash and hang it up to dry basically but nothing else; to be honest, it was all it needed.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very good indeed when it comes to windproofing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No other colour options for kit that'll mostly be worn on dreary grey days.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Marl scores well on pretty much all the points a gilet should: lightweight, windproof, great fit, packable and a decent price, so it's a solid four stars from me.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.