A common question I see when someone new comes into the bike shop is “Why can’t I just bike in my cotton t-shirt instead of wearing cycling jerseys?”
The answer is simple. Unlike a regular tee, a cycling jersey can regulate temperature, and you can even open the zipper for more ventilation on those hot days.
They also provide back pockets that offer a storage area for tools, water, or even your phone. Jerseys are also designed to fit the body with aerodynamics’ help, which is another way of boosting speed.
Selecting the right jersey is crucial, especially when cycling. Wear a thick winter jersey, and you will come out sweating; a thin summer jersey in winter will leave you freezing.
Mountain Bike Jerseys
Mountain bikers don’t have quite as many options as road cyclists when it comes to cycling apparel. However, the style definitely fits my vibe better on the mountain bike side of things. Most of my MTB jerseys are from the brand Wisdom Leaves. I love any jersey that has a camo pattern on it like the one below. (Check Price on Amazon)
Make sure you pair your jersey with a good looking set of cycling shorts. I personally ride with the Pearl iZUMi Escape Quest shorts. They are good to go on the road, and I throw a pair of athletic shorts over them if I am in the mountains. I also cover the cool mountain bike accessories you must have for your next ride.
Race Cut Cycling Jerseys
Race cuts are designed for the vigorous and fittest cyclists. This includes pro cyclists, Elite Category 1 and 2, and skinny riders who love to go up mountains. As a result, race cut jerseys are the tightest cut available and very form-fitting for aerodynamics. Think of them as a second skin.
The front panel is shorter than the back panel leaving a large rear dip in the waistline so that the front position does not bunch up while keeping your back covered. Race cuts need to be won with bib shorts because they are generally quite short. You could also use a club cut if you don’t prefer bib shorts to avoid exposing your stomach.
Club Cut Cycling Jerseys
Every rider deserves a club cut jersey because it’s so much more relaxed, which provides more room in the riding position. They have a smaller rear dip for when you want to lean over the bars. Club cut jerseys cover more torso, which makes it possible to wear with normal cycling shorts.
In other words, these are suitable for everyday riders, 90% of cyclists, the weekend warrior, and anyone.
Road Bike Jerseys
Road bike jerseys should fit snugly. However, if you want to ride to shed some pounds, it’s important that you feel comfortable. You do not necessarily need to buy a skin-tight top, you probably need a loose top, particularly the club cut jerseys, to feel cooler, comfortable, and work harder.
I also buy a state specific jersey for every state I ride in. Being a resident of Colorado, I have several Rocky Mountain styles jerseys. It would be too hard to pick a favorite in this category. One of the most popular Colorado road cycling jerseys is by Peak 1 shown below. (Check Price on Amazon)
Once you have achieved your dream beach body, join the skin tight brigade with the European race cut form-fitting jerseys. These provide both aerodynamic advantages and offer quicker wicking for riders.
The right jersey should be long enough and ensure it doesn’t ride up too far when you raise your arms. Keep in mind that European brands tend to provide smaller sizes than their US counterparts. So just because you are normally a medium does not mean every medium-sized jersey will work for you. Start by knowing your measurements by following these steps:
1. Measure the widest part of the chest just below your armpits
2. Record the widest part of your bicep
3. Measure the top of hips where the jersey will rest
4. Also, measure the length of your torso
Compare these measurements with the manufacturer’s sizing scale to get the best fit for you.
Long Sleeve vs Short Sleeve Jerseys
Whether to use long-sleeve or short-sleeve jerseys depends on the temperatures. If you live in a hot place, then short sleeves will suffice. For rides in cooler weather between 100C to 150C, you can use a heavier long-sleeve jersey. Because the weather can fluctuate dramatically within a ride, you can have some portable layering options like arm warmers, a vest, a neck gaiter, and a windbreaker jacket.
Partial Zip vs Full Zip Cycling Jerseys
Another consideration when choosing bike jerseys is whether to go with full or partial zip. Full-length zippers provide the best ventilation. The zippers are hard to zip up after being fully unzipped when compared to partial zippers.
Choosing the right size of jerseys for your rides is important. Hopefully, you find this guide helpful to pick the right fit, material, and design for your body shape. If in doubt about which size to choose, please don’t hesitate to ask us, and we will help you out.
You can’t go wrong if you go with a jersey showing your patriotism or loyalty to your home country. One of my personal favorites is the men’s USA Cycling Jersey by BDI shown below. (Check price on Amazon.)
Which Material is Best for Cycling Jerseys?
The majority of cycling jerseys are made from light and airy materials to promote coolness during vigorous rides on a long day on the saddle.
Those who ride in the cold season can get winter-specific jerseys with long sleeves, thicker fabric, and a brushing lining to support warmth. The main materials used for cycling jerseys include:
Technical Polyester Jerseys
This material is light, offers unparalleled breathability, and is one of those fabrics with excellent wicking capabilities. It’s the most popular choice for cyclists when riding in the sun because it cools and is even UV resistant.
Besides, polyester is durable and can be washed regularly without fading. If you are on a tight budget, a polyester cycling jersey is affordable. On the flip side, new polyester jerseys tend to feel artificial or plastic, but this can be fixed by washing with a fabric softener.
Lycra Cycling Jerseys
Cycling jerseys made from Lycra are growing in popularity. Lycra is a combination of polyester and polyurethane. Unfortunately, this material is not cheap to manufacture so Lycra cycling apparel gets expensive. It is the “best of the best” for cycling apparel.
Although not common among cyclists, it’s good in all weather conditions and one of the strongest human-made fabrics. Its ability to stretch improves its aerodynamics by providing a snug fit. Moreover, Nylon is good at wicking away sweat for cool rides. A disadvantage of this material is it can absorb odors and form molds, which can be very difficult to wash out.
Merino Wool Cycling Jerseys
Cycling synthetics are prized for their wicking ability. Merino wool is preferred because the wool is warm in wet weather but surprisingly comfortable when it’s warm. Besides, it has lanolin, a naturally occurring antibacterial that prevents pong-causing bacterial from growing. Merino wool also provides UV protection to about UPF 30.