Bontrager needs no introduction, they've been around since the late 70s, and what started as a component company now makes just about everything imaginable, from wheels to softgoods.
I was excited to open the box and find a bright purple and blue kit, despite all the Skittles jokes. However, with some big kitty sightings on our local trails here in Bellingham, Washington, there were a few times I felt a bit like a giant cougar lure flying through the woods.
Regardless of the color, the Bontrager’s Rhythm Tech Tee and Lithos Shorts have been a favorite of mine straight out of the wrapper. The three-quarter sleeve is breathable, and pairs well with either of Bontrager’s B1 baselayer to dial in any temperature zone; sleeveless or short sleeves. The baselayer also gave me the ability to take a few rides in the kit before having to do laundry, just wash the liners, throw the jersey on the dry rack and repeat the following day.
The three-quarter sleeve Rhythm jersey is most noticeably light and breathable. It has Bontrager’s Profila Dry fabric with strategically placed mesh panels on the sides and underneath the armpits. For the wet days, Bontrager designed a drop tail for protection against the good ol’ mud butt scenario. There’s a goggle wipe on the interior hem that provides easy access a to clean view. It’s got a true-to-fit size and has been holding up well, save for a few rogue threads thanks to thorn bush attacks.
I’ve been riding the Cirrus Liner Shorts underneath the Lithos Shorts, which are similarly well-designed with a seamless chamois top sheet providing ultimate comfort and zero bunching in the wrong places. I really enjoy the lack of the shorts squeezing my goodies, they stay up and in place without killing your sperm count. The BioDynamic chamois offer 4-way stretch and a comfort relief zone that gives the rider the ability to shift position on the saddle without shifting the whole short liner.
The Lithos Shorts are constructed from a high quality, stretch-woven shell which allows for maximum freedom of movement. The water resistant coating is a welcomed feature with the Pacific Northwest’s nasty wet weather—they shed mud and water alike, keeping the legs toasty rather than soggy. I also thought Bontrager did a good job strategically placing the seams and incorporating just the right inseam for the size. The shorts are spacious enough to fit knee pads, but snug enough to keep from getting snagged on shifters or dropper post levers.
Bontrager’s “Easy-adjust” waist is simple and effective. It is ergonomically sound so that you can adjust while riding, although I did have the waste band separate from the Velcro. The adjustment is still functional, but the glue holding the fabric to the Velcro was compromised over time. The zippered pockets are spacious, providing enough room for my tool kit, mini-pump, food stash, phone, and a goggle wipe—although you don’t need one if you’re wearing the Rhythm Tech Tee.
The waist has a zippered, two-button closure to help it stay secure with constant movement. It was a firm test on the closure to have the pockets weighed down, and they certainly passed. The shorts vent along the outer thigh, which really helps when riding with pads in warm temps. Ventilation is key throughout the summer and the Lithos Shorts have it dialed.
Even though the kit might also be adequate for driving a clown car to a kid’s birthday party, or heading to the pits for a long weekend of NASCAR, it’s the comfortable fit of the Rhythm Tech Tee and Lithos Short that make it a go-to for every ride. After all, that’s what matters.
Rhythm Tech Tee
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