At the Midwest bike show a while back I bought this slick Bontager jacket for an even slicker 60 dollars, about 100 dollars off retail. I’ve worn it enough now to offer a review.
This is the second bike specific jacket I’ve owned, the first being a Performance Transformer. The Transformer jacket is cheap junk, mine broke after 5 rides. This Bontrager jacket is light years better. The temperature was about 48 this afternoon and I went riding with Shauna and wore a single long sleeve workout shirt and my jacket. I was a tiny bit cool while Shauna and I tooled along at 14 miles per hour on the rail trail, but when she went home and I dropped in on some serious training effort things became just right.
First off the fit is very good, I bought a XXL and I could probably be OK with a XL but I like jackets to fit loose in case I need to wear many layers underneath. It fit very well everywhere, not too baggy but completely free movement. The back is extra long as all bike jackets should be. The sleeves end with very sturdy and easy to adjust cuffs. When you pull the cuff tight there is no wind running up your sleeves. The neck has a medium length neck gator built in which is high enough to keep the wind from getting in but no so high that it gets on your nerves.
The construction is excellent. The material is a very sturdy and thick mesh that blocks wind very well and also breathes. I’ve worn it both mountain biking and road biking and soaked it with sweat many times now, it absorbs sweat out of your clothes and moves it outward. The zipper is excellent it seems far more sturdy and reliable then the zippers in cheaper garments I usually buy. It is very easy to move up and down on rides and never gets stuck.
There are 2 deep and roomy side pockets and one verticle chest pocket. All pockets have excellent zippers that don’t get stuck. At the bottom you’ll find adjustment drawstrings on both sides to pull the jacket tight which hasn’t been all the useful mountain biking but is nice on a cold and windy road bike ride. The logos are small and understated and there is a nice reflective stripe on the back.
The first time I wore the jacket mountain biking it came home covered in mud, I tossed in the washer and it came out looking completely brand new. The material seems to resist staining. I would never buy this jacket for retail, but if you can find a good deal for one I’d say go for it. If a Performance Transformer jacket sales for 50 dollars this jacket is easily worth twice that.
On a side note every photo taken for this review was on my wife’s Canon A3300 camera that I fell on Saturday. It took about 4 days for the camera to dry out and work properly again but now all systems are functioning. I still have a huge bruise on my hip where It was smashed between me and a rock. It’s a camera miracle.