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This dhb Aero Body Map short sleeve baselayer is brilliant for a wide range of ride intensities, and stretches from freezing (if you don't mind slightly cold arms) through to early spring rides. The fit is brilliant and the fabric is soft and has remained so.
For cool weather riding, the starting point for my clothing is always the baselayer. Starting with a bad one can leave you sweaty or cold, sometimes both. This dhb Aeron baselayer is pretty simple and affordable, but it performs brilliantly.
Steve Williams has already given us his thoughts on the sleeveless version of this and I agree with him on many points. The fit is great, it wicks well and it's warm too. I don't mind the thickness as it has proved to be a very useful layer under a skinsuit for winter cyclo-cross racing.
Over the last couple of months, I've ridden outside in everything from snowy cyclo-cross races through to the first warmth of the spring sun. While I've got other long-sleeve baselayers, I've been reaching for this as much as possible.
The fit is brilliant. That circular knit, seamless construction means there are no rough edges on the skin to cause irritation. Combine this with a very soft material and you've got comfort that lasts very well. Body Map refers to the baselayer's ability to conform to the contours of the torso. This results in a close fit that isn't in any way restrictive. The fabric doesn't touch the sternum, though, or the spine between the shoulder blades when in a more relaxed position on the tops. This is deliberate and designed to help sweat transfer. dhb calls it 'zoned breathability' and it seems to work very well.
Out on the bike, I never found the baselayer uncomfortable and this is partly down to that breathability. dhb has incorporated ventilation holes into the knit. This really helps to let air in when you ramp up the intensity on the hills.
I've used this for some really intense races on the muddy fields of cyclo-cross and again, I always felt comfortable, apart from when I crashed in slushy snow. That's really cold. I'd have preferred long sleeves – wearing this and dhb's Aeron LAB All Winter Polartec Jacket, everything on my upper body was perfectly warm apart from my forearms. I can see the short sleeves being useful in the early season races when combined with arm warmers and a gilet, but for deep-winter rides, I'd love a long-sleeve option.
The makeup of the fabric is mainly polyamide (93%) with a bit of elastane (6%) and a dash of polypropylene (1%). So, no merino wool, and I'm glad of that. While I won't deny that a merino baselayer starts supremely soft and comfy, if I get sweaty then it really itches. Maybe that's just me, but I'm happy with the softness of the Aeron Body Map. Washing is also much easier. I've not had to be careful at all with this. It gets washed with anything and then tumble dried. There have been no negative effects on its size or softness. Top marks here.
Baselayers are very common, but not in this style of circular knit, and I think £30 is a very sensible price. The short-sleeve baselayers we've tested lately on road.cc – from Rapha, Metier and Ashmei – cost more. One of the cheaper long-sleeve options is Craft's Fuseknit Comfort Turtleneck, which comes in at £40; the short-sleeve version is £25.
Overall, this is just a really nice baselayer to wear on cold and cool rides. I'd like the option of a long-sleeve version for the really cold days, down at freezing, but that's not a criticism of this one. I never really noticed that I was wearing it, thanks to the non-itchy fabric, great fit and excellent breathability.
Great fit, effective wicking and very comfortable
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road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Aeron Body Map Short Sleeve Baselayer
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
dhb doesn't actually say, but the thickness and breathability suggest to me that this is for hard rides in the colder months.
What dhb does say is, "This Aeron base layer uses a Polyproylene and Polyamide yarn blend. Polypropylene is an amazing yarn for technical sports products where wicking is a priority."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
This base layer uses a circular knit construction method. This means that the body can be knitted in a single tube. The circular knit process also allows for changes to be made to the structure and yarn composition of the knit at different areas of the base layer, without having to sew in different panels. The only seams are those attaching the sleeves to the body, rsulting in a more comfortable next-to-skin fit and feel.
The Science of Body Mapping
When exercising, different parts of the body react in different ways in order to regulate heat and maintain performance. dhb have delved into the research studies that look into this, and used their findings to create a base layer that works with your body. By mapping the areas where the body perspires most, they have adapted the knit on specific parts of the base layer. In the areas you sweat the most, they've used a 'Tuck Knit'. By creating a 3D structure, this raises the surface of the material in these areas, holding it away from the skin, and encouraging higher rates of moisture transfer.
A micro rib knit structure has been applied around the lower torso and sleeves. This applies some light compression in this area, keeping the base layer close to the body and adding a little support.
This Aeron base layer uses a Polyproylene and Polyamide yarn blend. Polypropylene is an amazing yarn for technical sports products where wicking is a priority. It has a very low density and is therefore super lightweight, but extremely durable. It's also hydrophobic, so it will carry moisture away quickly. To finish this product off, dhb have added an antibacterial treatment to help reduce odour causing bacteria.
polyamide (93%), elastane (6%), polypropylene (1%)
Circular Knit with ventilation zones and 3D Body Map zones.
Very good. This has seen plenty of use and no pulled threads.
For riding hard in cool weather, this is brilliant. I needed to pair with a very heavy winter jacket for the coldest rides but that's not an issue. It's extra cosy!
I've crashed in this a few times in cyclo-cross and tumble dried it and it's still in great condition.
Possibly a touch long, but I think that about all baselayers these days.
The stretch in the material is very forgiving and while this is a small size and close fit, it is far from restrictive.
Steve tested the sleeveless version and cited the weight as a negative, but the weight is fine in my opinion.
Snug and highly breathable, kept me comfortable on every ride.
30 quid for a piece of kit that works brilliantly and lasts well.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You can wash and tumble dry without fear. Can't say that much these days.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. I wore this through the winter on loads of different types of rides. I was always comfortable and I suspect will continue to be until the sun properly warms up in late spring.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The breathability is brilliant. It kept me comfortable on club runs, intervals and cyclo-cross races.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No long-sleeve version. If there was one, I'd buy it.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
A lot less than the majority of short-sleeve baselayers we've tested lately on road.cc.
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
Really good for breathability and lack of sweaty feeling, the fit is great, and you can tumble dry without worry.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 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, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.