Merino wool has well and truly found its place in cycling clothing. Its now used in hats, neck warmers, jerseys and base layers. dhb have a full range of products, all made using Merino wool. With the temperature in single figures most mornings and warmer in the afternoons, its been a good time of year to test the dhb Merino short sleeve base layer.
Merino wool has a lot of advantages over some synthetic materials. One of its key advantages, is its natural ability to regulate temperature. In colder temperatures it traps heat between its fibres, maintaining warmth. Whereas its ability to absorb moisture and the fact Merino wool is highly breathable – make it a good option for milder temperatures. The dhb Merino short sleeve base layer is a 200g mid-weight top. Its made using superfine 18.5 micron yarn from 100% (Australian) Merino Wool.
The fit is ‘performance’ cut so it sits close to the body. The sleeves are a little longer, giving good coverage and helps prevent them riding up if cycling in a more aggressive riding position. dhb use flatlock seams to prevent irritation from them rubbing against the skin. The rounded neck line is wide to allow full, unrestricted movement.
Sizing of the dhb Merino base layer is available from XS (89.5 – 93cm) TO XXL (109.5 – 113cm). The base layer is also available in womens, with sizes ranging from XS (78.5 – 82cm) to XL (94.5 – 98cm). The colour selection is a bit more than the traditional black or white. The men’s base layers are dark grey, grey/navy stripe, khaki or navy. While the women’s choice are dark grey, purple, teal, coral or navy/blue polka dots.
The British Autumn weather has been varied during my testing of the dhb Merino short sleeve base layer. Temperatures have ranged between 4ºC at its coldest, to 16ºC at the other end. This has allowed me to give the top a thorough product test. Over the last few years of writing reviews for All About The Ride, I’ve learnt not to always trust your first instinct about a product. But this base layer impressed before I’d even put it on. The Merino wool fabric feels soft and good quality. Looking around the stitching, its a well put together piece of kit.
The cut of this base layer is certainly fitted. But its not to the point of being a compression top. Its almost an expectation to buy cycle clothing a size (or two) bigger than your normal clothes. dhb’s performance range is no different. I’ve been testing size XXL and found the fit to be very good. An issue I have historically had with base layers is that they are often a bit short in the body. The dhb Merino short sleeve doesn’t have this problem. The sensible body length means that it stays down under the bibs.
I tested it in 3 different scenarios. One cold rides I wore it under a long sleeve thermal jersey and a windproof jacket or gilet. On warmer rides it was worn under just a long sleeve jersey and one ride – with just a lightweight waterproof jacket. During all of the different scenarios the base layer remained comfortable throughout the ride. The Merino wool is soft against the skin and coupled with the flatlock stitching, there is no itchy or scratchy feel. Its close fit did a good job of absorbing moisture (sweat). Especially on a warmer ride. However – it is easy to forget that this is still a wool product and wool doesn’t dry as quickly as synthetic materials like Nylon or Polyester. Although the moisture was drawn to the outside of the top, under layer it was still noticeably wet by the end of the ride. That being said though, I didn’t have the cold, clammy feel that is left by some close fitting kit.
dhb Merino Short Sleeve Base Layer (M_200)
dhb have really excelled themselves with their Merino base layers. The products are well made and have a real quality feel about them. That’s before you have even put them on. I have been really impressed with the dhb Merino short sleeve base layer. Despite being a next-to-skin piece of kit, its incredibly comfortable. Its warm when it needs but highly breathable. It draws sweat well – but isn’t the quickest at drying. Sizing may prove to be tricky for some riders as it does come up a little smaller. But the online size guides are pretty accurate and the right size is a nice fit. Close but not ‘compression’ tight. The £35.00 RRP is a bit high – but Merino wool products on the whole are not as cheap as synthetic material. This is a really class product that I’d highly recommend.