Correct apparel is an important investment for any sport – cycling included. A good cycling jersey is designed to feel comfortable, be easy to move in and be breathable- wicking fabrics will help keep you dry even when you’re going all out. It also keeps you safe by ensuring the fabric protects you from UV radiation (cyclists spent a LOT of time out in the Sun) and in case of a fall from the bike.
Also important – good cycling jerseys make you fit in with the community, make you look professional and make you feel absolutely great when you’re out riding.
WHAT KIND OF CYCLING JERSEY DO I NEED?
There are a whole bunch of factors that define a good cycling jersey – fabric, fit, features, and designs are some important factors to consider.
Ideally, a good jersey is one that fits you well, wicks sweat and keeps you ventilated when it gets hot. Aerodynamics is an important aspect when performance is a priority.
1. MATERIALS / FABRIC
Cycling jerseys, for the most part, are made of synthetic fibers that are designed to be breathable and to wick perspiration away from the body to keep you cool and comfortable. They also feature an ergonomic cut to ensure you’re comfortable when you’re positioned on your bike.
Your riding conditions should determine what kind of fabric your jersey will be made of. Look for water-resistance, wind-blocking and breathability depending on when and where you’ll be riding. If you prefer natural fibers, look out for cycling jerseys made from merino wool. Merino wool is naturally wicking and also stays warm when wet. Additionally Merino wool is also naturally odor-resistant, which is why it can also make for a great base layer – ideal for rides where you might need to wear the same jersey for a few days in a row.
A good summer-specific cycling jersey is ideal for India as its hot most of the time. These jerseys typically feature a highly breathable mesh fabric that keeps you cool and ventilated. These fabrics are typically very thin and may make you more prone to sunburns over long rides. You might want to look at a jersey that offers a good level of UV protection as an additional feature.
How should a jersey fit? Cycling jerseys also come in different fit formats depending on the kind of riding you’re aiming for.
Here are a couple of common fit options available in the market
- Race Fit – Snug-fitting, Aerodynamic, and high performance
- Regular Fit – Slightly Roomier with comfort taking precedence over performance
- Comfort-Fit – Best for the recreational rider
If you’re looking for a performance-oriented ride you’d want to look at a snug-fit. These jerseys make you more aerodynamic and help wick moisture much better than other jerseys. There is less flapping and it’s almost like you’re not wearing anything.
If you want something more forgiving then a loose-fitting jersey is good enough. On sociable rides where you’ll be stopping for coffee, you may feel less self-conscious in a looser fit.
On most cycling jerseys, the cut is optimized for your riding position on the bike. Which is why it may seem slightly awkward or uncomfortable when you are off the bike. Most cycling jerseys will be longer at the back so that your back stays covered when you’re bent over on the bike.
Mountain Biking and Road cycling jerseys come in both long sleeve and short sleeve variants. Short-sleeved jerseys are great in the summers and provide a good airy feel. These jerseys also provide a good range of movement for your shoulders and are great as the day gets hot.
Long sleeve jerseys are common with mountain bikers – they are more vulnerable to falls and scratches from their immediate surroundings and aero aerodynamics is not as important as it is with road bikers. Road bikers usually opt for full-sleeved jerseys during winters as it keeps them warmer and also provides some protection against the sun.
Interestingly, Zips are an important part of jersey design. Good quality zips not only ensure your sanity early in the morning as your suit up for your ride – but they also ensure you can easily ventilate yourself when you’re out there riding thru the day.
Most cycling jerseys have a front zip in various lengths. Full, quarter or half-length zippers are the most common. These zippers not only aid ease of wearability but also help you cool down faster as unzipping slightly in the front will increase airflow to your upper body helping you cool faster.
Rear pockets are an absolute essential when out on a ride as they carry essentials, spares, and nutrition on rides.
A well-designed jersey will have deep enough pockets that have a good elastic opening allowing you to carry more and carry it securely. Most road jerseys feature 3 pockets. You’ll be surprised as to how little you will notice the items that are in your rear pockets if it’s well designed. On the flip side, a badly designed jersey ends up being a cause of irritation on a ride as items keep moving or falling out on your ride.
6. HEMS / SEAMS
A jersey is made up of multiple panels that are joined together. Well made jerseys have neat stitching so that they don’t bother you when you wear the apparel as they won’t rub against your skin as you ride your bike as cycling apparel is quite tight. The best cycling jerseys are heat-sealed and have a seamless finish and feel like one luxurious cloth that envelopes your body.
The hem can be a cause of irritation if not designed well as cycling apparel sit close to the body. Finishing is something to keep a close eye on when you’re zeroing in on your jersey. Good jerseys have a silicone band around the inners that prevent any movement or unsettling of the jersey when cycling. the additional grippy elastic will keep the sleeves and the torso area of the jersey in one place.
Who doesn’t want to look this good on the bike? Like all forms of apparel, cycling jerseys are a fashion statement and color coordination is an important aspect.
Bike Exchange has a great read on KIT RULES. Do give it a read.
A cycling jersey can completely transform your riding experience and make riding a lot more fun and comfortable. Cycling jerseys these days come in a variety of different color, sizing and design options. There is no hard and fast rule on what the “perfect” jersey is for a rider. It’s all up to preferences. Here in India, there are a bunch of brands such as – 2Go, Castelli, Apace and Heini that have a wide range of high-quality cycling jerseys.
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING
I’m an avid mountain biker and I like riding fast and flowy singletrack. As I keep riding, I continuously work on honing my riding skills. I like to ride whenever possible, especially with friends. I also like to influence folk into getting to ride more often.
Working on bicycles has also been a keen interest of mine for quite some time.
DISCIPLINE: Mountain biking and Road biking
CURRENT BIKE: Merida One Twenty 9.600 & Specialized Allez Elite DSW
DREAM BIKE: Santa Cruz 5010