For a casual top that will keep your body at a stable temperature, it's hard to beat something made from 100% merino wool. The Commuting Wool WSD Top from Bontrager manages to combine a genuinely good looking piece of kit, that you'd be more than happy to wear off the bike with jeans, with levels of comfort and detailing that make it just as useful on the bike. Oh, and there's a men's version too.
With short sleeves (but not too short) and lightweight wool fabric, this is a top best suited to spring and summer use, but would quite happily see you through colder conditions too, with the addition of layers. Its charm is that it actually looks like a piece of fashion clothing, rather than a technical garment, and it fulfills the function suggested by its name admirably, as commuter piece that you could wear through the day if your work environment was reasonably laid back. This styling also makes the top perfect for recreational riding and most of all, for touring.
The lightweight merino fabric keeps the body at a comfortable stable temperature and non-sticky, whilst the natural anti-bacterial properties of wool mean it won't smell nearly as much or as quickly as synthetic fabrics, making it a great choice for the extended use required by touring, or just for sitting in the office not upsetting your workmates!
The fit is relaxed without being baggy, while the arms are a long version of short, and fitted, making it comfortable to ride in with no flapping of excess fabric. The collar is an innovative and attractive touch, with 5 buttons that can take the top from being a stylish looking and warm turtle neck to an asymmetric collared polo shirt, depending on the conditions. The slightly scooped back also adds to the top's usefulness as a cycling garment.
The only niggle I have with what is essentially a really excellent casual riding top, is the small rear pocket. It has a reflective accent, which is great, but it fastens at the top with just a button. For the sake of keeping keys etc secure, I'd have preferred a small gauge zip here instead.
Excellent stylish casual jersey for recreation, commuting or touring, but would benefit from a zip pocket.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager WSD commuting shirt
Size tested: M
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The clue is in the name- aimed at female commuter riders
Useful for that, but also good for recreational riding and touring.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
100% merino wool
Button fastening neck opens out to make polo shirt.
Small button fastened rear pocket with reflective trim.
Sizes XS-XL (med- UK12)
Available in Charcoal or Blue
Well made from high quality New Zealand merino wool fabric.
Great comfort levels, managed temperature well, didn't smell.
Merino lasts well provided you wash it on a wool cycle with non-bio detergent. Also best to avoid fibre-clogging anti-perspirant products which can ruin the natural anti-odour properties of the wool.
Very light and packs down small, making it ideal for commuting or touring.
Really comfortable, spot on.
About the price you'd expect to pay for a high quality merino wool garment but more versatile than most, since you could wear it casually as well.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed really well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Style, cut, fit, fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Only the fact that the pocket at the back fastened with a button rather than a zip.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes- a lot
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A superb casual riding top, great for on or off the bike.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.