No piece of clothing brings character to a cycling outfit more than the jersey. But the jersey is about more than fashion. Whether it’s a skin-tight cut for racers, sporty and comfortable for recreational athletes or casual and loose for
downhill-oriented bikers, all cycling jerseys are adapted in terms of fit, elasticity and details such as pockets, cuffs or zips to the position and movements on the bike for the relevant area of use, although some qualities are always in focus: breathability, moisture management and ventilation through the targeted use of functional fibres. Since cycling jerseys can be worn directly against the skin or combined with a thin base layer underneath, it is also about the level of comfort on the skin. If the jersey wicks moisture away from the body instead of absorbing it, will it stay pleasantly dry and light and prevent you from cooling down in the wind.
Close-fitting cycling jerseys may not appear very comfortable at first, but they are widespread in the sport – and for good reason.
Anyone who’s ever battled a headwind long-distance or hit the road in the high summer season knows how sweat-inducing this activity can be. In addition, cool winds (which may initially feel quite pleasant) quickly lead to falling body temperatures. Under these types of conditions, ordinary textiles don’t stand a chance. Cycling jerseys are made from high-performance fabrics that offer superb sweat wicking and breathability, regulate temperatures and dry out quickly.
As you’d expect, however, there are a few more features to consider when choosing exactly the right cycling jersey for you. Let’s have a look at a few of them now.
Bike jerseys come with either short sleeves or long sleeves.
Conversely, the most common choice for MTBers is the long-sleeve jersey. Longer sleeves provide better coverage and enhanced protection against trailing branches, rocks and much more on the trails.
Smart Tech Features
We’ve already observed that the best materials for cycling jerseys need to be sweat-wicking, breathable and temperature-regulating.
However, modern manufacturers are taking these materials even further and jerseys are being constructed from materials that offer more and more clever tech features. Some examples of smart fabric technology includes Endura’s CoolMax wicking tech and Fox’s TruDri tech, UPF sun protection (as offered by LIV and Mavic jerseys), Gore’s Windstopper fabric and ION’s sanitised silver treatment for odour-free wear.
No matter what kind of riding you’re setting out to do, chances are you’ll need pockets on your jersey. Having enough storage space for your ride essentials is incredibly helpful – meaning you can take a stash of nutrition bars or gels, a little repair kit, and anything else you might need along with you.
Fit & Cut
A good jersey should fit you perfectly.
You need your jersey to keep your skin as dry as possible, as this will prevent the wind from rapidly cooling your body. If you find that the wind continues to be a problem – even with a well fitting cycling jersey – then consider a special cycling jersey that comes with windproof materials on the stomach and chest area. Flapping material will also ruin your aerodynamic performance and most likely prove both annoying and distracting.
If you’re not keen on a skin-tight feel, look out for jerseys that are described as having a ‘relaxed’ or ‘casual’ fit – as these should be less snug.
Extended jersey tails cover roadies’ backs in an aggressive riding position. And most jerseys will come with a handy silicone gripper that keeps the jersey hem in place and prevents flapping and riding up during your ride.
Finally, consider the zipper on your jersey options. Full-length zippers offer better ventilation than short zips. Zipper garages protect your chin and neck from irritation, whilst zipper pull tabs make opening and closing your zip easier on the go.