The dhb Aeron Women's Full Protection Softshell offers very good wind protection and some water resistance at a decent price. It does really well in cold, mostly dry, sub-10°C temperatures. The water resistance is good on the chest and back, but your arms will get wet in heavy rain. It's not a performance cut, so you can layer up underneath, although I found it a little loose around the torso.
Pros: Wind resistance and warmth
Cons: Unusual cut/sizing
dhb says this jacket is its ultimate winter softshell so I was keen to try it out in some cold conditions. It offers windproofing and shower protection with a high-level thermal performance, which all sounds brilliant for the British winter.
> Buyer's Guide: 14 of the best winter cycling jackets
My first thought on seeing the jacket was that it was going to be warm, with its brushed back soft-shell fabric. It isn't the thickest fleece you can get on a jacket – I've been testing the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Jacket, which feels slightly thicker and better suits the really cold days – but the dhb Aeron is still a decent choice for the cold with its thermal properties.
I paired the dhb Aeron with a long-sleeved merino baselayer for a ride in sub-10°C weather with a chilly wind. Straight away I could feel that the wind protection was doing its job really well. The jacket kept me very comfortable. There are some laser-cut vents across the shoulder which dhb says help 'optimise air flow and keep you ventilated'. I didn't know they were there until closer inspection, but they are a nice detail to help with breathability, and I didn't feel too sweaty so they must be doing something.
I tested a medium, which should be the right size for me. It was a good fit on my arms, shoulders, and waist, but wasn't as figure hugging as I like on the body round the chest and sides. It wasn't a problem, but be aware if you want something with a more performance cut. If you prefer a jacket with a little bit of room, this is a good option, and especially for layering. I could happily get a long-sleeve baselayer underneath.
As well as providing very good wind resistance, the jacket has sections of water-resistant fabric on the chest, back and the back of the arms. You can visibly see the water beading and rolling off these parts. The thing I found odd was that the front of the sleeves and the top of the shoulders, which are generally facing the rain, didn't repel water in the same way, and you will get damp in these areas from persistent rain, though it takes a long time for you to feel this on your skin.
Further protection is offered by snug-fitting cuffs, and a long tail keeping your butt spray-free. The collar is a good height and fleecy warm, and the full-length zipper has a chinguard at the top for comfort.
The bottom hem is elasticated and is snug around the waist with a flat, wide silicone gripper to keep it down, which works very well.
Other features include the classic three pockets, which are a generous size and have reflective trim on the top. One of these has another zipped pocket with a waterproof coating. It is small though – you can only just get a small iPhone in, and you won't be getting it out during a ride. It's probably better suited to storing money.
In terms of value, at £110 the Aeron Full Protection Softshell is comparable with similar softshells – a tenner less than Sportful's Allure softshell jacket at £120, which we tested on road.cc last winter and which offers similar wind, cold and damp protection, and a tenner more than its Luna softshell that Emma reviewed recently. Alternatively, dhb's £100 Aeron Rain Defence Long Sleeve Jersey, which Ashia said in her review last year is more jacket than jersey, could be another one to consider.
A good softshell offering protection for riding in the cold, windy, and slightly wet winter conditions
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Make and model: dhb Aeron Women's Full Protection Softshell
Size tested: Blue/Print Black
Tell us what the jacket is for
On Wiggle's website it says: "The ultimate winter softshell from dhb. Their most advanced and protective style yet, this windproof and water resistant jacket features an ultra warm brushed back softshell fabric to keep you warm in cold, winter riding conditions."
I'd say it offers wind and shower protection with a high-level thermal performance.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Windproof and water resistant
Ultra warm brushed back softshell fabric
Laser-cut back vent construction for breathability
Full length, lock down YKK zip with chin guard
Ergonomic shaped cuffs
Wide silicone waist gripper to stop riding up
Hi-visibility reflective binding on rear pockets
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Seems well made with good stitching.
Rate the jacket for performance:
As a winter jacket it performed very well in cold, mostly dry conditions.
Rate the jacket for durability:
Rate the jacket for waterproofing
It is water resistant in certain areas rather than fully waterproof.
Rate the jacket for breathability
Breathability is good when paired with a baselayer.
Rate the jacket for fit:
I found the fit great on the arms, shoulders and waist, but it was a little roomy around the chest and sides. It's not a performance fit.
Rate the jacket for sizing:
Medium came up big on the body, so you might want to size down.
Rate the jacket for weight:
Rate the jacket for comfort:
Very comfortable to wear.
Rate the jacket for value:
An acceptable price when compared with similar on the market; not a bargain, but worth the money.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed as a winter jacket should: windproofing was very good, and water resistance was good in those places where it featured.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Its wind protection was great.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The sizing/cut wasn't perfect for me.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? No
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes, if they like the fit.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The fit wasn't perfect for me, but that won't be the same for everyone so I won't mark it down on that; otherwise, the jacket performed very well for wind protection and water resistance was good. Overall I'd say it's a 7.
Age: 36 Height: 168cm Weight: 60kg
I usually ride: specailized dolce 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: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking
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