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
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.
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.
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.
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!