The Bontrager RXL bib shorts are well cut and highly breathable, and they feature a very good seat pad to boot.
We've had a whole bunch of Bontrager clothes in on test recently and these shorts are among the best of them. These are actually Bontrager's second level shorts after the £129.99 RXXXLs, but they put in a high-end performance.
What makes them good? To begin with, there's the multi-panel construction that gives them an excellent shape. They're made of various different types of fabric, the panels extending from the sides down the front of the legs and in bands around your quads being very low density. They're not quite open mesh but they're getting on that way, so plenty of air gets in to help you stay just a touch cooler than normal.
Compression bands hold the legs in place well while the bib section is made up of similar bands at the front and a back that's highly breathable mesh. They do a great job of holding everything in place comfortably.
The seatpad is a high-quality option too. It's Bontrager's own Italian-made inForm RXL chamois that uses multiple depths of Aircell foam up to a maximum of 9mm and multiple densities. There are deeper pads out there but I've done four and five hour rides in these without any trouble at all.
Various channels improve ventilation and allow the pad to flex easily and it's pretty stretchy too. The result is that this pad is one of the more comfortable ones that I've used lately without being ridiculously large.
In fact, the shorts as a whole are really comfy. The seams are flatlock stitched more or less throughout and I didn't find any of them at all irritating.
Several weeks in and they're still looking as good as new. Occasionally, shorts will start to wear on the butt early on, or a seam will get shabby from repeated rubbing on the saddle, but there's none of that here. Everything is looking good so far.
Well-cut multi-panel shorts that are big on breathability and all-round comfort.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager RXL bib shorts
Size tested: Large
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?
Bontrager say, "Bontrager's RXL Bib Short is luxury performance. Advanced construction, Profila technical fabrics, and a multi-density, pre-shaped inForm chamois help make the RXL Bib Short fit and perform with ergonomic precision.
* Advanced construction combines compressive body fabric with highly compressive side panels and ultra-breathable, textured-mesh lower leg panels
* Clean cut compression band leg gripper with silicone print
* Two-piece construction bib straps combine a second skin clean cut front with ultra-breathable mesh back
* Reflective tabs enhance visibility
* 3D shaped, Italian-made inForm RXL chamois features a 4-way stretch top sheet, multi-density construction, and extremely breathable Aircell foam padding
* Flatlock contrast stitching
* "Streamlined for a next-to-skin feel, our Fitted cut balances performance and support. Size up if you prefer a more relaxed feel"
I'm not sure who wants cycling shorts with a more relaxed feel. I think that's just a cut and paste thing for all of Bontrager's Fitted products.
Smart fabric choice, very good seatpad, flatlock stitching... all good.
No issues at all so far.
£95 clearly isn't cheap for a pair of bike shorts but these are very well designed and use some excellent fabrics. I think it's a pretty good price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great fit, very good seatpad.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'm not convinced the logos are going to stay in place forever - but that's really a minor point.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, for the all-round high performance.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.