You’ve got the latest carbon fiber aero bike, your new aero helmet cheats the wind, your riding position is dialed for maximum speed and your silky-smooth legs are saving those few precious seconds. The last frontier for your aero needs is obviously your jersey and bibs. The Raceline kit is billed as “a race-ready, second skin for top-level cyclists with a cyclist’s physique”, and that’s exactly what you’ll get.
The unboxing revealed a stylish jersey that was a simple blue with a subtle pattern on the front and back. The detailed shape of the various panels as well as the variety of textured fabrics spoke to a garment that had obviously been engineered by people much smarter than me.
The longer sleeves and low-cut collar are very on-trend and pro-looking. The classic black Raceline Bib Short had dimpled fabric on the side panels which could only mean fast.
The subdued black Aeron LAB logo didn’t detract from the clean, uncluttered aesthetic.
I had been diligently training for my A-race for months when I received these kits, so I was confident that the “second-skin” fit would not be a problem. Even with my race-ready physique, this Raceline jersey was all that I could handle.
The jersey offers a very form fit without as much as a wrinkle for the wind to grab a hold of. The YKK zipper length is purposely short, sitting just below my belly button, but wasn’t an issue once I was on the bike and in riding position.
The bib shorts fit as expected with an inseam that placed the bottom hem of the legs just where I like them, not too long and not too short.
Both the jersey and the bibs share integrated grippers stitched into the hems which are pleasantly inconspicuous and do a surprisingly good job of holding the kit exactly where you put it. The grippers stick in place so well in fact that the folks at Aeron LAB provide you with an instruction card on how to put the bibs on without getting the grippers stuck on your knees. I had concerns about how durable the grippers would be, but after 3.5 months of regular wear they’ve held up just fine.
The Raceline Bib Shorts’ “Elastic Interface Road Performance Pad” is said to offer comfort on rides of over 7 hours in length. My longest outing was just a hair over 5 hours, and I didn’t experience any problems. I did find myself wanting a bit more cushion near the front of the pad for time spent in an aggressive riding position and those rides on the time trial bike where you’re sitting much further forward on the saddle.
The bib’s shoulder straps aren’t integrated into the main Spandex panels of the shorts like many of my other bibs. This seems to have allowed for a different fabric that doesn’t allow as much stretch in the suspenders and maintains a consistent fit, even after long and sweaty rides. I do however have some long-term durability concerns as it offers an obvious structural weak point.
The wide straps stay in place and sit comfortably on the shoulders. The edges of the suspender straps appear to be laser cut as opposed to hemmed which maintains a thin profile but tended to rub the side of my nipples.
The Raceline Short Sleeve jersey’s three rear pockets also offer a hidden “toko” pocket inside the middle pocket. The toko pocket is meant to secure valuables and has a radio port hole for communication with your team car (*wink, wink). This hidden pocket should be perfect for a cell phone as it offers a layer of fabric between the phone screen and keys, levers, food etc., but I found it to be too small for my phone and consequently went unused.
All in all, this Raceline kit made me feel fast. The fit and comfort while on the bike are as advertised and what you’d expect from a higher-end offering, but I didn’t go out of my way to spend extra time at the coffee shop in this “second-skin” with my belly button inches from joining the party.
The attention paid to fabrics keep this kit aero and unbulky, but this lean profile also gives a perception of fragility. The buyer will need to pay special attention to size when ordering since the cut doesn’t give any room for error, pun intended.
dhb Aeron LAB Ultralight
Riding in a kit that is said to be “lightweight, breathable and built for performance in challenging conditions” was very appealing since I would be reviewing it in the subtropical climate of Florida’s Suncoast. I am very familiar with finishing long summer rides caked in salt and eager to collapse into my pool. With lots of brands claiming “breathable” and “lightweight” I was admittedly skeptical about the dhb Aeron LAB Ultralight short sleeve jersey and Ultralight bib short.
As soon as I pulled the Ultralight jersey from the box, I could tell that this may be just what the doctor ordered… not my dermatologist though, I recall reading somewhere that the Ultralight jersey is so light that an application of sunscreen under the kit is advised. The dark blue jersey with two small, elegant gold “dhb” logos is constructed with three different super thin mesh fabrics.
A similar cut and styling to dhb’s Raceline offering, the longer sleeves and shallow neckline were once again on trend. The black bibs felt paper thin with white mesh shoulder straps that were practically see through. The bibs had the same subdued “Aeron LAB” logo on the back panel as the Raceline bibs which maintain the line’s classic, uncluttered presentation.
The fit was still an uncompromising second-skin, but the mesh-heavy Ultralight jersey wasn’t as elastic as the Raceline kit and therefore felt slightly less restrictive. Without a hem gripper at the waistline, the back of the jersey didn’t feel as secure but also less-confining. The Ultralight bib shorts fit similarly to the Raceline bibs but seem to be cut much lower in the front making for an awkward belly reveal when paired with such a short-zippered, slim fit jersey. Again, this was never an issue on the bike, but be careful while strolling through the café during your mid-ride coffee break.
The Ultralight bibs had the same “Elastic Interface® Road Performance Pad” so comfort in the saddle wasn’t an issue (still could have used more cushion up front), but I found myself gravitating to the Raceline bibs when not limited by my laundry schedule. Maybe the Ultralight’s difference in material offered a slightly less-compressive feel or maybe it was the dainty mesh shoulder straps that had me questioning their structural integrity. Either way, I wasn’t convinced that the minimalist construction was offering enough heat relief to make them worthwhile.
On the other hand, this Ultralight short sleeve jersey is likely the most useful piece of cycling apparel I’ve come across in years!
The mesh fabric is so light and breathable that you’re as close to riding topless as you can get while still being allowed to enter your local café. The moisture-wicking properties are second to none.
I never felt weighed-down during hot and sweaty rides and it dries in just minutes post-wash. Comfortable, hyper-breathable and a pro-style fit make this jersey a hot-weather must have.
As a bonus, the dhb Aeron LAB lightweight sock complimented the kits perfectly. The 13 cm cuff length is as pro as you want to be. The high level of compression offers support and comfort and hasn’t diminished after more than 5 months of consistent wear and washing.
As good as any high-end socks I’ve worn… not to mention having matching logos across all your cycling kit is pretty elite.
Many thanks to our guest reviewer, Paul Messal.