The latest version of dhb's Aeron Rain Defence Bib Tight has an excellent pad and great quality construction, but while the new Schoeller fabric does repel rain to a degree (it's claimed to be water-resistant rather than waterproof), it lacks stretch and feels rather restrictive in terms of pedalling movement.
- Pros: Well made, very comfortable pad
- Cons: Fabric doesn't have much give
According to the blurb, dhb has worked with materials specialist Schoeller to create the Rain Defence fabric. It's a PU foam rather than a standard membrane found on most other waterproof kit.
dhb says the foam allows small amounts of air through to speed up moisture transfer, taking it away from the skin and keeping you dry. I would agree that the fabric is quite breathable, but with its rain repellent treatment it isn't as elastic as standard Lycra blends, and it's thicker too.
Even getting them on was a bit of a faff. I really had to work them up my thighs to get them to fit right. I always wear medium in dhb clothing, and even checked the size guide to make sure, but these felt too small. Lengthwise, with the bib straps in place, they were fine so it wasn't like I needed to go up a size, just that around the thighs and calves they really felt like they were restricting my movement.
Liam, who's modelling the tights in these photos, is smaller than me but can get away with some dhb medium kit, and he found these too large. (dhb does say if you can clearly show you chose the correct size from the guide and they still didn't fit then you'd be offered free returns, or at least be refunded.)
There is also a really irritating seam that would sit just behind my knee, which I could feel every pedal stroke.
It's a shame because the actual cut is good, with shaped legs and the like.
Added to the Schoeller fabric is a Nanosphere Water Repellent Treatment to keep the rain out, which dhb says will last for around 50 washes.
In heavy drizzle I was expecting to see the water bead on the surface better than it did, and as the rain got heavier it did start soaking through. I'd say it took about 20 minutes from being dry to soaking wet (on a bike with full mudguards). Okay, it's better than those without any water repellency, but it's nowhere near the performance of the Aeron Lab jackets I've tested, such as the All Winter and Ultralight.
On the plus side, if you are out for a long ride then your time on the saddle will be pleasant thanks to another excellent pad from Elastic Interface, a company used by many brands. Here it's the Paris HP model, which has some varying density foam – denser exactly where you need it, right under the sit bones, while the rest is left pretty minimal. A ride on a very firm saddle that I was also testing showed just how good the pad is.
Another thing I like is that dhb has designed the leg cuffs to stay in place without the need for a stirrup or a zip.
For riding in the dark there are a couple of reflective chevrons on both legs, plus some dhb logos that'll bounce some light back.
The construction is very good, too. The tights feature excellent stitching throughout, and even pulling hard on the seams didn't see any threads stretching or snapping.
Price-wise, at £100 (currently £80 at both Wiggle and CRC) they aren't overly expensive for this type of product. The Sportful NoRain Pro bib tights are £135, and the Santini Giove tights come in at the £170 mark, though the dhbs don't have the same levels of fit and performance.
Overall, for £100, they're good – but a bit more stretch would make them better.
A great chamois and excellent quality but water-repellent fabric is rather restrictive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Aeron Rain Defence Bib Tight
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
dhb says, "A completely new development from dhb, this is the Aeron Rain Defence Bib Tight reborn into a highly technical and incredibly flexible weatherproof tight, designed to keep water out and you comfortable. Powered by Schoeller fabric technology.
NEW Aeron Rain Defence
Completely redeveloped over two years, the new Aeron Rain Defence Collection takes protection from the rain, road spray and other foul weather to the next level. Using technologies from the world’s leading fabric mills, this new collection is a massive leap forward for dhb.
PU Foam Replaces the Traditional Membrane
Making a fabric truly waterproof usually means sandwiching a laminated membrane between two other fabrics. This makes very protective fabrics, but the compromise is a lack of flexibility and breathability – two things you need when making cycling legwear.
Working with Schoeller®, dhb have utilised PU foam as an alternative weatherproof option.
PU foam is a unique bonding process which enables our winter bib tight fabrics to have the right level of windproofing, water resistance, breathability and stretch. Whereas a laminated fabric construction would completely block wind flow through the fabric, the dhb PU foam bonded fabrics block the wind but also allows a small amount of air to pass through the fabric. For winter cycling tights intended to be ridden at a higher intensity, this means more breathability and more comfort.
Another benefit of PU foam construction is that it offers a much higher level of fabric stretch than a laminated alternative. Once again this means much more comfort and a better fit.
Schoeller® Nanosphere® Water Repellent Treatment
dhb Rain Defence tights use NanoSphere®, a class-leading fabric treatment that prevents rain and road spray from saturating the fabric's exterior. This first line of defence prevents the fabric from becoming waterlogged, ensuring you stay warm, dry and comfortable.
Developed by Schoeller - a global leader in fabric innovation and advanced technology - NanoSphere® is an advanced DWR finish that provides a natural self-cleaning effect and an extremely high level of water and dirt repellency. NanoSphere® is one of the most durable water repellency fabric treatments available. The finish lasts for up to 50 washes at 40°C, and with the right care will remain effective long after, even after serious use and frequent washing.
After extended use and washing, the function can be reactivated by heat treatment, either in the dryer or by ironing on a low heat setting. Ensure that the garments are rinsed thoroughly after the wash cycle, and do not use fabric softener.
New Elastic Interface® Paris HP Chamois
The new Paris HP is the latest development from Elastic Interface®, the Italian experts whose unparalleled knowledge and experience go into making the best chamois in cycling.
The Paris HP Pad features ultra-high density foam inserts under the sit bones to ensure a comfortable ride all day long. Rated as good for rides over 7 hours in length, three separate densities of foam have been used to ensure comfort, while also reducing the overall bulk of the pad."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Materials: 48% Polyester, 37% Polyamide, 15% Elastane
Innovative Schoeller® PU foam waterproof - windproof fabric
Schoeller® Nanosphere® Water Repellent Treatment
New Elastic Interface® Paris HP Chamois
High level of stretch for maximum mobility
Super-stretch lay flat bib-straps
Clothing Size: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Very well made.
Pad is excellent; comfort overall could be improved by more stretch in the fabric. Water resistance is okay.
Well made and the fabric is tough.
Specially shaped for riding, but restrictive fabric.
Lengthwise good, but restrictive fabric makes them feel small.
Excellent pad, but fabric feels restrictive.
Cheaper than others offering the same claims, but the dhbs don't live up to their levels.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They responded well to being washed but you'd want to keep it to a minimum so you don't wash out the DWR coating too soon.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The main reason you'd buy these would be to keep dry; just bear in mind they're 'weatherproof' not 'waterproof'.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The restrictive fabric.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are cheaper than Sportful's NoRain Pro bib tights and Santini's Gioves, but don't really deliver the same levels of fit and performance.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
Some decent things going on here, but the restrictive fabric hampers movement.
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
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!