They come with a seemingly high price tag, but dhb's Merino Tights can hold their own for comfort and warmth against offerings from the biggest names.
Merino wool has rightly earned itself a reputation as a go-to fabric for cyclists, particularly as a baselayer, for its superb temperature-regulating properties, excellent wicking and natural odour-resistance. Its fine nature also makes it extremely soft against the skin.
These are all good reasons as to why dhb might want to incorporate the fabric into its winter bib tights. And although there is no mention of it in the branding or on Wiggle, these tights bear the Aeron label on the right shoulder strap, indicating that they feature the best materials and cut, and have undergone rigorous testing in the field. Pulling them on, they certainly feel the part.
The merino used here is a Sportwool mix of merino and polyester from the Danish Thygesen & Birk mill, which aims to marry the aforementioned benefits of wool with the robustness and improved moisture management of an artificial fabric.
The tights offer an excellent, racy fit with no bunching anywhere, no riding up and no irritating seams, despite the fact dhb has cleverly incorporated panels of windproof and showerproof material in the shin area where your legs are most exposed to the elements.
The materials used and the thickness of the tights proved perfect for winter rides of three to four hours in temperatures between 5 and 12 degrees, with no overheating at the upper end of that spectrum. The DWR-treated Roubaix fabric on the shins did the job of keeping them warm, and road spray from damp roads was kept at bay where it got past my mudguards.
Also at the ends of the legs are reflective chevrons that look very subtle in daylight but light up at night to display your moving legs to drivers.
The same treated Roubaix fabric appears again around the backside and upper thigh area. It should provide a similar level of protection from rear wheel spray should you insist on winter riding without mudguards, but I can't fully vouch for that as I always had mine fitted. Bear in mind as well that with a merino wool construction these tights prefer a delicate wash cycle, so getting too much road filth out might take multiple washes...
The Elastic Interface Paris HP pad doesn't look overly complicated, but with the denser padding well positioned to protect your sit bones when riding on the hoods it proved itself comfortable over multiple rides of three hours or so.
Up top the straps are exceptionally comfortable, keeping everything in place without applying any undue pressure, while the fabric at the back goes high enough to help keep you warm and protected if your jersey or jacket rides up.
At £140 these aren't cheap, but you get a lot for your money and the price stands out when you look for tights that use similar materials from other brands. Santini's Adapt Polartec tights use Power Wool fabric and were loved by Stu, but you'll have to spend £215 to get them, while Ashmei's Thermal Merino offerings with a pad come in at £228. Again Stu liked them (we reviewed the unpadded version) but that's a big jump in price.
A similar outlay to the dhb tights would get you Le Col's entry-level Sport Bib Tights (£150) or the padless version of Endura's Pro SL tights (£149.99), should you be in the market for a more traditional Roubaix pair.
For an asking price of £140, you are getting tights here that perform on a level with examples costing upwards of £200. If you are in the market for performance merino bib tights, do yourself and your wallet a favour and check out the dhb Merinos.
Very good bib tights that give far more expensive ones a run for their money
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road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Merino Tight
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
dhb says: 'Combining superior moisture management technology with the natural powers of wool, dhb's Merino Bib Tights have been designed for unrivalled comfort on chilly days and dry winter rides. These are the comfiest bib tights you will buy.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fabric partnership with Thygesen & Birk
Sportwool® with extrafine Merino
Strategic placement of Roubaix fabric
Effective at temperatures down to 5C
Naturally anti-bacterial and odour resistant
Custom Elastic Interface® Paris HP chamois
Durable water-repellent (DWR) treatment
Machine wash and tumble dry
Quality materials throughout.
No problems during the testing period, and signs are that the artificial fibres will help them keep their shape and fit.
The price looks high, until you check out some of the competition.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washing at 30°C caused no issues during testing and the tights retained their shape and fit. I don't have a tumble drier, but dhb claims you can use one on these tights.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The tights were a good, racy fit and kept my legs warm and dry from road spray. The pad proved itself comfortable over multiple rides of three hours or so.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable on and off the bike, with wide straps, a good pad and great temperature regulation.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price puts these in competition with offerings from some famous names...
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £140 these aren't cheap, but you get a lot for your money and the price stands out when you look for tights that use similar materials from other brands. Santini's Adapt Polartec tights are £215, while Ashmei's Thermal Merino offerings come in at £228. A similar outlay would get you Le Col's entry-level Sport Bib Tights or the padless version of Endura's Pro SL tights, should you be in the market for a more traditional Roubaix pair.
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
Apparently premium pricing from what was once seen as a 'value' brand, but these tights can hold their own in even more expensive company. They're very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: Genesis Equilibrium My best bike is: Look 585
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, The nursery run!