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The dhb Lab Raceline 2.0 bib shorts have become one of my favourites for shorter distances and faster riding. Not so much because they're aero, but because they're really comfy.
"Raceline has been designed around one thing: speed," says dhb. "Using fabrics specifically selected to disrupt airflow and help you cut through the air more efficiently, Aeron LAB Raceline feels fast, looks fast and is fast. This second generation bib short benefits from feedback from UCI Continental Team, Canyon dhb, who race in dhb Aeron Lab Raceline."
The aero-ness or otherwise of these shorts is, well, probably marginal. I've tried benchmarking the whole outfit and I found a saving of 8W at 30km/h over my standard, flappy road.cc kit. That's meaningful, but realistically the majority of that is going to be the jersey: there's more area there, and the difference between a looser fitting jersey and a tight-fitting one is more palpable than between some skin-tight shorts and some other skin-tight shorts, with hexagons on.
Never mind that though, because there's a lot to like about the Raceline 2.0 shorts other that the Watt or two they might save you. They're supremely comfortable, for one. The material is sheer and very elastic, and while that might not sound great for their longevity it does make them very accommodating indeed. The woven bib straps are especially nice. dhb claims that the material is compressive but they don't feel restrictive in any way. They're lovely to wear.
The stretchiness of the fabric means you need to be a bit careful getting them on as it's possible to pop a seam if you're not.
The custom-made Elastic Interface Paris HCS Pad has been developed specifically for these shorts, with three different densities of foam used in its construction. The pad, says dhb, is good for 'rides of over seven hours' and specifically designed with comfort over longer distances in mind. Personally, I'd say it was more racy than that: not many road races last seven hours, and realistically if you're looking for those marginal gains in a UK race you're unlikely to break the three-hour barrier.
For shorter, faster rides the pad is excellent, giving good support when you're in an aggressive position. For longer efforts when you're more upright, I found other shorts – including the standard dhb Aeron bibs – to be better. It's not unusual for me to ride for more than three or four hours, and for that kind of distance I never really felt like the Raceline 2.0 shorts were compromised on comfort.
At £130 these bibs are right at the top of dhb's range but mid-market generally. There's a lot of bibs out there for a lot more than this. Realistically the Raceline 2.0 bibs are directly competing against shorts like the Endura D2Z (£179.99) and the Castelli Free Aero Race 4 (£150) so they're not expensive for race shorts with aero creds. I really like them, and they've been first out of the drawer for a range of riding over the summer.
Really comfortable lightweight bibs that will make you (a tiny bit) faster
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road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Aeron LAB Raceline Bib Short 2.0
Size tested: XL
Tell us what the product is for
The second generation dhb Aeron Lab Raceline Bib Shorts use new fabrics and a new chamois for improved performance. If speed is the aim, then these bib shorts are the answer.
Aeron LAB. Engineered in the best laboratory we know: out on the road.
The dhb 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 airflow and help you cut through the air more efficiently, Aeron LAB Raceline feels fast, looks fast and is fast. This second generation bib short benefits from feedback from UCI Continental Team, Canyon dhb, who race in dhb Aeron Lab Raceline.
Custom-made, Elastic Interface® Paris HCS Pad
dhb have turned to the Italian experts Elastic Interface®, renowned for producing the most technically advanced and comfortable cycling chamois pads in the world, for their new custom pad. Combined with testing by pro riders, the new Paris HCS is sure to meet the needs of elite racers.
The Paris HCS Pad is constructed with 3 different densities of high-density foam, which combine to give riders comfort on rides of over 7 hours. It's been shaped with comfort over long distances in mind, with a smooth surface and gradual transitions of different densities. It uses Elastic Interfaces innovative Hybrid Cell System for extra support when in an aggressive, road riding position. Finally, the finishing surface has perforations to help with moisture management, and it uses sustainable, recycled yarns.
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.
Premium Aerodynamic Fabrics
With speed as the mission, dhb have made no compromises in constructing these bibs, working with world-leading fabric mills to build a special pair of shorts.
The main body of the shorts is made from a lightweight and compressive fabric, offering both performance gains and comfort. It also wicks sweat efficiently and is quick drying so you stay comfortable, no matter how hard the effort. The side panel is made from a lightweight mesh fabric, specifically chosen for its exceptional breathability and airflow disruption characteristics.
An integrated gripper stitched into this fabric eliminates the need for an extra seamline, and wide, soft bib straps keep the bibs in position without feeling restrictive. There's no risk of chaffing with these lightweight straps.
The combination of these features adds up to a pair of bib shorts tuned to one thing only: riding fast. When looked after, they will keep on performance ride after ride. Please follow the dressing instructions supplied with the shorts to make sure you get the best out of these bibs.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Race ready, second skin fit
Second generation short, enhanced with the help of the pros
Elastic Interface® Paris HCS Pad
Aerodynamic fabrics for air disruption
Integrated leg gripper for maximum comfort and support
Wide soft bib straps
Wash at 30, do not tumble dry
Please follow the dressing instructions supplied with the shorts to make sure you get the best out of these bibs.
Bib straps: 74% Polyamide(Nylon), 26% Lycra
Inner Panels: 80% Polyamide(Nylon), 20% Elastane(Spandex)
Outer Panels: 58% Polyamide(Nylon), 42% Elastane(Spandex)
I wore XL and I'm normally L, so they're a race cut.
£130 is mid market and these are cheaper than other aero shorts. Endura D2Z shorts are £180, Castelli Free Aero Race 4 are £150.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed at 40° (label recommends 30°) with no issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Thin fabric doesn't feel like it'll last too long. The pad is good but others are better over longer distances.
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
A 9 for performance and comfort at race speeds and distances, but dragged down a bit by long-distance performance.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.