My guess is most people wouldn’t feel the need to look further for a summer base layer once they’d tried this one. It’s one of the most comfortable I tried in our guide to the best cycling base layers for summer, it wicks really well, and it’s thin but textured enough to hold your jersey off your skin.
That extra thin layer between your jersey and your skin can be ideal for avoiding the clammy feeling of a sole loose outer layer when you’ve been riding hard and come to a pause for a tea break, or give a little extra insulation when your ride takes you through a mix of bright, warm conditions and cooler or breezier sections.
Design and specifications
Like a lot of summer base layers, including the $59.99 / £48.00 Castelli Pro Issue Base Layer (which took our editor’s choice award), the dhb Lightweight Mesh Sleeveless Base is woven in a ‘filled mesh’ pattern. Instead of being one thickness throughout, the fabric has thousands of small filament-thin oval sections. This gives you some of the added airflow that a traditional mesh string vest would provide, with an easier aesthetic.
It’s mostly made from polyester. That’s a default foundation for a comfortable fabric that wicks sweat away from the skin through its shaped, non-absorbent fibers; though how it actually performs depends on the shape of the fibers and the way they’ve been turned into a fabric. There's also a little elastane for stretch.
Like more expensive competitors it has flatlock seams, and an anti-odor treatment to help offset one of the traditional downsides of synthetic sports gear.
The side panels are cut with a rounded diamond shape, and there’s a short-sleeved version for $35 / £30.
There’s not a huge amount to say about base layers, especially ones that just fit nicely and work unobtrusively, so for me the acid test is to see which ones I reach for when I’ve got a choice. The dhb Lightweight Mesh Sleeveless Base was an easy one to pick out, day in, day out. It's comfortable: the fabric is agreeably soft, and even though it has a relatively modest elastane content, it has a really good amount of stretch, so that it stays snug while being easy to get on and off, and doesn’t feel like it’s clamping your torso.
I’ve normally been more of a short-sleeve base wearer, and not much of a summer base wearer at all, but I liked the way the sleeveless option gave just a little bit of extra insulation and damp control when a short-sleeve would have made things feel a bit crowded under a jersey. The cut of the arm openings was just right – not too wide, not too narrow, and none of the seams rubbed.
In use, like all wicking layers when you touch it, it’s damp because it’s in the process of moving sweat away from the skin, but the crucial things are that it feels warm even when it’s damp, and it dries quickly when you stop.
Whether you choose the sleeveless or the short-sleeve version, it’s hard to imagine you’d be unhappy with the dhb Lightweight Mesh Sleeveless Base. It’s a solid, comfortable performer at a decent price.
Tech specs: dhb Lightweight Mesh Sleeveless Base Layer
- Price: $33 / £28 / €28
- Colors: Black, white
- Weight: 51g
- Sizes: Men’s XS-XXL; Women’s UK8-16
- Materials: 93% polyester, 7% elastane