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What are the differences between types of cycling jerseys?

20 April 2022

A cycling jersey is an essential part of your set of cycling clothing. The differences in quality and price can be very large sometimes, without you being able to see why at first glance. But a simple cycling jersey is a lot more complicated than you would think. Water-repellent or windproof cycling jerseys, or razor-thin and extremely breathable instead. Anything is possible. We list the different options for you in this blog.

The first thing many people look at when they want to buy a new cycling shirt is the look, which is not so surprising of course. Regardless of the budget, you’d want to look good while cycling.

There’s plenty to choose from in a variety of cycling jerseys. How do you know which one suits you?
There’s plenty to choose from in a variety of cycling jerseys. How do you know which one suits you?

However, the looks should actually come second. First you have to decide for yourself what you need the cycling shirt for. What are the circumstances in which you (often) like to cycle?

The basic cycling jersey

Did you recently enter the world of cycling or do you go for a weekend ride now and then with fairly good weather? Then a basic cycling jersey would probably work for you. These jerseys are often not very tight and just breathe well.

A basic cycling jersey is not too tight and is fine for most rides.
A basic cycling jersey is not too tight and is fine for most rides.

If you wear an undershirt under a basic cycling shirt you can go out and about with this combination under the most diverse circumstances. And for days with bad weather, a good rain jacket will keep you comfortable on your bike.

The advantage of basic cycling jerseys is that they are very affordable. And yet, these cycling jerseys are often very fashionable and it’s no problem to be seen wearing a shirt like that.

Our favourite basic cycling jerseys

Water-repellent and windproof cycling jerseys

Is it raining all day? Then you’re probably better off with a water-repellent cycling jersey. A water-repellent cycling jersey can perfectly handle a few showers. And if the weather is slightly changeable, you’ll still feel good while cycling.

Windproof and waterproof? Unfortunately, in the UK you need this often enough.
Windproof and waterproof? Unfortunately, in the UK you need this often enough.

A waterproof or water-repellent cycling jersey can only handle a certain amount of rain before it starts to leak. In particular, the seams are the weaker spots. That’s why the more expensive and better waterproof cycling clothing has taped seams.

Castelli’s water-repellent Nanoflex technique can almost be called legendary.
Castelli’s water-repellent Nanoflex technique can almost be called legendary.

That tape ensures that water can’t come in through the seams. And that really makes a difference when you want to stay dry for as long as possible. An additional advantage is that many waterproof cycling jerseys are also windproof. This will keep you even warmer on your bike.

Our favourite water-repellent and windproof cycling jerseys

Cycling jerseys for the hottest of summer days

For the really hot summer days there are wafer-thin cycling jerseys that keep you as cool as possible. They’re also ideal if you’re planning a tough mountain ride on a sunny day.

Do you wear a wafer-thin cycling jersey for climbing specialists on the hottest of summer days? Then don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your torso!
Do you wear a wafer-thin cycling jersey for climbing specialists on the hottest of summer days? Then don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your torso!

The benefit of these cycling jerseys is that they are very light, airy and extremely breathable. They’re even so airy that you also have to apply sunscreen to your body if you don’t want to get a sunburn.

In general, these cycling jerseys are ideal for a climb or very steep roads. However, a disadvantage is that if it’s a bit cold on top of the climb, or a long descent awaits, it can be slightly chilly wearing this shirt. So a windbreaker is a must if you want to go into the mountains with such a thin cycling shirt.

Our favourite cycling jerseys for the hottest days

Aerodynamic cycling jerseys

Up until a few years ago, many cyclists associated an aero cycling shirt with time trials. But aerodynamic cycling clothing is no longer used exclusively in time trials..

Aerodynamic cycling clothing or would you rather slipstream behind a vintage car? To each their own!
Aerodynamic cycling clothing or would you rather slipstream behind a vintage car? To each their own!

Nearly all brands have quite tight cycling clothing these days. But the real aero cycling shirts have a really tight fit. There are really no flapping sleeves with aero shirts.

Some people don’t like aero cycling clothing and prefer something more roomy. But if you really want to get the most out of your hard work on the bike, you can opt for aerodynamic cycling clothing.

Our favourite aero cycling jerseys

Always wear an undershirt

Aside from the different types of cycling jerseys, the base layers are also very important. Proper base layers for cyclists ensure a drainage of sweat. And since the sweat no longer remains on your skin, it feels much more comfortable.

A good base layer can really make the difference when it comes to comfort, because the moisture balance is being well-regulated.
A good base layer can really make the difference when it comes to comfort, because the moisture balance is being well-regulated.

And you will still benefit from the cooling properties of the perspiration itself. You can even say that your body stays at a better temperature with an undershirt.

So no matter which cycling jersey you pick, with a proper undershirt you’re already halfway there. And in questionable weather you can even add arm pieces to your cycling shirt. Does the sun still break through? In that case you can take off your arm pieces within seconds and work on your tan lines.

Our favourite undershirts

Always the right size with Mantel’s size guide

Sometimes it is quite difficult to find the right size. All brands have different sizes and proportions. That is why we have measured all sizes of many brands. This resulted in Mantel’s size guide.

What do you think of this blog article?

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Mees Janssen

Mees Janssen

I am very occupied with everything that has to do with cycling in my spare time. The fact that I get to do this during my job as well makes it all the more special. Since I live in Arnhem, I like to go cycling in my “backyard” (de Posbank) with my road bike or mountain bike. Besides cycling myself, I also love to watch professional cycling on the tv. My television is doing overtime during the summer, because I like to follow all the big cycling tours like the Giro, the Tour de France and the Vuelta. It may come as no surprise that when the Giro d´Italia crossed Arnhem in 2016, I was over the moon!

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