The Aeron Lab Raceline Short Sleeve Jersey is part of the new performance range from dhb and it's a no-nonsense piece of race kit with top-end fabrics, a slim fit and impressive performance, especially in the summer temperatures.
- Pros: Super-comfortable fabrics, great quality, impressive breathability
- Cons: No zip garage (no biggie)
dhb is renowned for its quality kit and sensible pricing, and even though this Lab Raceline jersey will set you back £110 it's still impressive value for money when you consider what you are getting.
There's a mixture of fabrics involved to get the desired fit and performance, most notably the mesh panels at the sides, the top of the arms and shoulders. It's said to disrupt airflow and increase aerodynamics.
The rest of the main body uses a soft, less stretchy fabric to keep everything in shape and it's very breathable too. Wearing a black jersey in a 30°C heatwave isn't normally a very appealing proposition, but the dhb certainly keeps you cool as the breeze passes over you. (It comes in red and blue too.)
The materials are all quite thin, and while I didn't have any issues with durability a bit of care will be needed.
The way it is all put together is quality as well. All the stitching is nice and tidy, with no stray threads or anything, plus the seams are flat and unobtrusive so you can get away without wearing a baselayer should you want. The materials are really comfortable against the skin too.
The cut is based on a race cyclist's physique so it's tailored to suit and that mesh fabric has a very high level of elasticity which is why the Lab has a second skin fit, as dhb calls it.
At the hem the front is arched up towards the centre so that when you are in a crouched position on the bike it's the right length not to bunch and the rear is much longer to keep you covered. It's kept in place by a thin gripper which literally just runs the width of the rear panel.
The stretch of the fabric stops anything moving really anyway, so the laser cut arms have just a small gripper too.
The neck doesn't have a chin guard at the top of the zip which is something that I normally like to see, but dhb has dropped the neckline to avoid irritation in a racing position so I won't complain.
At the rear you get three pockets – well, four if you include the pocket inside a pocket that is designed for valuables. It sits inside the centre pocket and is about the right size for a debit card or some cash. It doesn't have a zip, just an 'envelope' cover, but the main pockets are that taut anyway nothing is escaping.
When empty, the pockets are designed to lie flat for aerodynamics as they are almost folded at the bottom before they are stitched. When you load them up they fill out rather than sag, so you can carry quite a bit of kit with you.
I've mentioned that the fit is very close so it's worth taking a look at the sizing. The Lab Raceline is an aerodynamic race jersey so shouldn't have any material flapping around at all. On wiggle's website it says that it has a closer fit than the standard Aeron collection for the same given size. I'll second that, and if you try some of this kit do sit on your bike before you make your mind up. It really doesn't feel that comfortable when you are stood around in it, but when you're sat on the saddle it feels a lot less restrictive.
If you have a slim shape then go for your normal dhb size to get the most benefit, and if you are of a larger frame or you just want the fit to be the same as the standard Aeron then go up a size. On the whole, I found the size chart to be pretty spot on.
I touched on price at the beginning and I really do think the Lab Raceline offers very good value for what it is. It's near-faultless in performance and the build quality is excellent. It's good to see a choice of colours rather than just black, too.
A brilliant next step for dhb, the Lab Raceline is a pure performance jersey at a decent price
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Aeron Lab Raceline Short Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
dhb says, "Built for speed. The all new dhb Aeron LAB Raceline Jersey combines an exceptional second-skin fit with aerodynamic fabrics. If going fast is the aim, this new development from dhb ticks all the boxes."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Aeron LAB. Engineered in the best laboratory we know: out on the road.
Over two years in the making, the all new Aeron LAB collection combines rigorous real-world testing with the best components available, resulting in a collection tuned to the needs of demanding riders reaching for new levels of performance. Because when you're pushing yourself, you need kit that exceeds your expectations.
Aeron LAB Raceline: tuned for speed
Raceline has been designed around one thing: speed. Using fabrics specifically selected to disrupt air flow and help you cut through the air more efficiently, Aeron LAB Raceline feels fast, looks fast and is fast.
Race ready, second skin fit
Made for top level road cyclists with a cyclist's physique, Aeron LAB has a close, uncompromising second-skin fit. It's built for riding fast.
Designed to sit extremely close to the body with no excess fabric to slow you down, Aeron LAB has a closer fit than the dhb Aeron collection. It will feel different: compressive and close. Once on the bike, Aeron LAB comes into its own.
With a shortened front zip length designed for an aggressive riding position, the LAB Raceline Jersey is perfect for riders who spend most of their ride pushing the pace. The low neck line also improves comfort when riding in this position.
Premium disruptive fabrics
Fast fabrics that disrupt the airflow in key areas have been used by dhb to create a jersey tuned for speed. Across the shoulders, the length of the sleeves and down the side panels, dhb have used a top quality mesh fabric, there to improve your aerodynamics and help you cut through the air quicker. Added to a lightweight, high-wicking fabric for the body of the jersey, this is the perfect race-ready combination.
When the fabrics have been put together with a super close fit and longer, more aerodynamic sleeves, the result is your new favourite race jersey.
Pockets that work
Rear pockets on elite level jerseys often perform poorly when fully loaded – but without a team car on an all-day ride, that's exactly when you need them to work. dhb have carefully built the Raceline pockets to sit flush when not in use and able to take a load when you need, without any sagging.
Inside the middle pocket sits the toko pocket. It's a hidden fabric envelope, there to keep your valuables secure without needing to add the bulk and weight of a zip. It's also got a radio port hole just in case you do need to talk to that team car after all.
Neat finishing touches
When the tempo picks up, the details have to be spot on. A minimal hem gripper keeps this jersey in place during even the most intense efforts, especially when combined with secure but non-restrictive arm grippers.
No issues yet but you will need to treat it with a little more respect than more standard jerseys.
Take a look at dhb's size chart as it offers a good description on how to choose; I've mentioned some of the details in the main review
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
dhb recommends a 30 degree machine wash and I had no issues with that. It came up clean and I don't honestly think it would be possible to shrink it any further.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a no-compromise race jersey it totally delivers.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
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? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
dhb has delivered an excellent package here for the rider who wants some of the best race kit money can buy. The choice of fabrics is great, the fit brilliant and the materials are just so comfortable.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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.