It's not often that you get female specific bib shorts like dhb's Ladies Aeron Race bibs outside of custom team issue kit. Some might argue that it's not often women WANT bib shorts, but that's a bit of a chicken and egg situation, with demand answering supply and vice versa. However, there's a place for women's bibs in the same way that there is for men's- they offer superior levels of comfort, especially for long duration rides, having no waistband and they avoid any unpleasant gaps between jersey and shorts.
As with the male version we tested earlier in the year the dhb Aeron bibs have all the performance looks of much pricier alternatives, with continental contrast colour styling and a little bit of pizzazz about them. The fabric is a super lightweight lycra (although slightly heavier than on the Aeron, for added compression) but not too shiny and still with a good level of line flattering and excellent muscle support. The bib section is made from a perforated lycra fabric reminiscent of a sort of stretchy aertex, to allow for maximum breathability where it matters. According to the manufacturers, carbon fibre content in the bib fabric 'helps to regulate body temperature and reduce stress on the body', but it also as the added effect of helping to maintain freedom from odours. A highly articulated, shaped female specific CyTech 'Speed Air' chamois and gentle leg grippers finish the package.
In use, these are extremely comfortable, giving just the right level of support while still managing to have a barely there quality. The leg grippers aren't intrusively tight, yet do their job admirably, while the chamois is so well shaped and with just the right degree of cushioning and moisture management that its existence is easily forgotten- but in a good way. The bibs themselves are extremely stretchy and as unobtrusive as bibs can be, settling themselves around the bust pretty comfortably. It's a very personal thing as to whether the shaping of bibs suits or not, though, since bust size plays a large part in comfort. These should suit most bust sizes, since they are very low profile and super stretchy. The legs are a good mid-length which should suit most riders.
All in all it's hard to find fault with a pair of genuinely comfortable, high performance female specific bib shorts that sell for somewhere in the region of half the price of the majority of other women's performance bibs. If you want to keep your knees covered as the nights draw in there are is also a 3/4 version.
Comfortable, genuinely high performance lightweight female specific bib short? I'll take 2 please, for the price of one of most of the competition.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Ladies Aeron Race Bib Short
Size tested: Size 14
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Aimed at serious female cyclists looking for a high performance bib short.
At this price it's also a very viable option for anyone looking for a really good pair of shorts (as long as you don't mind the obvious "issues" with bibs)
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
'Action 205g' performance stretch fabric from Italy (80% Nylon/20% Elastane)
Carbon fibre mesh fabric on braces
CyTech Elastic Interface 'Speed Air' female specific chamois
dhb elastic leg opening with silicone leg gripper
Machine washable at 30
Available in sizes UK8-16
Good quality fabrics and for the most part well-finished, apart from the odd rough end of seam.
Performance way above its price.
Lightweight fabrics but not overly snag prone so should last well. Slight concern about longevity of extremely stretchy and super light bib area.
Abalance of light weight and decent muscle support.
Chamois so comfortable you hardly know it's there and just the right level of fabric density for warmer weather long duration riding.
When you can get 2 pairs of these for the same price as 1 pair of most of the other women's bib shorts on the market, it's hard not to be impressed.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort, fabric, style, fit, and above all the chamois.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, definitely.
Would you consider buying the product? Certainly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Without a doubt.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Incredible value for money for a really well performing bib short.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.