I usually set out to do elaborate write-ups of the stuff I buy and like, but then I never get around to them because there are too many details. So instead, in the better late than never category, I am going with better-short-than-not review of some stuff I got this year.
Mini-review - Bontrager RXL shorts. Here is the online pitch on these shorts: The very same bib shorts worn by Trek and Gary Fisher sponsored athletes, Bontrager's RXL Bib Shorts use a combination of high-performance technical fabrics and our finest chamois to provide elite riders with an ultra plush, highly breathable cycling short. If you're serious about cycling and want the best, the Bontrager RXL Bib Short is for you.
These are also the shorts that Team Two Wheel got this year to go with our kit. We got the version with the super sexy red swoosh on them (for a picture go here: http://bontrager.com/model/07609). I usually like plain black shorts, but Geoff must have caught me in a free-spirited mood when he suggested the ones with red.
As readers from a year ago know, I really, really liked the Giordania shorts we wore last year, so the bar was pretty high for these Bontrager shorts. I am pleased to report that they met the bar, particularly for the price. These shorts are about $75 less than the Giordanias, but they ride about $25 less, if that.
These shorts have more of a traditional fabric and they have a larger chamois than the Giordannas. At first glance, I thought the chamois would be too much, especially since they are a chamois with marketing printed all over them (tush cush here; taint ain't unhappy here; crotch cushion everywhere!), but after getting them into the right spot it turns out that they are really very comfortable and remain so after many hours. At this point in my riding, my undercarriage is so used to the abuse I think I could ride sandpaper for some period of time, but anything becomes uncomfortable at some point. I rode a pair of these for six hours at a go last week and they were as good as any short I have and better than almost all of them.
If you are looking for a rule of thumb on shorts, my advice is to spend more. I usually don't pick the most expensive, because the marketing dollar seems to maximized on the top-of-the-line model, but with cycling shorts, even though they are expensive, I think it is really best to spend healthily on this item. You have a rather intimate relationship with them and every time I buy up, I turn out happy and conversely, when I try to save a buck, I wonder why I am abusing myself later. Shorts last a long, long time, so do yourself a favor and buy the best you can afford. And when you are looking for some truly nice shorts that are much less expensive than the Italian and Swiss models, check out these Bontrager RXL shorts. A good buy and a great short.