Choosing the right cycle jersey
After your Cycle shorts, this may be your next investment in specific cycle clothing, and there are lots of options when it come to cycle jerseys. So lets look at some of the basics to help you decide
The basics: In their more classic form, jerseys are usually shaped like a t-shirt but made from wicking synthetic materials or a blend incorporating Merino wool or technical fabrics, a cycling jersey usually has a high neck to protect you from the sun, a zip at the front (this varies in length from Quarter, to half to full) and pockets at the back to carry your nutrition or “other stuff”. The most common styles of jerseys have short sleeves as you can get most versatility when combined with other “layering” pieces of clothing like arm warmers, base layers Gilets or Jackets. Although sleeveless jerseys are also available for very hot weather and long sleeved jerseys are an option if you don’t like using arm warmers or just want one piece of kit. You can see our blog about Choosing Socks, base layers, Arms warmers and there benefits along with visiting our arm warmers collection
Every Jersey will have its own functionality with Jersey fabrics ranging from ultra-light breathable mesh, to thick windproof and water-resistant fabrics and everything in between. You will also find a vast range of differing materials and fits/cuts, but we will concentrate on the main variations. (There’s also grey areas where thick, weatherproof jerseys merge into jackets while the lightest jerseys are little more than base layers with pockets).
The vast majority of riders will find a medium-weight short-sleeve jersey will be the staple of their cycling clothing and their “go to” option on 90% of rides; choosing to combine a Gilet, Jacket, arm warmers and base layer to take the weather into account. As with most clothing, it’s best to do a little research before you buy, because there can be very subtle differences in design and fabrics that can make a big difference to comfort and durability.
One of the biggest considerations can be the fit, also known as the cut; which means the way the jersey is shaped to fit the body in differing riding styles and scenarios. (but even the naming of these changes between suppliers and retailers) Most popular descriptions are often Regular/Classic, Performance/Race, Aero.
We always recommend you read the fitting guides and styles guides on a sellers site. This can be found on the very first page and every product page at KOA Sportswear; like here
Choosing the right cycling jersey, will make your ride much more comfortable and enjoyable and it will also add to your performance if you are looking for performance gains, also pay attention to practical elements like Pockets, and visibility aids (reflective panels)
We can explore a few more of the main elements below
Materials – The basics (We also have a specific blog on Clothing Technology explained which will have a little more detail)
Let’s look at the main choices, Synthetic vs Natural
Cycling jerseys were originally made from wool and natural materials, which could be itchy, trap order sweat.
By comparison, most modern cycling jerseys are now made from a blend of synthetic Fabrics. These fabrics are engineered to wick sweat away from your body and keep you dry and comfortable. The use of synthetic fibres mean jersey can be made with some very specific adjustments. For example: Look for water-resistance, wind-blocking and breathability which can all be tailored to your riding environment.
If you prefer natural fibres, look out for cycling jerseys made from merino wool. Merino sheep have adapted to cold winters and hot summers, so their wool is naturally wicking and stays warm when wet.
Unlike some natural fibres, it is naturally odour-resistant which is why it’s perfect for base layers, particularly if you’re travelling and might want to wear the same one for several days at a time. Merino wool is soft and breathable so it’s also great for sensitive skin.
Merino cycling jerseys generally use a blend of merino and synthetic yarns to provide additional strength and durability.
What about the Fit or cut
Foremost, the cut is optimised for the position you’ll be riding in and you might find that, when you stand upright, the fabric is tight across the shoulders or short at the front. If in doubt, assume the riding position when you try on your jersey to ensure the fit is correct for when you are riding.
Before you purchase your jersey, think about the kind of riding you’ll mostly be doing. There are both practical considerations about performance and style considerations about how you feel in your jersey. For example on the typical coffee ride where you are riding more socially, you may feel less self-conscious in a looser classic or regular fit, But If you’re planning tougher training session, or sportif a more performance or race fit may be better suited. You can also take advantage of a tighter fitting aero jersey where you might gain an advantage.
We’ve covered the decision between Short sleeve and long sleeve options a few lines above.
Features and technologies
Grippers and hems: A very important consideration. The last thing you want when you out riding is for your clothes to “ride up” this can be an unwelcome distraction as well as very uncomfortable; it can also affect any performance gains you may be looking for in a performance jersey. To overcome this most cycling jerseys have silicone grippers at the hemline and on the sleeves, at KOA Sportswear we use a specific soft touch silicon gripper and double grippers for added comfort. Performance and Aero jerseys may also feature ‘laser cut’ sleeves or hem lines which are designed to sit like a second-skin for aero advantage.
Flatlock seams: Most, but not all cycling jerseys will have seams that lay flat to minimise chafing. This is especially important for the more performance aimed fits, because the seem often sits tighter to the skin. At KOA Sportswear we always use flatlock seams, but we also take special care on the placement of these seams, often adjusting designs for the most comfortable fit.
Visibility: Super important If you’ll be riding in low light conditions or may get caught in one of these situations, consider brighter colours (but this alone will not get you seen in the dark unless they have reflective properties to the colour) more importantly look for reflective details which will stand out when in the lights of a vehicle. (Venture SS Pro Aero performance Jersey)
Front zip – As discussed previously, Zips come in differing lengths; A full-length zip allows you to cool down on long, hot rides where you can completely open the jersey up. This is especially affective when combined with a technical base layer that is helping wick the sweat from your body. Look for jerseys with zip covers to prevent it irritating your neck and chin, as well as looking at the material of the zip itself, Metal zips with no protection will heat in the hot sun and then be in contact with your skin. Lastly not al zips are made equal, choose a jersey with zips manufactured by leading suppliers, again these are often tried and tested. At KOA Sportswear, we only chose Zips from the leading suppliers like YKK.
Pockets: Road jerseys will typically have three rear pocket, to be used for spares and repairs as well as nutrition. Some may have an extra zipped or secure pocket to store money and valuables, some of the more advanced jerseys may offer sweat resistant pockets or have a weather-proof pocket so you can carry your phone safely.
SPF protection: Just like any T-shirt or top, If you’re out in sunny conditions, remember that the sun’s rays can get through these layers. Some modern jersey fabrics now come with built-in SPF protection and at KOA sportswear we have jerseys that are designed to protect you in these circumstances like our Elemental SS Pro performance Jersey
So what fits and cuts do we offer at KOA Sportswear
Our PRO FIT uses the most advanced 3D body shape cutting technology, to produce one of the finest “close to skin” fits in cycling, and performance fits in running apparel. Using our highest quality technical fabrics with enhanced stretch and breathability, along with an increased number of panels and performance boosting elements; We give our users the PRO FIT they want when enjoying their sport
You can view our Pro Performance collections here
Pro Aero Performance
All the technical design elements of the PRO FIT range but with more emphasis on lightweight, smooth fabrics with added AERO elements. Our Cut is designed for those who spend more time in the AERO position on the bike.
You can view our Pro Aero Performance collections here
ELITE FIT is a close but relaxed fit; by using trickle down fabric technology and some of the design elements from our PRO FIT ranges, and then slightly altering the panel count, cut or stretch requirements, we are able to achieve a more forgiving and classic fit but with minimal negative effects on performance.
You can view our Elite Performance collections here
The CLASSIC FIT range is designed for those who are looking for a more relaxed fit, usually consisting of fewer panels and fabric combinations we can achieve a versatile fit for all riding and running styles in all conditions.
** Only Available in our Classic Collection
You can view our Classic collections here