RXL Thermal Long-Sleeve Jersey – $110
Of the two jerseys reviewed here, the RXL Thermal is the more cycling-specific. It has a more fitted shape and the shoulders are cut for being bent slightly forward over the handlebars. I think Bontrager did a better job with the cycling-specific cut than many other brands in that it didn’t just replicate the upside-down triangle shape of many men’s jerseys. The cut is shaped but not too exaggerated (i.e. you can be comfortable even if you’re not super-Strava-aero in the drops), and the elastic, grippy waistband isn’t so restrictive that it rides up. It is a tiny bit too short in the front, but I and my long torso seem to have that problem with all technical jerseys. It might be just right for you.
The thermal Profila fabric has a soft, brushed interior and a very stretchy exterior. Warm and wicking as advertised, the RXL Thermal is an excellent, capable winter road-ride jersey whether on its own or layered nicely under a jacket.
Thoughtful little details include a draft flap on the front zipper, three rear pockets that are deep enough to actually be useful and a rear zippered pocket for a super-secret stash. The neck is also comfortably on the higher side and features a mesh patch at the back to help dissipate heat. I’m not sure how practical or visible the three, tiny reflective dots on the back pocket are, but there you have it.
The RXL Thermal jersey comes in enough colors to satisfy most tastes across the women’s product spectrum (yay!): light blue, red, pink, bright yellow/green and black. Several of the colors are currently on sale, so check it out. Sizes XS to XL.
More info: bontrager.com
Vella Thermal Jersey – $100
I’ll just come right out and say it: The Vella Thermal is my new favorite winter jersey, even though I honestly don’t like the color (bonus that it’s the cheaper of the two). The shape is more universal and the cut slightly less fitted, making it great for all winter activities, not just cycling, and allowing me to wear a wool T-shirt underneath it on the coldest days. It’s also a bit longer than the RXL Thermal and the unique wrist openings easily fold up, making way for my gargantuan technical watch. The waist is not as fitted but the silicone dots do a nice job of keeping the jersey in place. I think it would make a great technical top for commuting, among other things.
The Vella also features Bontrager Profila thermal fabric, but this one feels a bit thicker and slightly less technically fancy. It wears very cozily and wicks as advertised. Similarly to the RXL, this jersey also features three deep rear pockets and one zippered stash pocket. I don’t really get the point of the asymmetric front, but I think it looks cool, and I do appreciate that the front zipper is reflective.
The Vella Thermal jersey comes in black, bright yellow/green and an intense pink. The heathered look of the black one is particularly classy; you could get away with wearing it in various situations not directly related to cycling. Sizes XS to XL.
More info: bontrager.com