Amazingly, the fabric used for the bulk of Bontrager’s Thermal Windblock Jacket is refreshingly free of fantastical nomenclature; the label attached at purchase simply says “Soft, windproof, and thermal jacket with stretch fabric that moves with you”. Bang on, although I’d want sleeves that moved with my arms whatever the fabric’s other properties.
The cloth concerned incorporates some 2percent polyurethane, which no doubt provides the windproof, rain-resistant and breathable membrane on which it depends for part of its performance. The feel of the stuff, which is otherwise polyester, is par for the course; somewhat stiff with a shiny, interestingly complex woven structure on the outer surface and with a fleecy inner layer that adds useful insulation.
There is a little stretch available in the fabric but it is hardly needed; the cut is nicely tailored for cycling with a long tail and the sizing of the Large garment on test is just that. There’s no real sensation of tightness or constriction anywhere, even across the shoulders while reaching for the drops. The arms could perhaps be 10mm longer but the Lycra cuffs ensure that the wrists stay warm at full stretch.
A basic ThermoLycra-style fabric is used for stretch panels running down the insides of the sleeves and trunk; with no membrane, they allow the jacket to lose moisture more effectively without noticeably sacrificing warmth. Jacket construction is sturdy, with flat-lock seams, and the overall effect is of a garment that should last several seasons of hard usage.
Details include the usual three back pockets, each with an elasticated opening, an elasticated hem and a central full-length front “YKK” zipper with zipper “garage”, AKA a small fold inside which the zipper tab sits when pulled right up to the neck. The zipper, which is smooth and solid to use, starts US-style with the puller in the right hand; it takes no time to get used to but is noticed every time the jacket is worn.
Worn on an chilly, sunny morning, the jacket proved warm, snug and comfortable. Given the claims for rain resistance, we’ll wait for less clement conditions before reporting further.
Bontrager Thermal Windblock Jacket £89.99; Sizes S – XXL; Colours black and white