The best cycling jerseys 2018: the more socially acceptable alternative to a white skinsuit

Winning cycling jerseys engineered to keep you dry, comfortable and streamlined when riding in any weather

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It is the butt of many MAMIL jokes and the piece of cycling attire that is only second to the unsightly bib-short in terms of embarrassing garments to be seen in public in, but there are a number of reasons why going skin-tight is a great idea.

See, the modern cycling jersey is designed to fit the torso like a latex glove, meaning its wearer positively slices through the air like a hot knife through butter, without a baggy T-shirt flapping in the wind and causing all sorts of nipple issues.

Today's road cyclists, seemingly spurred on by the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome – and now winning Brits, Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates – also like to push themselves further and harder on two wheels, so require fuel and supplies for these epic Sunday jaunts.

In that respect, a good cycling jersey has you covered, as it should feature a number of handy and easy-to-reach pockets at the back for said accoutrements.

Buying a bike jersey: what to look for

Zips can become deeply unpleasant torturers of your Adam's apple over long rides, so look out for jerseys with 'zip garages' (yes, really) if you put in big mileage. These are fabric flaps that cover the zip when it's done up.

Most jerseys have pockets at the back, but make sure they're the right size to hold whatever you habitually carry when riding without breaking for freedom at every bump in the road, but loose enough to easily retrieve items on the move.

All of our picks will keep you mobile and flexible, as well as cool and sweat-free on warm days and protected against the most biting winds on colder ones, but if you’re looking to keep cycling into the colder months then it may be worth investing in a long-sleeved jersey or one with extra wind-proofing and thermal properties — we’ve listed the seasons to which each jersey is best suited.

Finally, we’ve described the fit so you can find one that’ll both flatter your bod and work around your workout.

While you don’t want something that’ll flap around you dramatically in the wind like Batman on a Boris Bike, buying a cycling jersey needn’t mean donning something that’ll slowly crush your internal organs.

If you’re serious about cycling, a super close-fitting race fit jersey will suit, keeping you lean and aerodynamic with no excess material to slow you down. If you take things a bit more casually, or have the habit of stopping for cake after a long ride, a more relaxed performance fit cycling jersey will do the job nicely.

Here is our pick of the best cycling jerseys available today.

 

Rapha Brevet Jersey

1. Rapha Brevet Jersey

One of the coolest brands in the world of road cycling

Specifications
Best for: Hipster adventure rides
Material: 61% polyester 39% Merino Wool
Season: Spring/summer
Fit: Performance
Features: Three rear pockets, mesh lined cargo pocket, insulating properties
Reasons to buy
+Top quality+Great fit+Premium materials
Reasons to avoid
-A bit too hipster MAMIL for some

• Buy Brevet direct from Rapha

Slightly set aside from Rapha's typical high-performance range, the Brevet line-up focuses on longer, more adventurous rides with a range of comfortable jerseys that blend fabrics with multiple advantages.

The addition of Merino wool has been chosen for its natural wicking and antibacterial properties, along with its ability to both insulate against the cold and breathe in warmer conditions.

Plus, the Brevet jersey is designed with comfort as a top priority, meaning it has no awkward seams or zips that could chafe when the mileage starts to clock up.

Better still, the jersey’s fit is tailored enough for on-the-bike advantages, but not too aggressive to make you stand out like a split sausage in a condom at café stops.

Metier Beacon Jacket

2. Metier Beacon Jacket

Visibility tech that blends seamlessly with pro jersey style

Specifications
Best for: The sensible rider
Material: Hydrophobic fabric
Season: All
Fit: Stretch performance
Features: Integrated 160 Lumen LED at front, 22 Lumen at rear, water resistant zip guards, rear pockets
Reasons to buy
+High visibility+Great style+Cool tech
Reasons to avoid
-A bit nerdy-Annoying battery pack

Metier aims to inject some slick safety technology into a functional jersey that doesn't sacrifice the style points for eyesore reflective strips or unsightly neon colours.

Instead, the excellent Beacon jacket fits and feels like something from Rapha or Castelli, but packs discreet lighting in the front and back to ensure maximum visibility and improve your safety at night and during overcast or foggy rides.

You'll pay for the privilege but it's by far the coolest and most impressively designed jacket of its kind.

 

Milltag Stormtrooper Shadow

3. Milltag Stormtrooper Shadow

Bespoke British designs for whacky riders

Specifications
Best for: Flamboyant riders
Material: Polyester
Season: Spring/Summer
Fit: Club
Features: Rear pocket, sealed stash pocket, elastane collar and sleeves, silicon gripper strip on hem
Reasons to buy
+Fun design+British made
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly whacky

• Buy Stormtrooper Shadow direct from Milltag

Milltag was born out of a desire to enjoy a ride wearing jerseys that stand out from the crowd.

As a result, the British brand offers some fetching graphics, including this Stormtrooper number that's guaranteed to have cycling chums chattering on the evening ride.

The jersey itself is standard performance fare, with the usual rear pockets and grippy collar and sleeves for improved aero, but the company prides itself on design.

It even offers a custom service, meaning you can submit your own graphics for truly bespoke cycling kit.

Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain Short Sleeve Jersey

4. Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain Short Sleeve Jersey

Windproof, weatherproof, and an all-round wonderful buy for chilly rides

Specifications
Best for: Wind and light rain protection
Material: Windshield 3L stretch windproof fabric
Season: Autumn-winter
Fit: Ergonomic (race)
Features: Rear NoRain light fabric, front Windshield 3L windproof fabric
Reasons to buy
+Cut for chilly weather+Weatherproof fabric
Reasons to avoid
-No pockets

The cold weather-friendly shape and high-tech construction of this Sportful top come together to make it a great ally against chilly winds and light rain, and our overall best jersey for cycling. The longer-than-average arms hit just above the elbow to cover without restricting, and the high neck and extra reinforcement around the shoulders and upper arms are designed to keep biting breezes at bay. 

Reviewers commented on the impressive waterproofing, saying that lighter rain simply beads and runs off, and were chuffed with its great value weatherproof performance. The only downside is the lack of pockets, so if you’re on a long ride with lots of kit, consider layering up with a lighter pocketed jersey underneath.

Santini Giro d'Italia 2017 King of the Mountain Jersey

5. Santini Giro d'Italia 2017 King of the Mountain Jersey

Forget King of the Hill, you’ll be King of the Mountain with this true blue iconic jersey

Specifications
Best for: Giro d’Italia devotees
Material: 90% polyester, 10% elastane
Season:
Fit: Performance
Features: Invisible hidden front zip, triple rear pockets, UV protection
Reasons to buy
+Iconic design+Light and seam-free comfort
Reasons to avoid
-Small fit reported; may need to size up

If you’re the member of your peloton who always beasts those inclines (or if you hate hills but love irony), look no further than this official King of the Mountain Jersey. 

The performance-fit jersey is cut to provide a close enough fit that you won’t feel the drag, but it’s light and comfortable enough — according to happy reviewers — for more casual cycles too. Users especially praised the seamless arms, good news for anyone who struggles with tight sleeves over the course of a long ride. And did we mention? It looks amazing. A classic three-pocket jersey for easy-breezy rides, with just a mite more show-off factor than most.

Evans Cycles Kalf Flux Chevron Men's Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey

6. Evans Cycles Kalf Flux Chevron Men's Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey

A jazzy jersey that’ll keep you cool

Specifications
Best for: Design
Material: Lycra
Season: Summer
Fit: Race
Features: Three open back pockets, one zipped valuables pocket
Reasons to buy
+Bold design+Zipped valuables pocket
Reasons to avoid
-Small pockets

While we don’t necessarily recommend choosing a cycling jersey based on what looks the coolest, sometimes you find one that’s both practical and kick-ass, like this Chevron short-sleeve jersey from Kalf. 

In contrasting dark teal and pale blue, it’s a standout look for sure, and its full length zip makes it great for quick cool-downs in hot weather (the perforated underarm panels help too, we’re told). As well as the standard triple back pocket, this jersey boasts a zipped valuables pocket for keeping cash and keys intact on even the bumpiest rides. This is a great-looking and high-performing pick for warm weather.
 

Morvélo Kriss Kross Nth Series Jersey

7. Morvélo Kriss Kross Nth Series Jersey

A good-looking jersey that stands up to the rigours of racing

Specifications
Best for:
Material: 100% polyester
Season: Spring/summer
Fit: Performance
Features: Three rear pockets, zipped side pocket, SPF 50
Reasons to buy
+Standout design+Excellent wicking and protection
Reasons to avoid
-Won't be to all tastes

From one statement-making piece to another — this snappy jersey from Brighton outfitters Morvélo is sure to turn heads with its brights-on-black colourway and graphic pattern. According to reviewers, it’s super lightweight, durable and comfortable, and boasts hydrophobic yarn, mesh underarm panels, and SPF 50 protection for warm-weather rides. 

A zip garage keeps that full-length zip from rubbing at the neck while you ride. With its combo of comfort, protection and stonking good looks, this might just be the best cycling jersey for summer.
 

Endura FS260-Pro SL Lite Short Sleeve Jersey

8. Endura FS260-Pro SL Lite Short Sleeve Jersey

An inexpensive yet fully-featured jersey for summer rides

Specifications
Best for: Warm-weather riding
Material: 90% polyester, 10% elastane
Season: Spring/summer
Fit: Race
Features: Full-length zip, underarm ventilation, UPF panels, triple rear pockets
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Cooling and UPF capabilities
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most exciting design

If you’re after a great summer cycling jersey, but don’t have the money to drop on the Morvélo Kriss Kross, this budget buy is the one. 

Every element works to keep you cool and dry, from the underarm ventilation to the super duper wicking construction, and its UPF 25 rear panels keep the worst of the sun off your back. Plus, it’s constructed with racing in mind, with close, minimal pockets intended to keep you aerodynamic, and internal grippers at the sleeves and hem to stop riding up.
 

dhb Aeron Sportive Long Sleeve Jersey

9. dhb Aeron Sportive Long Sleeve Jersey

A lightweight long sleeve jersey for in-between days

Specifications
Best for: Tricky weather
Material: 100% polyester
Season: Spring-autumn
Fit: Race
Features: Antibacterial treated fabric, three vertical pockets, one zippered pocket, full-length zip
Reasons to buy
+Wicking and antibacterial+Long-sleeved but light
Reasons to avoid
-Not for very cold weather

Knowing what to wear for cycling in uncertain interseasonal weather can be tricky, so if you’re someone who doesn’t particularly love the idea of layering up with arm-warmers and ending up hot and sweaty halfway around the track, this long-sleeved cycling jersey is a great alternative. 

With wicking fabric and an anti-bacterial finish, it’s designed to keep you warm in cooler conditions, but dry and comfortable when things start to heat up. Reviewers love that it’s long sleeve but lightweight, perfect for early spring or autumn rides when merino is overkill but there’s an undeniable chill in the air.