DBX 5.0
Wet Weather Product Review

Leatt DBX 5.0 Waterproof Jacket and Short Reviewed

Words Cam McRae
Photos Dave Smith (unless noted)
Date Nov 15, 2018

I'm not going to whitewash it, but I love riding in the rain. The forest is never prettier, the trails are more challenging and interesting and even a crappy beer tastes like nectar of the gods once you are done. Even better is the feeling that you've beaten the elements like a hungry Viking and snuck one in when most folks are chilling with Netflix. 

The clean up of bike, clothing and gear sucks. Getting cold fingers and toes bites, having mud catapulted into your socket so hard that your eyelids peel back is nobody's idea of a good time and having your chamois feel like a solid diaper* gets old in about 90 seconds, but the good always outweighs the shitty for me.

*thankfully waterproof shorts have made that optional these days

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Testing wet weather gear is an extra shove that gets me out in the elements even more often, and good wet weather gear is the difference between thriving and suffering. And in our climate I ask a lot of waterproof jackets, shorts, gloves and shoes.  On the soggy day seen here we were doing back to back Knolly laps to compare carbon and aluminum. 

Founded in South Africa as a neck brace innovator, Leatt has expanded into helmets, armour, and apparel rather seamlessly. But what do South Africans know about raingear fit for the rain forest? A little research (since I've never been) revealed that Capetown actually gets almost 150mm of rain in July, the wettest month. North Vancouver pushes 220 in December and January and in early November we were blessed with 125mm in a single weekend. So we can test some wet stuff. 


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It was wetter than an Orca's eyebrow on the day we did back to back aluminum vs. Carbon Knolly Warden runs. 

For really nasty days I prefer wet weather gear with a sturdier fabric, and the DBX 5.0 jacket and shorts meet this standard. They are somewhat heavier and stiffer than your average three layer Gore-Tex jacket, for example, but the kit fit me so well I found both ends very comfortable. For this year the fabric is now a softer last with a three-way stretch. It's almost a soft-shell fabric but the waterproofing numbers are unchanged. No matter how good the fit, stretch makes clothing much more comfortable. 

Leatt DBX 5.0 Waterproof Jacket and Shorts

This is a feature-rich jacket, with huge front pockets that double as vents, supplemental underarm vents, a tethered goggle wipe, multi adjust hood, silk storm cuffs in the arms, extra armoured material for pack contact and elbows, waterproof YKK zips and silicone printed inside the tail to keep it down over your arse. Photos - Leatt

Fit with these two items was a little unusual last year. The shorts fit me fine but virtually everyone else with a 32 inch waist found them too small. The most common complaint was the short crotch to waist distance. I found the fit efficient and comfortable but unless the sizing has changed since last year you'll likely want to bump up. Just to keep things interesting the jacket is a very generous size medium. It fits my 6' 165 lb frame just fine but it's much more spacious than other size medium jackets I've worn recently. 

Leatt features

For 2019 you get new colours, a magnetic hood, grip material to keep your pack in place, and a fabric with a softer hand feel which is closer to a soft shell. The hood fits easily over a helmet but can be adjusted to fit your bare noggin. 

Aside from the fit everything else worked beautifully. Staying completely dry during the North Shore monsoon is only realistic for short rides but the jacket and the shorts did a great job keeping the water and muck out on multiple occasions. Breathability might not be up to the standard of Gore-Tex, for example, but the incredible pit and front pocket zips manage heat and vapour build up so well the performance was right up there.

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The garments are protected with a coating that resists water, dirt and other stains. They look great after much abuse.  

The long rear-facing leg zips aren't for modest riders, but for me they work great. Maybe leave the G-string at home when it's pissing and wear some nice long riding shorts or boxers.  It would be nice to see some structure in place, in the form of some mesh or webbing, spanning the chasm left by the open zips. The counterpoint is that there is nothing there to to absorb moisture. Once the YKK zippers are closed waterproofing is restored. 

The jacket has quad venting in effect. The front of the jacket has two long zipper pockets with mesh inside that will scoop air in and when you are in a position to pedal, water ingress is kept to a minimum. 

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Comfy even for casual wear. As you can see the size medium jacket was sized generously. Leatt tells us this year's version is more form fitting. 

I have sung the praises of waterproof shorts before, so just take my word that if you ride in the wet outside the tropics these will change your life. I had no idea how much I hated having a soggy chamois until the problem was eradicated. 

leatt DBX 5.0 Waterproof Jacket and Shorts

Most people needed to size up for last year's version of the DBX 5.0 short but I haven't had confirmation of this year's sizing. The "Pre-curved, tailored fit with 3D shaped, non-snagging knees" worked great but I'd like a little more length for better over the knee coverage. 

Leatt's entry into this category goes a little deeper than most. There are numerous panels around the knee to allow for excellent comfort and coverage over a kneepad. The side pockets are sized generously and the fancy zips keep your cargo dry. The saddle contact patch is an even heavier duty material and over the course of a year there are no signs of wear. 

Leatt DBX 5.0 Waterproof Jacket and Shorts

As with the jacket, this year's material stretches 4 ways and has a softer hand feel. The soft touch waist lining carries over from last year and it's a civilized and welcome touch. 

In the end I grew to like the DBX 5.0 jacket and shorts much more than I expected to. The ample zippered vents allow me to stay cool enough even when the Pineapple Express brings sheets of warm rain and the sturdy construction, excellent quality and thoughtful features make these favourites for me. In fact both are so comfy and functional I'll wear them on days when it's cool but without any rain in the forecast. 

Last year's versions (tested here) can be found online at bargain prices. For the current models the jacket retails for 199 USD and the shorts are 120 USD. 

For more head to Leatt.com

Comments

kekoa
0
kekoa  - Nov. 15, 2018, 8:17 a.m.

So....how does one get mud in your eyes when wearing glasses? Or is that the secret to being a bad asswd rider...no glasses???

Reply

JVP
+2 mike Cooper Quinn
JVP  - Nov. 15, 2018, 10:53 a.m.

Just above freezing and misty on a trail with any amount of pedaling - no glass wear on earth that's usable.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 AJ Barlas
Cam McRae  - Nov. 15, 2018, 1:24 p.m.

I'm a full time eyewear guy - until it becomes impossible as JVP mentioned - but sometimes the mud finds a way.

Reply

kekoa
0
kekoa  - Nov. 15, 2018, 4:13 p.m.

That's true. You have the cold to deal with. Was also thinking that your dirt might fling more than ours does, we tend to clump and pack. Much rather ride in your wet weather than ours.

Reply

brad-sedola
0
Brad Sedola  - Nov. 15, 2018, 9:39 a.m.

I have bought into the waterproof short thing myself. Soggy chamois be gone. They get used when its wet out, but not pouring. The trend seems to be moving away from full pants for some reason. I have Gore-tex shoes, Gore-tex shorts, waterproof socks, but when it's truly pissing out, as it is at this very moment, how does one keep their shoes from filling up, and in turn, your feet going full hypothermic?

My 15 year old MEC Gore-tex pants have long since died. I even had Ingrid at Roach (RIP) custom make me some waterproof pants back in the day. I recently tried to buy into the Raceface Agent pants after Andrew gave them a glowing review, but a) I was a bit hesitant based on their past products, and b) they sold out quick. What I'm finding are few options, aside from commuter oriented offerings. Especially those that are up to a more demanding environment, ie. belt loops, abrasion resistant, etc.

These shorts would be great if they were only offered in a longer pant version.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - Nov. 15, 2018, 10:44 a.m.

" how does one keep their shoes from filling up, and in turn, your feet going full hypothermic?"

I don't think you can. You either have to:

- wear tall shoes or booties and long pants combo, or 

- duct tape booties to your bare shins. 

I've tried Velotoze, but they shred too easily.

I tend to wear a winter riding shoe with wool socks, as wool absorbs less water than cotton and still retains some warmth, when wet.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 Brad Sedola
Cam McRae  - Nov. 15, 2018, 1:22 p.m.

Winter shoes and waterproof socks are a good combo as well. 

Also - long pants are making a bit of a comeback. Check these that Andrew recently checked out. I've been hearing good things from others as well. 

Raceface Agent Pants Reviewed

Pearl Izumi is sending us some pants that I was told can be worn with pads underneath, but I'm a little skeptical based on the images I've seen.

Reply

Brocklanders
0
yahs  - Nov. 15, 2018, 2:40 p.m.

Great review. Too bad it's for a company that it's next to impossible to find a shop that actually carries it here in BC. Would love one of their helmets with the removable chin bar but wanna try one on before I purchase, same with shorts. Tried contacting the company that reps them, they were really no help.  So have to say I don't know what the story is with this company. Advertising stuff you cant actually get your hands on.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 15, 2018, 4:32 p.m.

Actually you can get your hands on it pretty easily. CRC has the jacket I tested (last year's models) on sale for 175 CAD and the shorts for 130. Shipping included. 

Giving away free advertising is a questionable business model, but there you have it.

Reply

Brocklanders
0
yahs  - Nov. 16, 2018, 7:56 a.m.

When I say get my hands on it, I mean trying it on before I buy it. Have a pretty big love hate relationship relationship with CRC. Got dinged pretty bad by customs last time I ordered, there is endless threads on this site as you know. If It doesn't fit and I have to send it back who covers the duty charges? It's just too much hassle ordering outside Canada. Plus I try to support my LBS's they have always been really good to me.

Anyways, good review, maybe one day someone will seriously try to carry this companies stuff, it looks great. It's just strange that they have you reviewing and promoting something that is hard to get, that's all.

DemonMike
0
mike  - Nov. 16, 2018, 7:56 p.m.

They are decent , long in the crotch when compared to their summer shorts. I may get some suspenders and see how they work . The belt loops are nice but I find I really have to Erckle them .

Reply

DemonMike
0
mike  - Nov. 15, 2018, 3:42 p.m.

there is no real trick , only combating it with decent socks and shoes with lace covers like the Shimano AM7/AM9 .

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 15, 2018, 5 p.m.

I'm not sure where you ride Mike but that's not enough for me riding here. Going through puddles puts water on your lower legs which drains directly into your sock and wicks down to the bottom. It's not bad when there isn't much standing water but when there is (and you are generally riding hard surface trails at that point that don't absorb much) leg coverage and/or waterproof socks are the way to go. And even the waterproof socks have the wicking issue.

Reply

DemonMike
+1 Cam McRae
mike  - Nov. 15, 2018, 5:12 p.m.

Fraser Valley , just got some pants for this season. As for socks , I get socks I can wear fully soaked and don,t freeze mt feet. Getting wet is part of the game . Having some thermal property's while wet , helps keep one in the game longer.

Reply

syncro
0
Mark  - Nov. 21, 2018, 6:47 p.m.

For keeping your feet warm I've found the best thing is to layer with polypro socks. They're pretty thin so you can wear multiple pairs. I've been out on nasty days with three pairs on and while my feet are soaked right through, my toes are still warm. Best thing is they're cheap as chips.

Reply

syncro
0
Mark  - Nov. 21, 2018, 6:46 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

DemonMike
0
mike  - Nov. 15, 2018, 3:43 p.m.

did you check out there wind proof jersey ??

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 mike
Cam McRae  - Nov. 15, 2018, 4:33 p.m.

I did not mike but I have one from... Bontrager I think? I'll have to check but I haven't written it up yet. I don't find it very useful for our climate or our riding actually.

Reply

DemonMike
0
mike  - Nov. 15, 2018, 5:14 p.m.

I was curious how it worked when wet and riding fast .

Reply

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