dhb's Blok Mesh Sleeveless Baselayer is a no-frills lightweight top that does as good a job as more expensive ones, and just makes me ask: why would you spend more?
A while back, I reviewed the Castelli Pro Mesh Sleeveless baselayer. This dhb baselayer is a dead ringer of the Castelli in all but the tiniest of details, but costs £20 (in fact £15 at the moment) rather than £55...
Like the expensive Castelli baselayer, the dhb Blok takes a mesh approach to the fabric, and is as soft to the touch. It's an anatomical fit, incorporating a very slim cut (arguably slightly more space around the arms than the Castelli) and a slightly elongated back for when you're in a racy riding position.
The seams are flat, soft and well made, while the polyester-based fabric incorporates seven per cent elastane for a little figure-hugging, comfortable stretch. After a number of washes, it's remained as well fitted as the Castelli did in the same sort of test period, with no hints of fraying. And, that close fit means the mesh fabric is in a perfect position to wick moisture away too, time and again. Being mesh it easily lets it go so it dries quickly even if you do get a real sweat on; it’s always working for you rather than getting sodden and staying that way.
One thing the Blok baselayer does have is 'Polygiene' technology, which is a form of odour control derived from recycled silver. The idea is to reduce odour retention, while dhb points out that it helps its garments to be more eco-friendly – you should want to wash it less. In truth, it's fairly effective, although not markedly more so than any other mesh-type baselayer I've used before. And, if I'm being honest, I'd still wash it along with the rest of my cycling kit anyway for general good hygiene. That said, it's not unreasonable to wear it more than once between washes, which is good to know if you happen to be on a weekend expedition and want to pack light, for example.
Sizing is true to size – I fit into the medium on test, unlike the Castelli yardstick, which is traditionally Italian and fits me well in a large – while overall weight is as-near-as-makes-no-difference the same.
All of this means that they perform ostensibly to the same standard, except you pay a whopping £35 less for this dhb baselayer. Yes, the Castelli badge is nice, but... that price gap makes the dhb version easily the smart choice in a head to head.
Has all the performance of its rivals, but costs far less. What's not to like?
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road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Blok Mesh Sleeveless Baselayer
Size tested: medium
Tell us what the product is for
dhb says: "A fully open mesh base layer to keep you cool and dry in warm conditions, with a dash of colour for top to toe kit coordination. The dhb Blok Lightweight Mesh Sleeveless Baselayer's knit construction allows for permanent moisture wicking performance."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Features (from dhb/Wiggle):
- High performance ultra-lightweight cooling baselayer
- Open mesh fabric for ventilation and air cooling in warm conditions
- Hi level moisture management to keep you dry and fresh
- Ergonomic fit and high stretch for comfort and freedom of movement
- Flatlock stitching
- Features Polygiene anti-odour treatment
Brilliant – no fraying at all despite the perceived fragility of the fabric.
Can't really fault it, to be honest.
It seems resilient enough, just be smart and wash away from Velcro and the like.
Comes up true to size – a medium is a snug fit on me, just as I like.
I'd be more than happy to wear this all day.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's equal to any mesh baselayer I've ever tried.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Price, comfort, cut, true sizing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Absolutely, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
This sleeveless mesh baselayer has all the performance of more prestigious brands, but is also great value.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding