Cycling jerseys are specifically designed to allow you to function at your best while riding a bike. Selecting the best cycling jersey is not as easy a task as it may seem. First, you will have to answer some important questions:
- Why even wear a cycling jersey?
- Tight aerodynamic cycling jersey or one with a more comfortable fit for everyday riding?
- What material of jersey do I want? Polyester, nylon, wool? What’s the difference?
- What size of Jersey am I?
Why Even Wear a Cycling Jersey?
“Can’t I just bike in a normal cotton shirt?”
Well, of course, but do you want to? Cotton is not designed to wick away sweat making it more difficult on your body to regulate your temperature. If your body has to work harder to cool itself down it will affect your performance not to mention how uncomfortable a sweat-soaked shirt is to wear. You are also able to fully open the zipper for more ventilation on those hot days. Jerseys are also more form fitting and help with aerodynamics which is an inexpensive way of buying “free speed”.
Cycling jerseys have back pockets specifically designed to carry food, and tools in case you get a flat tire or even your phone in case of an emergency. They have a shorter front panel and a longer back panel so that when you are in the riding position they cover your back and don’t bunch up in the front, they are also designed with silicon grip tape on the bottom of the hem to keep the jersey from sliding up your torso as you ride.
Cycling jerseys are not just for functionality, they are also part of your style. The brand, logo or design can make you feel part of something, or help others identify who or what you are about.
Cycling specific jerseys may not be for everyone, but they certainly help your experience and performance.
What Type of Cycling Jersey is Right for Me?
There are two types of cycling jerseys – race cut and club cut.
What is a Race Cut Cycling Jersey?
Race cuts are tailored for the fittest cyclists such as pro cyclists, cat 1 and 2 cyclists and small cyclists who love to go up mountains. Race cuts are a tight fit so they are aerodynamic, very form fitting and are the tightest cut available. There is generally a significant rear dip in the waistline so that when you are in the riding position the front does not bunch up, and your back is covered.
Race cut cycling jerseys are generally quite short and are meant to be worn with bib shorts. If you do not have bib shorts, you will have an unflattering gap between your shorts and your jersey. Do yourself a favor and buy a club cut if you don’t like bib shorts or you will perpetually be pulling your jersey down to cover your stomach and love handles. Been there, done that, don’t recommend it.
Who are Race Cut Jerseys For: Pro Riders, Elite Category 1 and 2 riders, skinny riders.
What is a Club Cut Cycling Jersey?
For the everyday rider, there is the club cut Jersey. Club cut jerseys have a much more relaxed fit, they have more room in the ride position, a small rear dip and are still tailored to fit but not constrict.
Club cut jerseys are a little longer in the torso so that they can be worn with normal cycling shorts (not just bib shorts), and they have a small rear dip for when you lean over the bars.
Who are Club Cut Jerseys For: 90% of cyclists, the everyday rider, the weekend warrior and anyone of average proportions or larger.
What Material is Best for Cycling Jerseys?
The best type of material for you depends on what kind of rider you are and the weather conditions.
Polyester is a man-made recyclable synthetic material and is today’s most popular choice of material for cycling jerseys.
- Great at wicking away sweat from the body and keeps your skin dry.
- Helps keep you cool on hot days and is even UV resistant.
- Extremely durable and can be washed and the color will not fade or wash out.
- Mold and mildew cannot survive on it.
- Can be bought at lower prices than other materials.
- Great for warm or hot weather.
- Plastic feel or artificial feel. (can be fixed by washing with fabric softener)
Nylon is another synthetic material that is known for its strength and stretchiness.
- One of the strongest man-made fabrics.
- Stretches, which can improve aerodynamics as it will fit snuggly.
- Good at wicking away sweat.
- Holds color well without fading.
- Resistant to mildew and rot.
- Wind and water resistant.
- Good in all weather conditions.
- Mold can form which can be very difficult to wash out.
- Absorbs odors.
- Nylon can shrink if not handled properly.
- Not biodegradable and has an environmental impact.
- Keeps you warmer than any other material.
- Most water resistant material.
- Best wicking material available.
- UV resistant.
- Does not absorb odors.
- Great soft feel.
- Very expensive.
- Can be too hot in warm or hot weather.
Cycling Jersey Measurements
Every manufacturers cycling jersey varies in size, so just because you are normally a medium does not necessarily mean you are a medium sized jersey. Getting the size right starts by knowing your measurements. Using a soft measuring tape follow steps 1 through 4 and measure:
- The widest part of your chest or bust just below your armpits.
- Around the widest part of your bicep.
- Around the top of your hips where the bottom of a jersey will sit.
- The length of your torso.
Take down all of these measurements and compare them to the jersey measurements provided by the manufacturer and choose the best size jersey for you.