While Bontrager makes everything from wheels to jerseys, they continue to do so at a very high quality level. The Bontrager RXL line of products is the creme de la creme, so every detail is executed at a high level. This time, the RXL Thermal LS Jersey has been put to good use on the road and the trail.
Bontrager RXL Thermal LS Jersey Features:
- Stretchy, warm, and inviting, this long sleeve thermal jersey begs you to extend your riding season. Great alone, with a vest, or layered under a Bontrager Softshell jacket for deep winter riding
- Profila Thermal jersey fabric is engineered to retain body heat and wick moisture to keep you warm and dry
- Full-length YKK zipper with draft flap
- Three open back pockets and one zippered security pocket
- Rear jacquard gripper keeps jersey in place
- Reflective elements enhance visibility for maximum safety
- Fitted: streamlined body fit for a next-to-skin feel
- MSRP: $109
- Visit Bontrager.com
Perfect RXL Thermal Testing Conditions
The weather has been excellent for testing the RXL Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey, so I’ve quickly taken advantage of the opportunity to do so. My first ride was actually a MTB ride in 55-65 degree temps. With a little later start than I had anticipated, the morning sun crept in and warmed things up above where I’d typically wear a long-sleeve thermal jersey. But, how well it fared in those higher temps is a testament to the breathability of the Profila Thermal fabric.
While I did open up the zipper a bit during hard-charging ascents, not once did I feel like I was on the verge of overheating. Add to it the solid abrasion resistance of the tight-knit exterior and this could be one of my go-to pieces for cold-weather mountain biking.
With higher speeds and colder morning temperatures, the RXL also shows its range while on the road. A morning ride that started at 50 degrees quickly cooled down into the mid-40’s as I ascended up American Fork Canyon. The hour-long climb was comfortable — without the need of unzipping. The exterior shed the cold and the fleece lining wicked moisture away quite efficiently.
As I turned around and descended, my intent was to ride a few miles until I got too cold, then throw on a vest, but the Profila Thermal fabric provided enough wind protection to keep me comfortable during the 1600 ft descent.
The three large rear pockets can carry plenty of gear and are easily accessed on-the-fly. And, the zippered media pocket is perfect for my iPhone 5 with a bulky LifeProof case.
While the fit is listed as a race fit, I found it to be a little more generously-cut than expected. When jerseys are race fit, I typically opt for a size Large, but my 5’11” 168 lb frame isn’t quite enough to fill this jersey. However, it was certainly not baggy. As-is, it is a great road/MTB crossover piece. The diameter of the neck opening seemed a little large, but is perhaps a product of the size. I prefer a little tigher collar since it will typically be worn under a vest or jacket.
- Versatile design that’s suitable for MTB or road use
- Excellent wicking properties
- Three large and deep rear pockets are easy to use
- Zippered pocket for smartphones (fits my iPhone 5 with bulkyLifeProof case)
- Good wind resistance
- Outer fabric resists abrasion and pokey branches
- Suitable for a wide range of temps from 40 to about 65 degrees
- Large, grabbable zipper pull (but, see below)
- Diameter of collar opening is too wide
- One-handed zipper operation is difficult due to oversized collar diameter (downsizing to a Medium might make things easier)
- For safety, road bike jerseys should never be all black (add some high-vis color accents at least)
The Bottom Line
The RXL Thermal utilizes high-quality Profila Thermal fabric that wicks away moisture and maintains comfort across a wide temperature range. Use it alone for cool temperatures or layered with a vest or jacket when things get really cold. Size down for a snug, racy fit.