Fall is an odd time of year—too cold to run your typical summer gear, but still not quite frigid enough to don the actual polar-adventure gear. Bontrager’s Evoke Thermal long sleeve jersey is designed for that grumpy middle ground. Bontrager constructs the Evoke from Profila thermal—a mid-weight material that’s designed to trap your body heat yet provide a degree of breathability. Waterproof? Nope. Windproof? Not especially. Again, the Evoke is more of a fall jersey than a full-blown winter garment.
Bontrager offers the Evoke Thermal in a wide range of sizes (from extra small to extra-extra large). The jersey is available in both blue and black and sells for $99.99 USD
. trekbikes.com On Trail
The Evoke is warm enough to wear by its lonesome, at least on days that range from the mid 40s to the low 60s (about 7 to 15.5 °C). In fact, I was more than a little grateful for the generous zipper when it came to climbs. Bontrager's Profila fabric truly does trap body heat well--you'll need to add a little airflow to the equation. When the windchill picked up, however, it became immediately clear that I needed to add a base layer to the ensemble. Likewise, the garment isn't waterproof, so if it looks like rain, you'll need to pair this with a legit rain jacket.
I found Bontrager's semi-fitted cut to strike a good balance--neither too tight nor too loose. It's clear that it's a high-performance garment, but you also don't look like a member of the speed-skating Olympic team. Always a plus. The only odd bit about the fit is the overly-loose sleeves, just above the wrist. Not sure what Bontrager was aiming for here, but it felt a bit strange.
The Evoke does feature a mild (3.75-inch/9-centimeter) drop tail--it's not so long that it's dragging off your butt, but it is long enough to prevent wheel spray from painting your backside. There's also a Napoleon-style, chest pocket that's just the right size for squirreling away energy bars or carrying your cell phone. Finally, Bontrager outfitted the jersey with a sunglass wipe on the inside of the hem--another nice feature given that this is the time of the year when your glasses have a way of fogging up and becoming useless, just as you finish the climb and are ready to tackle the descent.
What could stand to be improved? The zipper on our test jersey proved a bit stubborn. Single-handed, on-the-fly adjustments were a challenge. I also would love to see a rear pocket added to the mix. The front pocket works well for lightweight goods, but if you wanted to stuff something more substantial in there, it's a bit distracting having your multi-tool banging around against your chest. It'd be great to see the addition of at least one generous rear pocket.Pinkbike's Take:
|The Evoke Thermal is a solid choice for those brisk, fall days when you realize your summer gear just isn't going to cut it anymore this season. If, however, you are looking for a wind and waterproof top, you'll want something more substantial than what's on offer here. - Vernon Felton|