A road cycling jersey is a key go-to cycling piece that you will wear time and time again. A great mid or base layer, cycling jerseys are designed to feel comfortable, be easy to move in and breathable, and wicking fabrics will help to keep you dry from the inside out. Here are the key features you need to consider before chosing your next jersey...
Cycling jerseys are predominantly made from synthetic fabrics which are designed to be breathable and to wick perspiration away from the body to keep you cool and comfortable. For the ultimate in jersey comfort and performance look for merino wool jerseys, which are naturally soft, breathable, static resistant and odour resistant. Sure, you can ride in a cotton t-shirt if you want to, but cotton will hold onto moisture and leave you feeling soggy and chilly throughout your ride.
If you are riding in hot weather it’s worth looking for a mesh type material for extra ventilation, but be careful to protect yourself from the sun as these fabrics are very thin and you may get sunburned if you don’t apply some sunscreen. Alternatively look for a jersey with UV protection. And if you’re making a stop at the coffee shop or heading into the office, you might want to choose a fabric with antibacterial qualities which will help you to stay smelling fresh too.
The fit of a cycling jersey is very much a personal preference but if speed is important to you, a tight fit will assist your aerodynamic performance on the bike. Alternatively, if you want something a little more forgiving, there are more relaxed fits available. Just remember that a tighter fit will also help the fabric to draw moisture away from the skin more effectively, so if you do go for a more relaxed fit, you might want to wear a thin, breathable vest underneath.
Cycling jerseys come with either short or long sleeves. A short sleeve jersey is fantastic in the summer and can also be used as a base or mid layer in the winter. Long sleeve jerseys have their place for cold winter rides, or you can combine a short sleeve jersey with arm warmers if the weather is changeable. You might also find that a raglan style sleeve gives you a better fit and more movement around the arms.
Most cycling jerseys will have a front zip, either full, three quarter, half or quarter length. This not only helps you to put it on but you can use it for extra ventilation on gruelling climbs. It’s worth looking out for a zip garage to prevent chin chafe.
Most cycling jerseys have a longer tail to ensure it covers your back when you're crouched low in the saddle, so when you try it on try to mimic your normal riding position to check the fit. You will also notice that they are a bit shorter at the front which prevents any bunching up when you’re leaning forward too.
Rear pockets on a cycling jersey are really handy. Whether you choose two, three or four pockets, you can stuff them full of ride snacks, tools and spare clothing for easy access. With well-designed pockets with good elastic, you’ll be surprised by how little you will notice these items once packed away.