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Bontrager Specter Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey



Toasty warm, lightweight winter race jersey with added high-vis safety features

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Sitting in Bontrager's mid-range clothing line, Specter, the Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey is unbelievably warm for such a slight piece of apparel. It's cut close too, so you get the added bonus of aerodynamics for those fast rides, and all for a sensible price.

Bontrager has used its Profila Thermal fabric for the majority of the jersey. It's 100 per cent polyester backed with a fleecy finish designed to trap in your body heat. It works well, so well in fact that the Specter, for me, was most comfortable around the 5°C mark paired with a baselayer.

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The material itself is soft to the touch and should you wear it next to the skin you certainly won't be disappointed with its comfort.

If you are climbing or really getting the hammer down the Specter can get a little overwhelmed. As it's fully zipped at the front you can achieve some venting, but even so if you do a get a bit hot and sweaty you remain warm even when stopped. It dries out quickly too.

Bontrager Specter Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey - chest.jpg

The fit is pretty traditional: a dropped tail, plenty of length in the arms, with close-fitting cuffs and a reasonably high neck to stop draughts.

Aimed at the performance rider, it's designed to fit best on the bike. The tail is held in place with a silicone gripper and elasticated hem and you certainly don't feel it moving at all once you are in the saddle.

Bontrager Specter Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey - riding.jpg

Sizing is spot on to Bontrager's online size guide, the US medium/ EU large garment tested here fitted exactly as I expected it to, snug without being tight anywhere.

Details like a small zip cover at the neck to stop anything digging into your skin and the internal earphone cable routing add up to a decent level of kit for its £79.99 price tag.

At the rear you find the usual three-pocket arrangement with the outer ones getting a slight slope at the top to aid access when on the bike. They are reasonably deep and don't sag much either.

Bontrager Specter Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey - pocket.jpg

For dark riding there is a token reflective strip on one of those pockets, but it's on those gloomy winter days where the Specter – this version at least (it also comes in black) – really stands out. The fluoro yellow is bright and covers the majority of the body but without making it look like a piece of safety equipment. Some might be put off by the Trek branding though, if you don't ride one of its bikes.

> Check out our guide to the best winter cycling jerseys here

Overall I think the Specter is a great piece of winter kit. It has all the attributes of a high performance race jersey without the eye-watering price. At a penny under 80 quid it is really good value for money. It's one of the warmest jerseys I've ever worn too.


Toasty warm, lightweight winter race jersey with added high-vis safety features test report

Make and model: Bontrager Specter Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey

Size tested: Medium, High Vis Yellow

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, "A new take on a cycling classic. This fitted, long sleeve thermal jersey retains valuable body heat while remaining breathable. This is a great thing for anybody out for a ride where the temperatures may vary. Profila Thermal provides a soft touch and quick-drying element appreciated by those of us who don't hang the bike up in August."

I'm not sure about the 'new take on a cycling classic' but it is really good in variable conditions.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Profila Thermal jersey fabric is engineered to trap and retain body heat

Full-length YKK zip with draught flap

Three open back storage pockets

10cm drop-tail and silicone gripper for a precise on-bike fit

Reflective elements enhance visibility for maximum safety in all conditions

Fitted - Streamlined fit for all-around cycling performance

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

For temperatures in single figures the Specter offers decent performance.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The Trek logos.

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

The Specter is a really good jersey offering decent performance and comfort at a sensible price. The material works well in the conditions it's designed for too.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Kinesis T2  My best bike is: Mason Definition

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for, and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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