The classic short-sleeved cycling jersey is the staple item of any good cycling wardrobe 
— Rebecca Charlton tests 15 of the finest to see which you should be spending your money on

Looking good on the bike has a huge effect on how you feel, so we think a good jersey design and cut is really important. Flattering colours, contours and panelling can give you confidence in your Lycra-clad appearance.

Obviously, fit and comfort is paramount; in that respect, the properties of the material come into play. You don’t want seams that dig in, and the fabric should wick away sweat rather than leave you soaking wet.

We don’t like to think about crashing, but a layer of material that fits well over a base layer could, in a low-speed tumble, help minimise damage to your skin. The good news is that there are a plethora of options available, and you are spoilt for choice. From the high end of the market right down to budget offerings, there are some great products promising top value for money. Whatever your personal budget, there’s plenty of choice.

What to look for

Pockets
We always advise you to take a mobile phone out on your rides for emergencies, but you don’t want to be constantly worried that it may skip out of your rear pocket. Shallow pockets or ones that are too loose are no good for mini-pumps, while a zipped compartment and deeper pockets give 
peace of mind for valuables.

Fit
The fit of a jersey is important in terms of comfort and appearance. If it’s cutting into your waist with an overly tight silicone gripper, you may look like you have a spare tyre even if you don’t! A good cut can flatter and make you feel like you own the road.

Material
We’ve seen one or two of the Tour de France riders with nasty sunburn due to mesh jerseys and a lack of sun cream. Have a think about the conditions in which you’ll be cycling and consider the thickness of material you require. A wicking material is key to ensuring you don’t end up soaked in sweat for the whole ride.

Giordana-Donna-FRC

Giordana Donna FRC Jersey

The form-fitting material felt silky soft against the skin, wicked well and was finished off with a full zip, which…

£99.99
Score 9

Gear-Club-Black-Elegance

Gear Club Black Elegance Jersey

At the start of this test, we were not familiar with the Gear Club brand — but we weren’t disappointed…

£30.00
Score 8

Pearl-Izumi-PRO-Ltd-speed

Pearl Izumi PRO Ltd Speed Jersey

It’s called a Speed jersey but we were quite happy pottering along at 15mph on our test. This offering from…

£90.00
Score 8

Cube-Teamline

Cube Teamline Jersey

Lovers of Cube bikes can stay ‘on-brand’ with the Teamline jersey, and even if you don’t ride a Cube, this…

£59.99
Score 8

Castelli-Volata-FZ

Castelli Volata FZ Jersey

Like the women’s Castelli jersey, this fits like a glove, and offers ultimate comfort. It’s pricier than some of the…

£90.00
Score 10

Altura-Raceline

Altura Raceline Jersey

While Altura is synonymous with reasonably priced cycling essentials, this Raceline jersey comes at the higher end of the range.…

£64.99
Score 8

Dare-2b-AEP-Circuit

Dare 2b AEP Circuit Jersey

Endorsed by 2006 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro, this design offers great looks and a high-performance cut with no…

£70.00
Score 8

Madison-Road-Race

Madison Road Race Jersey

This new in-house brand from cycling giant Madison offers some great looking designs with unique dogtooth print detailing on the…

£59.99
Score 7

Btwin-aero-ss-900

B’Twin Aerofit SS 900 Jersey

This simple design oozes class thanks to its physique-hugging aero fit, breathable underarms and cuffs and hems that sit against…

£49.99
Score 10

Primal-Accento-Helix

Primal Accento Helix Jersey

The main body of the Helix jersey is constructed with SLR Ion fabric, which is lightweight and breathable. This offers…

£120.00
Score 8

Castelli-Fortuna

Castelli Fortuna Jersey

This breathable mesh jersey from Castelli’s women’s range was tested in the UK as well as in the sweltering temperatures…

£55.00
Score 10

Assos-SS.Corporate_S7

Assos SS.CORPORATE_S7 Jersey

From a ‘fit’ point of view, it is situated between SS.Uno and SS.Mille — not too snug and not too…

£129.99
Score 9

Assos-SS.Lady

Assos SS.Lady Jersey

This classic Assos design offers a lovely female specific fit, with subtle branding and a form-fitting cut with a higher…

£110.99
Score 9

Verdict

We’ve got a wide spread of prices here, with something for everyone. We can’t fault the offering from B’Twin — it looks as stylish as many garments costing twice the price. We’ve picked out the most technical product from the Decathlon own-brand, but there are plenty available in the range at even lower prices, including a great women’s range.

We had to take everything into consideration here, and while the Castelli and Assos designs were of superb quality, we felt that the B’Twin went above and beyond for under 50 quid!

For women, the Castelli couldn’t be beaten; it’s a flattering, comfy, svelte design with top performance. It didn’t have a rear zip pocket but its non-zipped pockets were snug and secure.

If we’d had to guess the price, we’d have guessed it to be much higher. The Giordana women’s jersey deserves a mention too, offering plenty of impressive features. There was nothing shabby on this test!

  • johnstrac

    Seriously ! The prices of some of these are stupidly extortionate.