Earlier this month I posted about my favourite women’s cycling shorts and everything to consider when purchasing cycling shorts. Since then lots of you have been asking about my favourite jerseys, so it only seems fitting I now share these for those who are already or thinking of embracing the full Lycra lifestyle.
When I first started cycling I wasn’t fond of jerseys (or shorts) at all. I felt self conscious, concerned that they would cling to my tummy and that the fit would be unforgiving, highlighting every lump or bump. If you experience these feelings too, then I want to tell you that it’s completely normal and there is a great deal of choice out there and you can/will find something that suits you and makes you feel every inch the badass female cyclist you are (although trust me you don’t need a piece of material to tell you this!)
Cycling jerseys are technical garments preferred by many cyclists due to their lightweight and cooling properties, as well as being a comfortable fit when leaning forward on the bike due to their specialised cut (usually shorter at the front with a longer tail on the back). I’m also a huge fan of the ability to store essentials like snacks or a rain jacket down my back which eliminates the need to wear a bag and means you can easily access your essentials.
You do not need to wear a jersey to be a cyclist. Some prefer not to and opt for a gym top instead, it’s your personal choice. For me, as much as the thought of full Lycra scared me at first, a T-shirt flapping as you cycle into the wind isn’t pleasant and storing my snacks within easy reach is a winner.
When purchasing your first jersey, the sizing can be a little confusing. When I first began to dabble in Lycra I bought a few jerseys and sent many back. It was a lot of trial and error with fit (you usually need to size up so please don’t feel dispondent if you’re wearing larger than your usual size- remember size is just a number) and then on top of this was the world of race fit vs club fit.
Race fit Vs club fit cycling jerseys
Race fit are just that, they’re designed with serious racing in mind (although that isn’t to say you can’t wear one for leisurely cycling, again it’s all personal preference). Race fit jerseys have a more ergonomic fit, which basically means they’re tighter in the body whilst not restricting movement and more aerodynamic.
Club fit jerseys are a more relaxed fit (you may also see them referred to as this) and ideal for everyday cycling. I prefer this fit as I find them longer in length which at 5ft11 is ideal for me.
Cycle Jersey Sizing and Features
When purchasing a jersey check the style, and read the size guide online. The fit can vary between styles (race fit vs club) and brands. As I rule of thumb I say always size up (for example I’m a size 10, or a S/M and I always purchase size 12 or M/L jerseys). When it comes to trying a jersey on, try it with your favourite sports bra and with your cycling shorts. Jerseys are often made to grip to to your cycle shorts slightly so this may alter the feel of the jersey. I also see how a jersey fits and feels when I put my phone, a jacket or a snack in the back pocket and of course try hunching forward as you would on the bike and test how it feels reaching around to the back pockets.
If you’re ordering online and able to do so I would recommend purchasing two sizes to try and see which fits best, if not it is time to get the measuring tape out! The more jerseys and sizes you try the more you’ll become familiar with your preferred styles and features.
You can also invest in a variety of fabrics including breathable fabrics, thermals and ones offering UV protection (which is handy when your back is always in the sun on the bike). The price often, but not always, reflects the technicality of the fabric- which sadly can often make jerseys quite pricey, for my top money saving tips see my previous blog here.
Whilst we often talk about Lycra when thinking of cycling kit (Lycra is a brand specific name for spandex), most cycling jerseys are made from synthetic fibres, including polyester or nylon. More natural fibres can include merino wool. The fabric gives a jersey an advantage over a cotton t-shirt as cotton can absorb moisture and make you feel cold and damp, whereas a jersey has the ability to wick sweat away. Jerseys made from Synthetic fibres can get quite smelly as you sweat and require more washing than merino wool. When washing you can use wash bags to prevent microfibre release.
Additionally, Jerseys don’t just come in short sleeves, you can also get sleeveless, long sleeves and thermal fabrics for winter. Typically short sleeves for summer, long sleeves for winter but you can also get lightweight long sleeves for sun protection in summer. If you’re also not quite sure of the weather, arm warmers can come in really handy for early morning cycling then stuffed in your jersey pocket when you’ve warmed up.
My Favourite Women’s Cycling Jerseys
So once you feel ready to purchase a new cycling jersey here are some of my favourite jerseys and brands to help you make your decision:
Gore Cycling Wear
If you’ve followed me on Instagram for a while the chances are you’ve seen some of my collection of bright and beautiful Gore cycling jerseys.
I’m a huge fan of Gore bike wear and have been for a number of years now, I specifically love their ladies C3 range. These typically feature three back pockets. The zip quality is good and the length in the torso features the longer back typical of many jerseys but not super short and unflattering at the front. The fabrics are predominantly polyester, feel very soft against your skin and keep you warm but dry. I also like that the sleeves aren’t super long. They’re extremely comfortable and I’ve worn Gore for all my 100mile cycles.
I wear a size 38/12 in Gore and find them the closest to true sizing compared to other cycling jerseys. As well as the Gore website you can pick these up on Wiggle, chain reaction cycles and other retailers. For a bargain check Blacks/Millets as they occasionally stock these.
My boyfriend is also a huge fan of the Gore men’s cycling jerseys, he was the one who introduced me to this brand- so I can confirm the Men’s are comfy and good quality too!
Liv Race Day Short Sleeve Jersey
This is another of my favourites, mainly because it matches my favourite cycling shorts. The TransTextura fabric keeps you cool, even on the warmest of days and the jersey feels good quality. The fit is really flattering the torso also feels quite long, and is complimentary to a woman’s frame- which you can expect from Liv given it is a women’s brand designed by women for women. I love it when paired with my favourite shorts, the whole outfit makes me feel really good and I think that’s really important. The branding is very in your face, so this might not be to everyone’s taste.
This is a race fit so I size up to a L as I wanted it to feel more like a relaxed fit (and the sizing makes it feel so comfy) but if you’re looking for something tighter fit stick to your usual size. You can purchase directly from the Liv Website here.
Pearl Izumi Sleeveless Jersey
I’m a huge fan of Pearl Izumi, I think they’re excellent value for money and good quality. You can also find a lot of good bargains on their products online and at cycling expos. I picked this sleeveless jersey up at The London Triathlon Show for just £10. I hadn’t previously considered a sleeveless as I’m always a little apprehensive about coverage in case I come off, but I really love this one. I find sleeveless helps keep me cool in summer plus helps prevent a strong cycling tan on my arms! I can’t find this exact jersey online but you can purchase a similar(ish) cut here. I wear a size L.
I also want to highlight Pearl Izumi’s more sustainable range made from recycled polyester. Take a look here, based on my experience with their products I think you’ll be pleased with the fit and quality. The brand aims to make 90% of its products from sustainable content from 2022, which I hope is matched by social commitments (currently not displayed on their webpage).
Zone3 cool-tech mesh cycling Jersey
Another jersey that I love to wear as part of a set. The Zone3 women’s cool-tech jersey features a really enhanced elastic gripper around the back of the jersey meaning it really grips to your shorts and doesn’t move or flap in the wind. If you prefer your sleeves slightly longer and more tapered then this will be a jersey you like. The fabric feels really soft and I love the design (someone once told me it looks like a crazy watermelon) it’s very in your face and bold which I think is fab for the roads. I also like that the print is split with the bold detailing around the shoulders and bust and black fabric around my tummy as I feel this helps me feel less self conscious as it is drawing attention away from my tummy. In an ideal world I would love for you all to feel confident and happy in your cycling kit, but for me this print is very forgiving and I find it flattering.
I wear a size L and like that fit, I wasn’t sure about the long arms at first but they’ve definitely grown on me. You can also get the matching shorts and arm warmers. I’m a Zone3 swim ambassador (but I love their cycling products too) you can get 15% off their full priced items online using a codevia this link (affiliate AD) and this specific jersey is also in the sale- purchase here.
Primal Long Sleeve Heavyweight Jersey
This is a firm favourite of mine, especially for riding in spring or changeable weather. I originally purchased it as I was drawn to the bold colour. Primal are known for their in your face designs and I love them! They’re a bit different and easily spotted on the road. The long sleeve heavyweight jerseys are just that- not quite a thermal but a bit warmer than a regular jersey. The jersey has three rear pockets but no zip pocket. The wrist cuffs are elastic so you can scrunch them up a little when it gets warmer. I’ve had this for 18 months now and I’ve found it wears well and still looks brand new even with a lot of use.
I bought a L and find the fit very relaxed. It is perhaps a tad loose but I like that as it gives you the option to pop a thermal base layer underneath and make this more of a winter jersey should you wish. I can’t find this specific jersey online anymore but you can shop a similar product here.
Decathlon Triban and Van Rysel ranges
Decathlon is another affordable range with some great quality pieces. My very first jersey and shorts set was from decathlon and they’re still going strong. definitely size up, I was over ambitious and bought my clothing size which then made the torso a little short. You can shop their women’s range here. You can also read my full review on these products here.
Thanks for reading, I hoped you’ve enjoyed this recap of some of my top women’s cycling jerseys. There are loads of brands and styles out there so I hope you find ones you like. You can also look at brands like Orca, 2XU, Foher, DHB, Bioracer, Endura and more. Check out online companies such as Wiggle, Velovixen, Sportspursuit and small independent cycle stores.