Reviews: Bontrager commuter gear

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Bontrager has stepped up its game in a big way in the past few years in regards to its soft-goods collection. Though it supplies high-end components and apparel to its sponsored race teams, it also has quite a nice collection of commuter gear. Here’s three items we’ve been using lately.

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Bontrager RXL Thermal Long Sleeve Women’s Jersey – $110

By Trina Haynes

Anytime it’s 65 degrees or lower, I am in clothing-layer mode. A long sleeve jersey is one must-have layer for me through these cooler months. Bontrager’s RXL Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey fits the bill nicely.

The jersey is made with Profila Thermal fabric, which wicks away moisture and maintains a comfortable temperature range. The outer surface provides good wind resistance. There are three rear open pockets and a zippered rear pocket sized for a cell phone, plus a rear gripper to keep the jersey in place.

The RXL Thermal has a snug, racy fit. I can fit a thin baselayer under it; another option during those freezing months will be adding a vest or a windshell jacket layer. It also goes with my puffy vest for a more fashionista look when I ride to the pub to hang out.

Bontrager’s RXL Thermal Long Sleeve Women’s Jersey is priced at $110. Having the opportunity to fondle a multitude of winter gear that comes through the office, some doesn’t always make the grade, but this jersey will be going into my “It’s a keeper!” chilly weather clothing box.

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Bontrager Commuting Stormshell – $160

By Justin Steiner

Bontrager’s Commuting Stormshell is designed to provide shelter during damp commutes. This jacket is packed with features: mesh lining for comfort, large pit zips for ventilation, waterproof zippers, hand warmer pockets, soft fabric at the cuff and collar, a chest pocket for electronics and lots of reflective graphics for visibility.

The Stormshell’s Comfort Fit is generous and roomy over street clothes, and the fabric is far softer to the touch than many rain jackets. This material’s 5,000mm waterproof rating is best thought of as water-resistant, despite the taped seams. It will resist a light shower or a short-lived downpour, but it’s nowhere near all-day waterproof. The jacket is also not terribly breathable, but the mesh lining and pit zips go a long way toward keeping things comfortable.

For the safety police among us, I applaud Bontrager for producing the Visibility Yellow color you see here. This jacket is bright! On dingy commutes, I watched many a motorist do a double-take when they saw me coming. For those who prefer a more subdued palette, there’s the black color option.

This jacket’s quality construction and ample features make it a good choice if visibility is your top priority. But if water-resistance or breathability is important to you, there are better ways to spend $160.

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Bontrager Madtown Backpack – $100

By Adam Newman

In addition to cranking out wheels and accessories for Trek, Bontrager has been rapidly expanding its presence in the accessories market. New this year is the Madtown backpack, a functional bag that works well for all sorts of uses.

The internal laptop sleeve keeps your 15-inch (and smaller) laptop secure, and the two side access panels are perfect for water bottles, power adapters and other gear. What doesn’t fit is shoes, unless you have tiny feet. There are smaller organization pockets on the outside of the main body and on the flap, too.

The nylon fabric makes no claims to being waterproof, but it’s sufficient for the occasional drizzle. The yoke-style shoulder straps are a little over-padded for my taste. I would prefer if they were wider and a bit thinner. Still, the Madtown is comfortable when riding, and stable enough for everything short of mountain biking, even without a waist strap. At 17 liters, it isn’t huge, but it’s a perfect size for day-to-day use and keeps me from overpacking.

You can find purchase Bontrager apparel in any Trek retailer or at store.trekbikes.com.

 

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