Bontrager RXL WSD Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey: A Product Review

When the weather starts turning and summer waltzes closer to the fall and winter months, people start thinking more of putting their bikes away for the season rather than riding. Who says that riding has to stop as soon as the air turns brisk? Not I!

To someone new to cycling, the idea of purchasing accessories and clothing for various types of weather (rain, snow, cold) can be intimidating. It is an investment-but once you have a few choice pieces you can no longer say weather is a reason to not be on your bike!

Think of it as a few select pieces to put the puzzle together!

Travis introduced me to Bontrager’s RXL Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey this year and I love it!
The jersey is made from Profila Thermal fabric which is super effective at trapping in valuable heat.
The first thing I noticed when I put it on was how long the sleeves were. I would say I’d like this jersey slightly more if there were thumb loops or holes; however, it is not a deal breaker for me.

The length of the sleeves keep your wrist area warm-gloves or not. The fabric easily stretches so I can move it up and over where my gloves hit on my wrists to prevent any gaps that would allow cold air in. The bands at the wrists fit snug and firm, no worries of your gloves popping out from under your sleeves!

The fabric of the jersey wicks away moisture, dries quickly, and has a fitted cut to prevent excess bunching that can be uncomfortable or create cold air pockets. Another enhanced feature is the zipper has a draft flap; this keeps cold air from sneaking in.

You will find that the front of the jersey creates a smooth profile and has a comfortable fit when bent over. The back of the jersey is a little longer to keep you covered and has a gripper band to keep things in place. You will find 3 rear, open pockets and one zippered security pocket. You will also find some reflective elements on the rear of the jersey to enhance visibility.

(Since writing the review) I’ve worn this jersey when it’s been high 30’s, anywhere in the 40’s, and low 50’s. The warmer the temps allows me to wear the jersey alone. When it’s getting cooler I will add in a base layer for added warmth. If it’s windy and closer to the low-mid 40’s, I will wear a wind jacket to assist with keeping me comfortable. When it’s closer to the mid-low 30’s and below I will wear a softshell over the thermal jersey. When even cooler weather hits I’ll be trying out a winter jacket over the top to see how that works.
(Yes! You can wear a regular winter coat! Not all clothing has to be "bike specific" but it is helpful to have a few technical pieces to keep you warm in the in-between temps and beyond.)
There is much riding to be had this winter season, so I will be experimenting a lot with layering.

I'll be honest, layering is something that I still find confusing at times; it is an art that you learn through trial and error. I also run on the cooler side so I sometimes end up overdressing!
I’ve learned that 45 can feel cold and the next day 45 can feel almost pleasant. A lot depends on wind, sun, moisture, etc.

One benefit that I have is with mountain biking I often times have a Camelbak on which allows me to shed a layer if necessary. Many times I’ll lose the wind jacket after I get in the woods, because most times the trees are the perfect shield. I’ve also gone out a few times and actually ditched the thermal jersey for a simple base layer/wind jacket combo.
If you can increase comfort for your ride so you can extend your personal cycling season, why don't you? It is an investment, but once you have those pieces of clothing and accessories, you can layer up to combat the coldest temps without an issue. After that it’s down to convincing yourself that you have the gear, now you just need to wear it and go for a ride
I can say from experience, biking in cold weather is more mental than anything. If you recreate in the winter you know that once you're out moving around, you warm up. It's all about having the appropriate clothing to wear. Cycling is just the same!
So get the items that will keep you cozy and enjoy the ride! (Maybe rent a fatbike this year, too!)

Decorah Bicycles has several colors and sizes of this jersey in stock.
Stop in and check out their selection of cooler-weather riding gear including jackets, winter helmets, gloves, tights...everything you need to keep yourself toasty!
They have a great selection of items for men or women who want to overcome the cold weather and keep on riding all through the winter.