Bontrager Circuit jersey and bibshorts review

Budget friendly kit that looks and performs great, too

Apparel
Affordable kit that doesn't look cheap or perform poorly, what a concept.

Affordable kit that doesn’t look cheap or perform poorly, what a concept (click to enlarge).

Lowdown: Bontrager Circuit Jersey and Bibshorts

First thing I look at when choosing road cycling kit? Price. I don’t care how fancy, schmancy the stuff is, it should not cost as much as an Armani suit (not that I’d ever buy one of those either). The idea that you can spend upwards of $500-$600 for a top-and-bottom bike riding combo is just silly. That’s why the Bontrager Circuit jersey and bibshorts get such high marks. It’s functional, fashionable, and reasonably priced kit. Check out our full review to learn more.

Stat Box: Bontrager Circuit Jersey
Fabric: Lightweight moisture wicking Safety: Reflective elements
Cut: Drop-tail, cycling specific design Colors: Black, red, blue, yellow, white, geo-scope
Storage: 1 zipped + 3 open back pockets Sizes: XXS-XXL
Zipper: Full length YKK MSRP: $70
Fit: Semi-form fit Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5 out of 5 stars
Security: Silicone gripper around waist

Pluses
Minuses
  • Affordable
  • Hardcore racer will want tighter fit
  • Lightweight
  • Slightly loose sleeves
  • Thoughtful design
  • No waterproof essentials pocket
  • Moisture wicking
  • Some shoulder flap at higher speeds
  • Subtle styling
  • Full length zipper
  • Multiple color options
  • Ample storage
  • Good pocket security
  • Robust, easy-to-grab zippers

The bibshorts utilize mesh material on the back that helps keep you cool, while a well-made dual density chamois protects the nether region.

The bibshorts utilize mesh material on the back that helps keep you cool, while a well-made dual density chamois protects the nether region (click to enlarge).

Stat Box: Bontrager Circuit Bibshorts
Chamois: Stratus inForm dual density pad Safety: Reflective elements
Fabric: Lightweight moisture wicking Colors: Black, white, geo-scope
Fit: Form Fitted Sizes: XXS-XXL
Security: Clean cut compression leg gripper MSRP: $105
Inseam: 9”/23cm Rating: 4 Stars 4 out of 5 stars

Pluses
Minuses
  • Affordable
  • Chamois slightly thin
  • Subtle styling
  • Some thread fraying
  • Cooling mesh back
  • Bib straps a bit loose
  • Good chamois position
  • Lightweight
  • Good wicking
  • Thigh compression

Review: Bontrager Circuit Jersey and Bibshorts

Rapha’s influence on the world of road cycling kit is undeniable. The U.K.-based high-end apparel maker ushered in the modern age of subtle, classic designs. Look around today and almost every kit maker (Bontrager included) has some version of the understated kit that Rapha helped popularize.

The design is subtle without being boring. Color options include black, blue, red, yellow, and geo-space.

The design is subtle without being boring. Color options include black, blue, red, yellow, white, and geo-space (click to enlarge).

But in many cases that’s where the similarities end. For example, a quick scan of the Rapha website reveals that $115 is the least you can pay for an adult-sized jersey, and the average is around $175. Bibshorts start at $150 and climb quickly from there. While I’m not saying Rapha’s kit (or that of any of the other high-end brands) is totally unreasonable, the price disparity between it and something like the Bontrager Circuit jersey and bibshorts is a little hard to swallow. (And yes, Bontrager makes far more expensive kit, too.)

At $105, the bibshorts punch way above their weight class in terms of performance.

At $105, the bibshorts punch way above their weight class in terms of performance (click to enlarge).

For $175 you get a jersey — and bibshorts. More importantly, though, the Bontrager Circuit kit looks and functions great. Over several months of testing, it’s provided a solid combination of comfort, breathability, and performance. And don’t confuse this with the budget-priced, flappy (and often loud) kit you find on the discount rack at your local bike shop. The jersey’s fit is trim enough to appeal to all but the most hardcore of racers, while the styling is classic and subtle, just the way I like it. Sorry Led Zeppelin-jersey wearing dude… That’s just not my stairway to heaven.

Continue to page 2 for more of our Bontrager Circuit jersey and bibshorts review »

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.


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