Bicycle clothing

How to choose Bicycle clothing?

Whether you’re brand new to cycling or rediscovering the joys of two-wheel adventuring after a few years, you might be wondering what to wear on a bike ride. For starters, you don’t have to run out and buy a bunch of cycle clothing to enjoy riding, nor do you have to buy stuff to look cool. (Feeling cool is OK, though, especially in summer.)

Bike-specific clothing can certainly help make riding more comfortable. Also important: Bike clothing can improve your visibility to motorists. But not all bike clothing is designed to call attention to you. Because the “spandex look” isn’t for everyone, a lot of brands are designing bike clothes that can double as streetwear.

Repurpose Other Outdoor or Athletic Clothing

You can save on bike clothing by wearing almost any comfortable outdoor or athletic clothing when you ride, though you’ll want to add some reflective wear or reflective elements if you do. This is less of an issue where vehicles aren’t around, like on a mountain-bike-only trail.

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Materials – synthetic v. natural 

Cycling jerseys were originally made from wool which could be itchy and harbour smells. 

Most modern cycling jerseys are made from a synthetic blend. Synthetic fabrics can be engineered to wick away sweat which will keep you dry and comfortable. Blends are tailored to suit specific weather conditions. Look for water-resistance, wind-blocking and breathability depending on when and where you’ll be riding. 

If you prefer natural fibres, look out for cycling jerseys made from merino wool. Merino sheep have adapted to cold winters and hot summers, so their wool is naturally wicking and stays warm when wet.  

Unlike some natural fibres, it is naturally odour-resistant which is why it’s perfect for base layers, particularly if you’re travelling and might want to wear the same one for several days at a time. Merino wool is soft and breathable so it’s also great for sensitive skin.  

Merino cycling jerseys generally use a blend of merino and synthetic yarns to provide additional strength and durability.

Road cycling jerseys

How should a road cycling jersey fit? 

The cut is optimised for the position you’ll be riding in. Most cycling jerseys will be longer at the back than the front so that your back stays covered.  

The front might even feel a little too short but this is so that you avoid excess fabric causing discomfort when you are bent over the handlebars 

You might find that, when you stand upright, the fabric is tight across the shoulders. If in doubt, assume the riding position when you try on your jersey. 

When you are choosing your jersey, think about the kind of riding you’ll be doing. On sociable rides where you’ll be stopping for coffee, you may feel less self-conscious in a looser fit. If you’re planning on racing, a tight aero-fit might give you an advantage. 

Choose long or short sleeves depending on the weather conditions you’ll be riding in. Short-sleeved jerseys can be more versatile – with the addition of arm-warmers or clever layering they can see you through most of the year. 

Features and technologies 

  • Grippers and hems - When you’re out on the bike, clothes that ride up can be an unwelcome distraction. Most cycling jerseys have silicone grippers at the hemline and on the sleeves. Performance and race-cut jerseys may also feature ‘laser cut’ sleeves which are designed to sit like a second-skin for aero advantage.  
  • Flatlock seams - Most cycling jerseys will have seams that lay flat to minimise chafing. 
  • Visibility - If you’ll be riding in low light conditions, consider brighter colours and look for reflective details. 
  • Front zip - A full-length zip allows you to cool down on long, hot rides. Look for jerseys with a ‘zip garage’ to prevent it irritating your neck and chin.  
  • Pockets - Road jerseys will typically have three rear pockets for spares and food. Some may have an extra zipped pocket to store money and valuables. Winter jerseys might have a weather-proof pocket so you can carry your phone safely. 
  • Wind-and-water resistance - Modern wind and water-resistant materials are generally designed to be breathable, but you may find that panels of lighter-weight fabrics are used to further aid ventilation, for example on the back or the underarms. 
  • SPF protection - If you’re out in sunny conditions, remember that the sun’s rays can get through your jersey. Some modern fabrics now come with built-in SPF protection. 

Mountain bike jerseys 

How should a mountain bike jersey fit?

Mountain bike jerseys are cut for the riding position so it's important to choose one that suits your riding style. An aero-dynamic fit isn't as important, with the exception of the tighter-fitting XC race jerseys. A more casual cut also looks great for those cafe or pub stops. 

When you try on your mountain bike jersey, think about how you'll be sitting on the bike. You shouldn't feel like your movement is restricted as you'll probably be shifting your body more than you would on a road bike. 

If you'll be wearing body armour, look for a looser fit to allow for the extra bulk.

Think about where you'll be riding and for how long. For overgrown trails and downhill riding, sleeves will protect your arms from thorny branches. If you need to carry a backpack or you'll be riding in warmer weather, ventilation panels will keep you comfortable. 

Features and technologies

  • Elasticated cuffs - On long-sleeved jerseys, elasticated cuffs will keep drafts at bay and prevent the sleeves from rotating or bunching which can be a distraction.
  • Grippers on shoulders - Some jerseys may feature grippers on the shoulders to keep backpack straps in chase, minimising chafing. 
  • Zipped pockets - Look for at least one zipped pocket so you can keep valuables safe even if you take a tumble
  • Colour – Will you be on the road between trails? Or maybe you'll be riding alone and need to be easy to spot if you get into difficulty. Many MTB jerseys come in garish colours - don't be afraid to stand out. 
  • Glasses wipe - A microfibre panel inside the lower hem allows you to clean away mud quickly and get back on the trail. 
  • Wind-and-water resistance - Look for breathable fabrics that will protect you from the elements. 
  • Ventilation - Panels of lighter fabric on the back and underarms will make all the difference on warm days, but especially if you need to wear a backpack.
  • Cut for armour - If you will be wearing body armour, some jerseys are cut specifically to accommodate. For example, some jerseys feature a neck-line designed specifically to wear over a neck-brace.

 Are you more sure about how to choose? Then come and try.