Review: Bontrager winter gear

By Adam Newman

Bontrager RXL Waterproof softshell gloves

  • MSRP: $70
  • Sizes available: X-small to XX-large

Nothing is worse than cold hands on a ride. Well, maybe cold feet, but we’ll get back to that. These lobster-style gloves are designed as the ultimate barrier between your ten digits and the single digits on the thermometer. With a wind and waterproof shell surrounding and a fuzzy fleece lining, it’s like shoving your hands right into a still-warm tauntaun.

Sure, the split-finger shape takes some getting used to, and can make shifting or braking a little weird if you’re not used to it, but if it’s cold enough for me to wear these I’m probably not looking for outright performance. The reflective accents are a nice touch, as is the generous fuzzy nose-wipe area, because let’s face it, boogers are gross. I’ve used these well below freezing and my hands were toasty warm.


Bontrager Solstice Windshell gloves

  • MSRP: $30
  • Sizes available: Small to XX-large

Usually what makes your hands cold while riding isn’t so much the outright temperature as much as the wind rushing over them while riding. The Solstice gloves are a thin, stretchy, wind-proof material that provides a base layer of protection while giving you as much tactile feedback in your fingertips as possible. They fit true-to-size and are very comfy.

The silicone grips on the palms and fingers keeps a good grip on shifters and brakes, and the long cuff tucks up nicely into your sleeves. I was comfortable in these in short rides in the 40’s and longer rides in the 50’s. The nose wipe is big and generous too. It’s amazing how many gloves don’t get this feature right, but this one does.


 

Bontrager RXL waterproof thermal shoe covers

  • MSRP: $70
  • Sizes available: Small to XX-large

These RXL booties are at the top of Bontrager’s line of wind and water protection for your feet. The outer layer has a high-quality, faux-leather feel while inside is a shaggy fleece lining that keeps your piggies toasty. The quality is worth mentioning again, as I predict getting several winters use out of these. The reflective accents are a nice touch, and help me remember which one goes on which foot.

Depending on where you fall in the sizing you might find them a bit snug to get on, but once you do they are secured with a zipper up the back stay in place. On the sole they cover most of what isn’t essential for walking, so you should get minimal splash coming in there. They fit really well on road shoes with road cleats, but I’ve been able to use them on the tread of mountain bike shoes as well for commuting. These are as close as you can get to a special winter boot and a whole lot less expensive.

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