This post has a chart comparing 7 of the best cycling jerseys, plus reviews to help you choose the best cycling jersey for your needs. It also explains how cycling jerseys keep you cool and dry while cycling. Cycling jerseys are technical garments that use lightweight, sweat-wicking fabrics to keep you cool, dry, and comfortable while cycling, so you can cycle further and faster. If there are any technical details in the reviews that you are not completely sure about – just scroll down to read all about the technical features required in great cycling jerseys.
Chart Comparing 7 of the Best Cycling Jerseys
|Zip||Breathability and Sweat Wicking||Pockets||Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)||Notes|
|Half-length front zipper||Very good||3 rear pockets||40+||Semi Form Fitting. Excellent value for money; great for those buying their first technical cycling jersey|
|Full length front zipper||Excellent Plus||3 rear pockets||Not stated||Race Fit, yet comfortable. Ideal for cooler weather cycling and in the rain, due to outstanding wind stopping, breathability and rain resistance. People rave about this jersey|
|Full length front zipper||Excellent||3 rear pockets, plus an extra pocket on side||50+||Pro Fit. Ideal for those who want to keep cool while cycling very athletically|
|Full length front zipper||Excellent||3 rear pockets, held close to the body||Not stated||Aero Race Fit. Ideal for competitive cyclists|
|Full length front zipper||Very good||3 rear pockets||Not stated||Form Fitting. Ideal for spring and fall cycling, as it resists wind and light rain|
|Half-length zipper||Very good||3 rear pockets||Not stated||Relaxed Fit. Ideal for commuting, and for stopping at the pub on the way home|
|Full-length zipper||Excellent||3 rear pockets with reflective tabs||Not stated||Sleeveless with side mesh panels. Ideal for those who want to be super athletic in warm to hot conditions|
The Pearl Izumi Select Quest Cycling Jersey is one of the cheapest garments you can buy that performs like a technical cycling jersey, being high-tech, with great sweat wicking abilities and breathability. It is described as semi-form-fitting, which in reality translates into lightweight and comfortable yet sporty. I don’t like the sausage wrapped in cellophane look, so this works well for me.
This cycling jersey has a UPF factor of 40+, to protect your skin from the sun during long rides. In front it has a half-length zipper. It includes the standard three back pockets to carry your keys, snacks, and phone. The colors are good without being what I would call “over the top.” Personally, being an average cyclist, I never want to wear a jersey that makes it look as if I am pretending I just did the Tour de France last week (not that anyone would believe me!) But I do like bright colors, and the screaming yellow definitely achieves that. Plus, it has some reflective elements.
The Pearl Izumi Select Quest Cycling Jersey checks all the bases for what most people are looking for in a cycling jersey, which is why it is pretty much the best selling cycling jersey of all time. If you are looking for your first technical cycling jersey, you cannot really go wrong with this one. It would also make a great staple in almost any experienced cyclist’s wardrobe. Note: if you have a long torso, order up a size.
No. 2: Castelli Gabba 2 Cycling Jersey
The Castelli Gabba 2 Cycling Jersey has an interesting history. Basically, it is designed for the shoulder seasons, with enhanced wind-stopping abilities. But wait – there’s more! It all started when pro cyclist Gabriel (Gabba) Rasch designed a jersey that could be paired with Castelli’s Nanoflex Arm Warmers. Castelli called it Gabba, and it was a great success, and so now we have the new, improved, Gabba 2.
This is a designed-for-simplicity garment made entirely of Windstopper X-Lite fabric, except for the stretchy Nano Flex inserts in the underarms. It rates exceptionally high for wind-proofness and breathability, and is water repellant as well. People tend to rave about this cycling jersey, finding it to be comfortable despite the race fit, and amazingly good at protecting you from wind and rain. Some cyclists have found they can manage shoulder season cycling without a jacket, which of course makes your life simpler and your ride faster!
No. 3: Louis Garneau Lemmon Vent Cycling Jersey
More affordable than many of the other technical warm weather cycling jerseys, the Louis Garneau Lemmon Vent cycling jersey offers superior keep-cool technology. Garneau describes the cut as Pro Fit, which means it is designed to adapt to the positions and movements of cycling, while not bunching or flapping – no matter what cycling position you choose.
This cycling jersey is known for its cooling abilities, thanks to Garneau’s Airfit polyester fabric and well-placed mesh panels. The Airfit fabric has woven cells on the inner face of the fabric, to improve airflow over your skin and provide channels to wick moisture away from your skin. Airfit is designed to not stick to your skin.
If you like to be super visible, the fluorescent orange color is super bright and noticeable. A UP factor of 50 gives great protection from the sun during long rides. In front it has a full-length zip. The Louis Garneau Lemmon Vent cycling jersey has the standard three rear pockets, plus an extra, angled pocket on the right for easy access. If you plan on speedy, athletic cycling without overheating, then this cycling jersey is for you.
No. 4: Castelli Aero Race 5.1 Cycling Jersey
The Castelli Aero Race 5.1 Cycling Jersey is a serious garment for competitive cyclists, being very high-tech and aerodynamic, with excellent sweat wicking abilities and excellent breathability. It is described as a aero race fit, for which read tightly-form-fitting, so this jersey is perfect if you are a serious racer looking to shave off wind drag and improve your speed. Castelli has gone for what they call a virtually-second-skin fit. They don’t call it Aero Race for nothing. Castelli’s Aero Race fabric has long been admired for being one of the fastest cycling fabrics, and this year it has been improved further.
The front of the jersey is made of Castelli’s Velocity fabric, which is a featherweight textile made from closely woven fibers. The idea is to propel air over your shoulders and back. On the back, extremely breathable 3D mesh fabric wicks moisture away from your skin to evaporate.
In front, the Castelli Aero Race 5.1 Cycling Jersey has a full-length zipper. This cycling jersey has the standard three rear back pockets to carry your keys and racing fuel – but the pockets are held close to your body by a compressive mesh band. Plus, it comes in bright colors with some reflective elements. This jersey resoundingly checks all the bases for what competitive cyclists want in a cycling jersey. If you plan on achieving your best times ever this year, then this cycling jersey is for you.
The Castelli Perfetto Light cycling jersey is ideal for spring or fall cycling, as it combines windstopping abilities in the front with water resistance on the back. Windstopper 150 panels on the front, shoulders, and sleeves will protect you from the wind, while water-resistant Nano Light panels on the back will protect you from light rain. Like our no. 2 pick, the Castelli Gabba 2, this garmet aims to be a combo cycling jersey/jacket, giving you some protection while allowing you to generate your own heat without getting soaked in your own sweat (thanks to good breathability).
Castelli describes the cut as form fitting. The jersey has some reflective elements and comes in bright colors for high visibility, such as the bright red in the picture. In front it has a full-length zipper. It has the standard three back pockets.
If you plan on cycling through the shoulder seasons without the added bulk of a windshell or rain jacket, then the Castelli Perfetto Light cycling jersey could be the best choice for you.
No. 6: Pearl Izumi Ride Select Tour Cycling Jersey
The Pearl Izumi Ride Select Tour cycling jersey features Select transfer fabric for maximum breathability. Pearl Izumi describes the cut as Relaxed Fit (two of my favourite words in cycling gear).
You can buy this cycling jersey in bright yellow with reflective elements if you value high visibility, or in more subdued colors if you don’t. In front it has a 13 inch half-length zip. It has the standard three back pockets.
If you are an average cyclist looking for a great all-round cycling jersey with a relaxed fit (so you can stop at the pub without feeling too out of place), then the Pearl Izumi Ride Select Tour cycling jersey would be a good choice for you.
No. 7: Castelli Entrata Sleeveless Cycling Jersey
Want to channel Bruce Willis on your bike (without all the killing)? Then the Castelli Entrata Sleeveless cycling jersey is for you! It’s a great jersey to be super athletic in, thanks to being sleeveless. Castelli has introduced new stretch mesh arm bands with raw-cut edges, which stay in place without being irritating. Plus, the full-length zip means you can cool right down if your sustained uber athleticism overheats you (although with the mesh side panels, you are unlikely to need to unzip).
Technical Features of Great Cycling Jerseys
Why Do You Need a Cycling Jersey?
Yes, you could cycle in a five-dollar tee shirt. In fact, I did that all the time as a kid. But then, I was mainly just riding around the block, or down to the beach. Plus, my standards were incredibly low back then! You see, the problem with cotton is that it does not deal well with sweat. Cotton hangs onto sweat like white on rice, so that if you are doing a long bike ride, you will soon be soaking in your own sweat. Even if that does not bother you – if a breeze gets up (because of weather or because of your own speed) – your sweat will get cold, and then you will get cold. Your shirt will get heavy and may start to chafe. All of this is just not going to help you to cycle well.
What a Great Cycling Jersey Does
A great cycling jersey will wick sweat away from your skin to the outer side of the fabric, where it can evaporate. A cycling jersey made from a breathable fabric will keep you dry and cool no matter how long you ride, or how hot the weather is. This means that a good cycling jersey is an essential part of any cyclist’s wardrobe once the weather warms up.
Why Are Some Cycling Jerseys So Expensive?
Once you start looking for a cycling jersey, you will quickly realize there is a vast range of prices. Why? Well, the higher prices are usually for more technologically advanced fabrics that will wick sweat better and keep you cool and dry better.
Some cycling jersey are Lycra; other cycling jerseys are made from woven synthetics for a less shiny look. There are even some cycling jersey made from very lightweight wool blends.
Better features will also push up the price. For example, you can expect to pay more for better fit, styling, and features. Full-length zips work really well for cooling, but some cyclists don’t like them. A good compromise is to look for a cycling jersey with a half-length zipper, such as our no. 1 and no. 6 choices, the Pearl iZUMi Select Quest and Pearl Izumi Ride Select Tour, respectively.
The classic design with three rear pockets is the most common for cycling jerseys, but some also have a small zipped pocket for valuables, or a side pocket to keep something handy, such as your phone.
Protection from UV Rays
It’s great to get a tan while cycling, but you do not want to be laying the groundwork for future skin cancer as you optimize your cardiac health on your bike. So really, if you plan to spend hours in the saddle, you should be looking for a cycling jersey that offers you some protection from the sun. For the longest time cycling jersey have been so focused on keeping you cool that UV protection has been completely neglected. This was a problem, seeing as we basically offer our backs up to the sun when we cycle. Now, however, a lot of manufacturers take this into account by making clothing that is designed to protect you from the sun.
Get a Cycling Jersey Fit that Matches Your Cycling Style
If you are racing, you need a tight-fitting jersey that does not flap in the wind. Most of the wind drag when you are cycling is caused by your body (which is a whole lot larger and heavier than your bike), so keeping your body as aerodynamic as possible makes a lot of sense.
On the other hand, if you are touring, and stopping off for picnic lunches along the road, you can no doubt live with a more relaxed fit. Similarly if you want a cycling jersey for commuter cycling that won’t make you feel embarrassed if you suddenly decide to meet your partner for a drink or dinner on the way home – relaxed would be better.
How to Care for Your Cycling Jersey
Sweat will settle into the fabric of your jersey, creating bacteria, which creates a bad smell. So it is best to wash your jersey after every ride. However, be careful to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. To prevent the jersey from deteriorating rapidly, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s advice on laundry temperature and techniques.
Also, avoid using a tumble drier. Allow your cycling jersey to dry naturally. Cycling clothing dries quickly!
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