Cycling jerseys are a key piece of gear in any serious cyclist’s arsenal. Not all of them are created equal. Some jerseys put emphasis on style while others focus on decreasing wind resistance and increasing performance. When shopping for a jersey there are a variety of things to consider.
Here's the bottom line:
This review of the best cycling jerseys of 2018 is designed to help you identify the pros and cons of several top selling products on the market. With a multitude of options available, selecting the one that’s right for you may not be an easy task. There’s no need to worry, we are here to help! Choosing the right jersey will make a great ride even more fun.
Brainstorm Gear Men’s Cookie Monster
Overall Rating - 5/5
This quirky design will get you noticed. It is the best fitting bike shirt I own. It is very breathable while still providing a snug fit. The seams are great quality, as is the rest of the jersey.
Castelli Volata Full Zip
Overall Rating - 4/5
Has a racing-snug fit. Not the cheapest or the prettiest design, but it is incredibly aerodynamic. Best for competitive cyclists.
Louis Garneau Men’s Lemmon Vent Short Sleeve
Overall Rating - 4/5
Material has SPF50 screening to block out UV rays. Has a pocket on the back and side for extra storage space compared to other jerseys.
Pearl Izumi – Ride Men’s Elite LTD
Overall Rating - 4.5/5
Mesh/polyester composition means its stretchy and breathable. Features “icefil” technology, which converts your sweat into a refrigerant. Great for riders in hot/tropical climates.
Sponeed Men’s Cycling Jersey With Pockets
Overall Rating - 4/5
Comes in more color options than other jerseys. A low budget option that has decent ventilation and quality construction.
What To Look For in a Cycling Jersey
Whether you are just starting cycling or are a seasoned professional looking for triathlon gear, a jersey is one of the first things you consider when getting ready to go ride. A good jersey will have a snug fit to help with aerodynamics, but not so much that it is restrictive.
Depending on where you are riding, you may want to consider a different type of sleeve. In very sunny areas or very cold areas, a long sleeve jersey is likely the best option. I do most of my cycling in sunny Florida, and I can't tell you how much sunscreen you need for a 6-7 hour long distance ride (hint: its a ton). Opting for a long sleeve jersey made of the correct material can help protect you from the sun and also help keep you cool. For those colder climates, specific long sleeve jersey materials can help isolate and keep you warm.
Not all jerseys are created equally, the difference in price for most of them come down to the quality of the materials. A $100 jersey is worth far more than 5 $20 ones that won't last you longer than 3-4 rides. When looking for a cycling jersey, don't skimp on quality, focus on value. You want a jersey that is a good bargain for the money.
The Pearl Izumi is a highly functional jersey that is form fitting for any rider. The side mesh allows for improved ventilation, making the jersey cool enough to handle hot summer days. The majority of the jersey is made from polyester. This makes it very lightweight and breathable all around. It also features “icefil” technology. In short, this means the fabric is given an xylitol finish so that when you sweat the fibers convert the sweat into a refrigerant.
The icefill will deteriorate over time, but the manufacturer claims it will retain up to 70% after 25 washes.
The Pearl Izumi brand is known for utilizing the same race-proven design and anatomic fit that the Pro Tour riders use. The jersey comes in a range of bright colors for easy visibility so you are sure to find one that fits your personal style, and also shows the Pearl Izumi graphics.
Tightly fitted for racing performance, and bright colors for safety, makes it a great choice for hardcore rides.
Pearl Izumi - Ride Men's Elite LTD Review
Pros: Mesh sides, and “icefil” polyester fabric enhances ventilation and prevent overheating in hot weather. They have a variety of colors to choose from including many high visibility options.
Cons: The mesh tends to pucker and will wear out after several rides. It also runs a bit a small so make sure to read the sizing chart if considering this jersey.
Made of airfit and mesh, this jersey comes with a full length zipper for maximum aerodynamic support. This definitely a summer’s jersey as the UPF50 screening will help block out UV rays and the breathable fabrics allow you to stay cool and dry for the entire ride.
The airfit fabric’s internal cells draw away moisture to keep you cool while increasing the amount of airflow over your skin. This jersey comes with three large rear pockets and an extra pocket to the right which is angled for easy access while riding.
Made popular for its performance features, excellent fit and reasonable price, the Louis Garneau Men’s Lemmon Vent Short Sleeve Jersey is a great selection for beginner and hardcore cyclists alike.
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Louis Garneau Lemmon Jersey Review
Pros: The AirFit fabric prevents your skin from sticking and helps wick away sweat. It comes with several pockets that can be used for phones, snacks, keys, and just about any small item. It is form fitting but very flexible.
Cons: It is not a race-fit jersey. So if you are looking for improved speed and performance, you may want to consider another option.
The Sponeed jersey is suitable for all kinds of riding and all levels of riders. It will keep you cool and comfortable on all kinds of bike trips whether you race, are a road warrior, or zigzagging down the mountain trails.
It is made of a polyester material with sublimation print designed not to wear or fade through heavy use. Additionally, the breathable PN mesh fabric will keep you cool and dry regardless of the weather outside.
Another key feature are the pockets which will allow you to safely store small personal belongings during your ride. The sizing is Asian, not American, so when choosing the size remember to go up by one. For example, if normally you wear a large, you will want to order an XL.
This jersey will fulfill the needs of most cyclists. At under $30, it’s a great value as it does not compromise on quality. The only real kicker to this jersey is its somewhat awkward left-handed zipper. It is not a deal breaker but definitely something to take into consideration.
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Sponeed Men's Cycling Jersey Review
Pros: It comes in a variety of colors and the fabric is high quality. It is within a very reasonable price range and does not compromise on quality.
Cons: Has a left-handed zipper which right-handed people may find awkward.
The Castelli Volata combined the aerodynamics and cut of a form fitting bicycle jersey without the look. Its low cut neckline and general shape are the same as you will find on the Castelli Pro Tour riders, so they fit snugly, offer a full range of motion in the seated pedal position, and maximize speed.
It is racing snug so if you don’t want the extra tight, form fit you may want to consider going up by a size. The body material is made out of Velocity Dry fabric, which can flick away moisture and maximize airflow to keep you cool and comfortable. Likewise, the mesh fabric on the shoulders, arm bands, and side panels stretch tightly to your body for minimal air resistance while also promoting maximum airflow, comfort, and an unlimited range of motion.
If you want a great looking jersey that will let you maximize your racing abilities and stay cool, this is a good choice for the money.
Castelli Volata Full Zip Jersey Review
Pros: This jersey comes in a variety of colors and is remarkably cool. It has a race-fit design so those who are looking to improve their performance will be satisfied with its ability to decrease wind resistance.
Cons: Due to the amount of ventilation, it will not work very well in cold winter weather. The tight fit that is great for those looking to improve performance may hinder riders who want a more relaxed, flexible fit.
Brainstorm Gear Men's Cookie Monster
Brainstorm Cookie Monster Jersey Review
Pros: Well, if you love cookies and cycling, it's basically perfect. If you actually care about performance, it’s still a great choice. It has a snug but not constricting fit and allows for plenty of airflow. You also get a discount! I made friends with the owner of brainstorm gear (no they aren't paying me to write about this awesome jersey), and if you use the coupon OBP10 you get $10 off any jersey purchase.
Cons: If you hate cookies, you will hate this jersey.
Choosing The Best Cycling Jersey
When choosing the right racing jersey for your ride, the fit, the style, and the sizes are all going to be important.
The tighter the fit, the better the air resistance. However, if you care more about an all-purpose road ride or simply don’t like it to be “racing snug” then going up one size is usually a good idea.
The fabric should be breathable and resistant to wear and fading, but also tight enough so you don’t have it flapping along behind you. Finally, you want a jersey that you can enjoy putting on each day that matches your look, your style, and your ride.