The Bontrager RXL short sleeve Jersey is a lightweight option for the hot weather.
It's made from summer-weight polyester. The body fabric is what Bontager call Profila Dry while the side panels, which extend around to the underside of the arms, are Profila Cool. Both are reasonably stretchy and they dry superfast if you get them sweaty. The big difference between them is that while the Profila Dry is a standard knit, the Profila Cool is a mesh for extra ventilation.
Speaking of ventilation, the YKK front zip is full length so you can let as much air in as you like. The zip pull is nice and chunky so it's easy to grab on the go, and it locks in place wherever you set it.
You get three deep pockets around the back as usual, with elasticated tape at the top to help keep everything safely inside. There's a zipped security pocket back there too that's roomy enough for your phone and wallet.
The cut is fitted. I've known slightly slimmer cuts in ultra-stretchy fabrics but the RXL certainly sits very close to your body in a race style. The hem and the sleeves are held in place by more elasticated tape, this time featuring Bontrager's logo. There's a fair degree of give in them so they're unlikely to feel tight – although of course, we're all built differently so try before you buy if at all possible.
The best thing about this jersey is that it's so lightweight – not because that'll give you a speed advantage but because it keeps you cool. This really is a jersey for warm summer days – when the temperature is over 20°C, I'd say. In those sort of conditions it feels cooler than most other jerseys, with those side panels in particular helping to keep you feeling fresh.
You can get the RXL wet with sweat, just like you can any other jersey if you work hard enough, but it dries out again quicker than most. The hotter the weather, the more you'll appreciate its cool character.
Lightweight jersey that shifts sweat well and dries super fast; becomes more valuable as the temperature rises.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager RXL short sleeve jersey
Size tested: Medium
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, "Designed for the high-mileage racer or enthusiast who wants ultimate comfort and performance, the RXL Jersey uses ultralight Profila Dry body fabric and highly breathable Profila Cool mesh paneling to ensure you stay cool and dry, no matter how long your day in the saddle gets."
It's lighter than most other jerseys and that's definitely its strongest asset. It dries really fast when you get it sweaty.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Profila Cool mesh fabric panels that run along the sides to the underside of the arms are highly breathable.
Decent fabrics, high-quality zip, good close fit. I'd prefer flatlock stitched seams on a jersey, especially one as close fitting as this.
Solid performance. The hotter the weather, the better it is.
The lightness of the fabric is useful in that it feels more comfortable in hot weather.
It's pretty good value although I wouldn't say it does anything in particular that would elevate it to the top of my 'must have' list.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For hot weather riding, it does the business. A solid performance... but not the strongest product in Bontrager's range.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The lightweight fabrics shift sweat well and dry fast.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
In common with many synthetics, it can get smelly when you sweat. Personally, I'd prefer flat-stitched seams on a really close-fitting jersey.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yeah.
Would you consider buying the product? Hmm, I'm not sure it's remarkable enough except in really hot weather.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? As above.
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.