Good cycling jerseys vary in price from around $40 to around $140, and even more. You may be wondering: “Why would I spend that kind of money, when I already have plenty of perfectly good shirts?” Yes, you could cycle in a ten-dollar cotton 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! The truth is that cycling jerseys have technical features that will make you more comfortable while you ride your bike. And if you are into performance cycling, a great jersey may even help you to ride faster and longer.
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. Plus, if a breeze gets up (because of weather or because of your own speed), your sweat will cool on your skin, and then you will get cold. Your shirt will start to feel heavy and may start to chafe. You may even get a rash. All of this is just not going to help you to cycle well. And it certainly is not going to make for a comfortable bike ride!
To choose a great cycling jersey, see our post on 7 of the Best Cycling Jerseys
What a Great Cycling Jersey Does
Good cycling jerseys are made from breathable fabric that will help to keep you comfortable as you ride. A good cycling jersey will wick sweat away from your skin to the outer side of the fabric, where it can evaporate without impacting your core temperature. A cycling jersey made from a really good 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 begins to warm up.
Why Are Some Cycling Jerseys So Expensive?
Once you start looking for a cycling jersey, you will quickly realize that they are not particularly cheap, and also that there is a vast range of prices. Why?
First, cycling jerseys tend not to be cheap because breathable fabrics are the result of advanced fabric design technologies, which helps to explain why cycling jerseys cost more than cotton tee shirts.
Second, price have a wide range because some cycling jerseys are more technologically advanced that others. Higher priced jersey usually are made from 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 Also Push Up the Price of Great Cycling Jerseys
Better features will also push up the price of cycling jerseys. 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, and they can also push up the price. A good compromise is to look for a cycling jersey with a half-length zipper, such as the very affordable Pearl iZUMi Select Quest and the equally affordable, relaxed fit Pearl Izumi Ride Select Tour.
Cycling jerseys also have a lot more design features than tee shirts, all designed to make your bike riding more comfortable and organized. For example, the classic design with three rear pockets is the most common for cycling jerseys, and is certainly handy – but some have even more features, such as a small zipped pocket for valuables, or a side pocket to keep something handy, such as your phone.
Many Cycling Jerseys Offer 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.
Obviously, getting sun protection is a great benefit in a cycling jersey, and is in itself a good reason to get a cycling jersey. The super affordable Louis Garneau Lemmon Vent has an ultraviolet protection factor of 50+! And the top-rated but still very affordable Pearl Izumi Select Quest Cycling Jersey has an ultraviolet protection factor of 40+!
You Can Get a Cycling Jersey Fit that Matches Your Cycling Style
Unlike tee shirts, cycling jerseys come in a range of styles, appropriate for different kinds of bike riding.
For example, if you are racing, you need a tight-fitting cycling 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. A great example of this kind of jersey is the Castelli Aero Race 5.1 Cycling Jersey, which is a serious garment for competitive cyclists, being very high-tech and aerodynamic, with excellent sweat wicking abilities and excellent breathability.
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. For this, you cannot go wrong with a Pearl Izumi Ride Select Tour cycling jersey, which features Select Transfer fabric for maximum breathability in a Relaxed Fit (two of my favorite words when it comes to cycling gear!)
How to Care for Your Cycling Jersey
Once you have spent some money on a decent cycling jersey, taking good care of it will ensure it lasts longer (and smells sweeter!) If you don’t take good care of it, 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. Generally speaking, you will need to avoid high temperatures.
Also, avoid using a tumble drier. Allow your cycling jersey to dry naturally. Cycling clothing dries quickly!
We hope this post is helpful, and that you will find a few great cycling jerseys to make your bike rides more comfortable. You can read more in our post about 7 of the Best Cycling Jerseys – or just take a short cut by reading our summary in the table below!
|Zipper||Breathability and Sweat Wicking||Pockets||Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)||Key Features|
|Half-length front zipper||Very good|
Best Price on Amazon Right Now: $40.50
|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|
Best Price on Amazon Right Now: $160.42
|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|
Best Price on Amazon Right Now: $0.00
|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|
Best Price on Amazon Right Now: $143.99
|3 rear pockets, held close to the body||Not stated||Aero Race Fit. Ideal for competitive cyclists|
|Full length front zipper||Very good|
Best Price on Amazon Right Now: $127.90
|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|
Best Price on Amazon Right Now: $39.50
|3 rear pockets||Not stated||Relaxed Fit. Ideal for commuting, and for stopping at the pub on the way home|
Best Price on Amazon Right Now: $74.99
|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|