If a new kit is in order, Bontrager has several great options. Don’t look past the workhorse RL kit — it features several hi-vis designs and a great fit.
Bontrager RL Bib Shorts and Jersey Features:
- A blend of Profila Dry and Profila Cool fabrics
- InForm Race Chamois
- Reflective elements
- Full-zip jersey
- Three rear jersey pockets
- 9.5″ inseam
- Price: $119.99 (bibs), $109.99 (jersey)
Going “old school” in the RL kit
I’m loving the old school Bontrager look of the RL bib shorts and jersey. Yeah, there are other colors, but this one is a classy throwback to the paw print design of yesteryear. If you’re hoping for a hi-vis kit, there are several other options in the RL lineup, so even though I dig this classic design, have a look at the other options.
In my experience, Bontrager clothing has always held its own amongst the most sought after brands. The overall construction and designs are top-notch. I will note that the fit on the RL is a little bit generous. I’ve been wearing a Medium jersey and Large bibs throughout my tests. The jersey fits my 5’11”, 170 lb. frame perfectly and while the bibs fit just fine, I think I could have used just a tad more compression, which would have likely been afforded had I gone with a Medium.
As with most modern kits, the RL bibs and jersey feature wide, stretchy cuffs in lieu of elastic grippers. Honestly, any bibs that use old-school leg grippers should be abolished — thankfully, the RL’s don’t fit into that camp and provided a comfortable fit on even the longest of rides.
The rear pockets are generous in size with enough depth to swallow my iPhone 6 with a Catalyst Case. I typically stuffed a light jacket, some food and other items in the back with plenty of room to spare. Everything was always easy to access in the saddle and stayed put throughout my rides. Note that there is no zippered back pocket — just the three pockets. If a water-resistant zippered pocket is important, you’ll have to go with the RXL jersey (testing now).
I’ll say that while the shorts are comfortable, I did feel like the length could have been just a little longer. At 9.5″, that’s about as short as I’ve got in the closet. Compression is good overall, but not class-leading. However, at this price, they are pretty typical.
With an InForm Race Chamois, you get in-the-saddle comfort on a variety of saddles and everything from low-mileage assaults to long-distance rides. When going in/out of the saddle, however, I found that my junk would get misaligned on occasion, resulting in some painful sit-downs. I’d say sizing down to a Medium may have been better, for that reason alone.
Breathability has been great for both hot afternoon rides and mornings in the mountains. I particularly like the low-profile collar, which helps keep things cool when temps rise. Fabric durability has been great thus far with no pilling anywhere.
- Love the retro Bontrager design
- Simple and functional kit
- Deep pockets
- Overall finish is top-notch
- Pofila fabric mix breathes well
- Chamois is excellent
- Bib straps are nice, but the RXL ones are better
- Low-profile collar is great — especially on warm days
- Leg cuffs could be a little more snug
- Inseam length seems short
- Size down for proper race fit
Bottom Line: Bontrager RL Kit
The full Bontrager RL bib shorts and jersey are reasonably priced and come in a variety of color options. Size down for a race fit or don’t for a club ride fit.