Bontrager steps it up for 2010

Trek's everything-other-than-bikes division, Bontrager, is best known for its range of road and mountain wheels but the company also showed off an impressively broad and deep collection of other components, clothing, shoes and accessories for 2010.

Good fits and high-tech fabrics plus more Bontrager shoe models

Some of the biggest changes for Bontrager's 2010 soft goods division come in women's apparel. We've been pleasantly surprised with the existing RXL kit's perfectly snug cut and comfortable inverted inForm chamois design so far and now women will get their own version, complete with a specific chamois and more flattering cuts and colors. By request, the women's Race shorts will also now come with a shorter 6" inseam option.

On the more casual end, Bontrager also adds a new Cadence line of women's clothing with more versatile styles that can be used out on the road but also in the gym. Shorts feature a flattering 'yoga-style' wide waistband plus a minimal Cadence WSD chamois.

Off-road, Bontrager will continue on with Rhythm Comp and Rhythm-level apparel sets for both men and women. 2010 will bring a major price reduction in the men's Rhythm Comp from US$169.99 down to a far more reasonable US$119.99 thanks to the elimination of the included removable liner – which Bontrager says most high-end riders ditch in favor of their preferred bibs, anyway.

Winter will bring new Race Thermal and Race Lite Windfront tights, both of which boast silky Italian fabrics and comfy fuzzy interiors to help retain warmth. As the name suggests, the Windfront model adds wind-resistant panels along the front surfaces but retains more breathable materials elsewhere for better ventilation.

In addition, Bontrager will introduce a new range of UV-protective accessories called SunStop. Though the collection will only include arm warmers and skull caps for now, both will feature built-in UPF 40+ protection that won't wash out or degrade over time.

Much of the footwear line carries over for 2010 but just as with the apparel, women now get their own versions of Bontrager's RXL models for road, mountain and even triathlon plus a more casual Cadence model that can be used with or without two-bolt cleats.

Moreover, current Bontrager shoe owners will be happy to hear that aftermarket upgrade kits for the included eSoles eFit footbeds are finally available from Trek retailers.

Colorful eco-friendly bags

Bontrager's newest collection of panniers and messenger bags are built using recycled bicycle inner tubes and old event banners in an effort to minimize use of virgin materials. As a side benefit, each bag is also highly water resistant and every bag is slightly different depending on what fabrics were available at the time.

Along those same lines, Bontrager's Seat Pack Pro will include optional models built using leftover fabrics from other companies' bags and apparel production. Colors and textures will be somewhat random as a result, but this also still keeps much of the material from ending up in a landfill.

2010 will see a host of other new bag models, too, including new fewer than nine rack-top truck bags, a collection of polyurethane-coated waterproof bags plus messenger-style carriers and even laptop sleeves. All rack-mounted bags will also feature Bontrager's tool-free Interchange attachment system for easy installation and removal.

Tools for (almost) every occasion

In keeping with Bontrager's 'something for everything' philosophy, even the range of tools will expand for 2010.

A new Chaintool features a built-in tray to hold on to one side of the chain during pin installation, a two-side driver pin for double the useful lifespan, and a magnetic pocket to store spare links. The Rollbar collection of mini-tools is revamped, too, with three models (8, 12, 18) to suit the task at hand. The top-end Rollbar 18 includes all the usual suspects plus other handy bits like a disc brake pad spreader, chain tool, a built-in tire lever plus storage for a spare chain link and pin.

To complement last year's Gary Fisher Roscoe introduction, shop mechanics may also want to grab the new Bontrager bearing press specifically sized for that model's pivot bearings.

'The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round…'

We already showed you the changes on the road side of things back in July and not much has changed on the off-road side (apart from tubeless rim strips and valve stems now being included) with cross-country and all-mountain Rhythm models carried over for 2010.

Roadies get a new Race X Lite Aero TT tire, though, with built-up sidewalls to smooth the transition between tire and rim for a claimed six-second time savings over a 10km time trial and additional Hard-Case variants in other models for riders that require more durability for training.

Mountain bikers, on the other hand, get nine new tread patterns for 2010 including the ultra-fast rolling XR0 and G1 models, the new freeride-specific FR3 and three 29er-specific tires.

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