Updated May 2022
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Buying guide for Best cycling jerseys

Whether you cycle competitively or just for fun, having the right wearable gear is the best way to stay comfortable. It might seem like biking in the T-shirt you usually wear to the gym is a good idea, but a cycling jersey is a better option — even for a short ride.

A cycling jersey is designed with comfort in mind, so it allows for easy movement, is usually breathable, and can wick away moisture to keep you from getting too sweaty. In cold or wet weather, a cycling jersey can be worn under another layer. During the summer months, you can typically wear a cycling jersey all on its own.

With so many cycling jerseys to choose from, finding the right one can be difficult. You have to select the right fabric, fit, design, and other features to make sure the jersey is as comfortable and functional as possible. Our buying guide can teach you everything you need to know to find the best cycling jersey for your next ride.

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Most cyclists like to have at least two jerseys — a short-sleeve style and a long-sleeve style. These two options will keep you covered for nearly all cycling temperatures.

Key considerations


The fabric a cycling jersey is made of is the most important factor to consider when you’re shopping. While comfortable cotton might seem like a good idea, it’s actually a poor material for a cycling jersey because it soaks up moisture rather than wicking it away. That can leave you uncomfortable when you’re riding because the sweat stays right next to your body.

That’s why most cycling jerseys are made from some type of synthetic material. In most cases, polyester fabrics are used. Polyester is a popular choice because it’s lightweight, breathable, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking, so you stay dry while you’re cycling. It’s effective in both warm and cold weather. Polyester or synthetic-blend cycling jerseys also tend to be more affordable, making them ideal if you’re new to cycling.

Some high-end cycling jerseys are made from merino wool. It’s a traditional option due to its soft, natural feel on the skin, but it can dry quickly and wick away moisture, too. While it doesn’t dry quite as fast as synthetic materials, it’s naturally antibacterial, which prevents it from developing odors. A wool cycling jersey is more expensive, but it can be a better option for cold-weather cycling because it’s usually warmer than a synthetic jersey.


The fit of a cycling jersey is crucial because too much excess fabric flapping around as you ride can slow you down. But you don’t want a jersey that’s too tight, either, because it can cause chafing.

Professional cyclists usually wear jerseys that are extremely form-fitting because they want to reduce air resistance and maintain speed. These tighter jerseys, which are often known as European or racer-style shirts, are also better for wicking moisture away from the skin and maximizing speed.

If you aren’t comfortable with such a snug top, consider a club-fit or relaxed-fit jersey. It’s a particularly good option for hot weather because it allows air to circulate around the skin more easily to keep you cooler. Relaxed-fit jerseys are usually a good option if you’re a new cyclist.

Long sleeve vs. short sleeve

Cycling jerseys are available in both long-sleeve and short-sleeve styles. Long-sleeve jerseys obviously work well in colder weather. Make sure to choose a jersey with cuffs that are secure enough to keep cold and moisture from seeping inside but not too tight that they’ll cause chafing. Short-sleeve jerseys work well for warm weather, but they can also be used as a base layer in colder weather. You can also pair a short-sleeve style with arm warmers for cold-weather cycling.

Some jerseys also have raglan sleeves that hit around the elbow, which some cyclists find allow greater arm movement while still providing additional warmth.

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Expert Tip
For longer rides, you’ll usually be more comfortable in a relaxed-fit cycling jersey.


Zipper design

The majority of cycling jerseys have a zipper in the front to allow for ventilation. You can typically choose from two main zipper designs: partial and full-length.

While full-length zippers run all the way down the jersey, partial zippers on cycling jerseys usually go down two-thirds of the way. Full-length zippers offer the most effective ventilation, but they’re more difficult to zip while you’re riding.


Cycling jerseys typically have one to three pockets sewn along the back. Because of this positioning, they’re easy to reach when you’re riding, so many cyclists keep keys, energy bars, a tire patch kit, or other small items in them. Make sure that the pockets are elasticized or zippered, though, so you don’t have to worry about items falling out when you’re on the road.


If you tend to get overheated when you ride, opt for a cycling jersey with some type of ventilation. In most cases, mesh panels on the back or beneath the armpits are used to let heat out and help some cool air circulate near your skin.


Some cycling jerseys feature a waterproof coating with pores along the surface of the fabric. These small holes let the moisture from sweat escape to evaporate but prevent larger drops of rain or water from getting inside. That can help keep you dry even in wet weather.

UV protection

A wool cycling jersey offers natural UV protection from the sun, but synthetic styles can feature a coating with UV protection. That prevents UVA and UVB rays from penetrating the jersey and hitting your skin, so you’re at less risk for skin cancer and other skin damage.


Cycling jerseys are available in a wide array of colors, so you should be able to find a hue or design that suits your style. If you regularly ride on the road, a jersey that features bright colors or reflective markings is a good option because it helps make you more visible to motorists.

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Expert Tip
Some cycling jerseys are sleeveless, which are generally worn in extremely hot weather.


Cycling shorts: Sponeed Men’s Padded Cycling Shorts
For maximum comfort while you’re riding your bike, it helps to pair your cycling jersey with cycling shorts for men or women that can help cushion your bottom half. This pair from Sponeed features gel padding to keep your bike’s seat more comfortable.

Cycling sunglasses: Hulislem S1 Sport Polarized Sunglasses
Riding your bike with the sun in your eyes is no fun, so a pair of cycling sunglasses is the perfect accessory for your jersey. We love these glasses from Hulisem. They’re lightweight, stylish, and available in seven colors, but they still feature coated lenses that protect against UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.

Cycling backpack: Osprey Packs Daylite Backpack
If you need to carry items on a ride that are too large for your cycling jersey’s pockets, a cycling backpack comes in handy. This option from Osprey is large enough to hold a laptop but attaches securely to your body, so you don’t have to worry about it shifting around too much — even when you’re riding at high speeds.

Cycling jerseys prices

Cycling jerseys vary in price based on their material and special features. You can find a decent jersey anywhere from $10 to $195.


These cycling jerseys are usually made from synthetic materials like polyester. They have pockets but typically only feature a partial zipper. You’ll usually pay between $10 and $40 for jerseys in this price range.


In this range, cycling jerseys are usually made from synthetic materials like polyester too, but they offer more special features. They have pockets and often have a full zipper. Some also feature a waterproof coating and UV protection. These jerseys generally range from $40 to $100.


At the high end, cycling jerseys are typically made from wool or a wool/synthetic blend. They have pockets and offer plenty of special features, such as a full zipper, waterproof coating, and UV protection. You’ll usually pay between $100 and $195 for these high-end cycling jerseys.

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Expert Tip
To be sure that a cycling jersey fits properly, try it on in your riding position. A jersey may seem comfortable until you’re crouched on your bike and it starts to feel too tight.


  • Dress in layers for cold weather. If you’re riding in cooler weather, you may want to layer your cycling jersey with other pieces to keep warm. Layering a cycling jacket over your jersey can help your core temperature stay up and keep you dry in cold, inclement weather.
  • Air out your jersey. If you can’t wash your cycling jersey right after a ride, set it out somewhere it can air dry until you get a chance to clean it. That helps limit bacteria growth.
  • Be gentle to your jersey. Always follow the garment care instructions on a cycling jersey. If yours is machine washable, it’s usually best to wash it on the delicate cycle.
  • Zip it up in the wash. Make sure to close any zippers on your jersey before putting it in the washing machine to avoid damaging your jersey or other clothes.
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Most cycling jerseys have flat seams, so you don’t have to worry about any chafing.


Q. Will the back of a cycling jersey ride up when I’m crouched on my bike seat?

A. A regular shirt would expose your lower back when you’re in a riding position, which is why cycling jerseys usually have a drop tail. That means the back of the shirt is slightly longer, so your lower back stays covered even when you’re crouched in your riding position. Some jerseys also have elastic along the hem to keep the shirt from riding up.

Q. What should I look for in a cycling jersey if I usually ride in the evening?

A. To be visible to motorists after dark, you should definitely put a light on your bike. But when it comes to your jersey, opt for a style with reflective strips so you can be seen by motorists, other cyclists, and pedestrians.

Q. Should I buy a cycling jersey if I usually mountain bike?

A. When you’re mountain biking, you’re usually not as concerned with speed as you are when you ride a road bike. It’s generally not necessary to wear a cycling jersey when mountain biking — a looser-fitting synthetic T-shirt will get the job done.

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