Buy a Cycling Jersey

Buy a Cycling Jersey

So you’re in the market for a cycling jersey, but you’re not quite sure what you want. You’re seeing words like ‘athletic,’ ‘fitted,’ ‘comfort’—shouldn’t you want all three?—and UPF—is that even important?—And they all claim to be breathable, but you beg to differ with that last jersey you had.

We know there are a lot of options out there, so here are some basic guidelines on what you can expect to encounter in your quest for the right cycling jersey, whether you’re new to the sport or have been searching for the perfect jersey for years.

Different Cuts and Fits

Refer to a company’s size chart before purchasing since sizing between different brands (and even within one brand) can vary wildly. For jerseys, you’ll need to know your chest and sometimes waist measurement. (Many size guides list measurements in both centimeters and inche.

But in addition to having a size chart, many companies also offer different “fits” ranging from loose to skin tight; these allow the buyer to better envision what kind of jersey they’re looking at. Some cyclists prefer a looser-fitting top, while others may want something skin tight—whether it’s for comfort, performance, or style. Knowing how a jersey fits can also help with selecting the right size.

Mountain Bike / Technical Tee

Though we’ve grouped these together here due to fit, there are often subtle differences between the two. A technical tee, especially from an athletic company that isn’t cycling specific, is simply a t-shirt made from fabric that’s better suited for exercising. Mountain bike jerseys are sometimes just that, too, but it’s now common for them to include mountain biking-specific features like a built-in, micro-cloth lens wipe for your sunglasses and a small zippered pocket for your keys.

Recreational / Comfort

There’s a reason why you see cyclists riding around with pockets on their backs: A proper cycling jersey can be both practical and comfortable. This cut is for those who want a cycling jersey without looking like they’re about to join the pro peloton. It might be tighter than a technical tee and has useful features like a zipper and back pockets. The sleeves on these might be similar to a technical tee, or a bit tighter, and they may have some kind of elastic band along the bottom edge near the hips to hold them in place.

Fabric Options

The trope of the spandex-clad cyclist is actually pretty accurate, at least from a fabric standpoint. In fact, Lycra (which is a brand name) and spandex are the same type of fabric and also go by the name elastane. It’s found in most cycling apparel nowadays, thanks to its high stretchability, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties. Polyester and nylon are the other big fabrics that make up many cycling jerseys.