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The Bontrager Classique Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey is a fantastic example of a simple design done well. Where many other companies strive for innovative new materials, Bontrager has chosen a merino wool Profila Thermal fabric and created a classic winter jersey that wicks well, has great thermal qualities and looks superb.
The Classique jersey uses merino wool throughout, with no mesh, secondary windproof layer or marketing friendly new technology. This means it does everything that you would expect from a material that has been used for years – it keeps you warm, wicks sweat and is very comfortable.
Thanks to the Profila Thermal fabric the jersey is very warm. I found I could easily wear this without a baselayer and just a windproof layer over the top down to around 5°C, and on colder days with just a regular baselayer. Underneath a light softshell jacket it got a bit too hot at around 8°C, which shows just how warm this is.
Happily, this warmth is combined with the kind of wicking and breathability you would expect from merino wool, so it manages to not only moderate your temperature, but also stop you from getting too sweaty in the process.
The cut of the jersey is very much racing, but with the stretch of the fabric used throughout it doesn't feel restrictive at all. It is also soft and comfortable against the skin, as you'd expect from merino. It stays in place well thanks to the subtle but effective set of silicone grippers at the bottom of the hem. There is only one non-removable label within it too, which is made of very soft material meaning there is no chafing at all.
It has the traditional three pockets on the back, each of which has ample room, and all are easy to access and secure when on the road. There is also the slightly modern touch on the pockets of a high-vis band running down both sides, so despite the very classic look, this jersey doesn't suffer from a lack of modern practicalities.
In addition to the three regular pockets, there is also one buttoned valuables pocket, ideal for smartphones, keys or wallets, again a nod to the modern elements of jersey design.
There are obviously some slight drawbacks of using merino wool, such as the lack of waterproofing and it isn't totally windproof. When it did get damp during a shower it was relatively quick drying, not a huge problem.
With an rrp of £134.99, the jersey certainly isn't cheap, but for something this well made and good looking I'd say it's a fair price. It uses top quality materials and has been put together brilliantly, incorporating modern twists in a classic design. It's genuinely one of my favourite winter jerseys from the past few years.
One of my favourite winter jerseys from the past few years, classic with modern luxuries
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager Classique Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium, Blue
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 says: "Bontrager's Classique Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey pays homage to cycling's golden era, blending old-world craftsmanship and intelligent modern features for a stylish, timeless look and more tech than meets the eye. Profila Thermal fabric and quick-drying Merino wool offer warmth and comfort while thoughtful reflective details ensure visibility."
Cold weather riding for those looking for quality modern construction, and classic fabric and design.
It works well for both these element,s bringing together some nice modern features combined with a merino wool fabric throughout and classic quality design.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Profila Thermal powered by Merino Wool provides exceptional warmth
Full-length YKK zipper with draft flap
Three open back pockets and one snap, sweat-proof, security pocket
4" (10cm) drop tail and silicone gripper for a precise on-bike fit
Reflective elements enhance visibility for maximum safety
Fitted cut provides streamlined body fit for enhanced performance
Fantastic quality of construction, no loose stitching anywhere; the silicone grippers work perfectly and the material used is comfortable and durable.
Keeps your heat well regulated thanks to the merino wool; the cut is comfortable for long rides and it does everything it needs to.
Well made and simple design means it should last years – both in endurance and style.
Very comfortable, with one soft label. Pleasant material on the inside of the jersey and a nice cut.
Certainly not the cheapest jersey, but in this case you get what you pay for.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, kept me warm and wicked sweat away well, all while integrating classic styling and classic fabrics with a modern twist.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The basic design, its simplicity combined with a strong cut is a really good look.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Little to dislike.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
One of the best jerseys I have used in the past couple of years. It does the simple things very well, which is everything you want a jersey to do.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.