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Bontrager RXL bib shorts – review

Squarely aimed at ‘big, hard miles’ there are proper all day riding shorts, with a big focus on comfort and an excellent fit and chamois. So, starting with the core of the shorts, the inForm RXL chamois has a multi-density, 3D seamless construction, with four-way stretch and an always welcome anti-microbial top sheet.

While it’s quite pronounced and obvious off the bike, the chamois works well and – crucially – keeps you comfortable for hours while riding. The bulk of the padding rests in three areas: on both sit bones and the area in between. In effect, it works like a channel on a saddle does by relieving pressure and allowing blood to flow easily. It’s a really good pad, and one definitely worthy of a set of £100 shorts.

Several types of fabric make up the bulk of the shorts, all adding their own key elements to the overall performance. Profila Power is the main fabric, and this is coupled with Profila Cool mesh on the back of the bibs, which offers ventilation and a degree of cooling. The bib straps are seamless, low profile and come with a bonded finish while eliminates the possibility of any bunching and means they sit comfortably against the skin.

All the panels are held together with flat lock stitching which helps to make the shorts feel as unobtrusive as possible, and they’re extremely well fitted without verging on compressive or too tight. Bontrager describe is as a ‘streamlined fit for all-round cycling performance’.

The lower legs are made from a compression-style gripper, a wide band of elastic with small dots of slightly sticky fabric that sits flush with the leg. This didn’t rub, move or twist, instead flexing efficiently with the leg as I rode.

Length-wise the shorts come to just above the knee and, at 24cm, it’s a mid-range length – not overly long and not too short.

One last thing to mention is that these are definitely a warmer weather set of shorts. I reckon anything from about 14 degrees upwards. The mesh and thinner fabrics wouldn’t add much in terms of warmth which is excellent in hot weather, but might start to falter when the temperature drops or if pairing the shorts with knee or leg warmers.

Conclusion

Bontrager’s RXL bib shorts feature high-end performance at a surprisingly good price point, and everything about them is well thought out and purposeful. Multiple shaped panels, a selection of considered fabrics and an excellent chamois have been blended to make the shorts perform, fit and look great.

Pros

– Excellent fit and construction
– Superb chamois

Cons

– Very few

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