The best summer cycling jerseys will keep you dry and cool no matter how long or hot your rides. We've sweltered up West Country down and over Alpine cols to find these, the best summer cycling jerseys you can buy.
Summer cycling jerseys use lightweight, sweat-wicking fabrics to keep you cool, dry and comfortable on the bike, even on hot days. It's not all stretchy Lycra though; summer cycling jerseys can be made from woven synthetics for a less shiny look, or even very lightweight wool blends.
Full-length zips are good for cooling, but may not hang as well; half- and three-quarter-length zips are a great compromise.
The classic cycling jersey design with three rear pockets is the most common, but some manufacturers add a small zipped pocket for valuables.
Remember your sun cream — you might even need it under your cycling jersey if you go for the very lightest mesh fabrics.
The La Passione PSN jersey has a sleek and form-fitting cut that's comfortable, light and breathable. Build quality is excellent and it's perfect for hard riding in hot weather, but the smooth, single-colour fabric shows up dark sweat patches on hot days.
Tester Simon writes: “The moment you find a jersey that not only fits well but is also nicely designed, good quality and super comfortable, is worthy of its own victory salute. That was me when the La Passione PSN jersey arrived. A month on I am still celebrating, but being more careful about raising my arms aloft because I've discovered the smooth, block-colour fabric absorbs sweat more visibly than textured fabrics. It's my only criticism.
“Otherwise, this is a great jersey and my firm favourite of recent weeks. In the June heatwave the La Passione PSN performed exceptionally well. The extremely thin fabric lets air straight through, and keeps you comfortable and cool whether riding hard or on longer, steadier club runs.”
The dhb Aeron Lab XC Short Sleeve Jersey is perfect for summer rides that leave the tarmac behind. It manages to be more durable and resistant to abrasion than a typical summer jersey while not compromising on breathability or performance.
Tester Steve writes: "The enhanced abrasion resistance is achieved by the arm and underarm panels being made from an 'advanced woven fabric' and the main body being made from a high gauge fabric. I'm a big fan of the sleeve panels, which have a textured feel and have done a good job of fending off bramble attacks on overgrown summer trails. The lack of snags or puckering bodes well in the event of a crash and I would have more confidence in this jersey surviving over most standard road jerseys and especially ones this lightweight. Fortunately, I haven't had to put that to the test, but given the excellent condition of the jersey after a month of abuse I'm more than happy to accept the abrasion resistance claims.
"At first, I was a little skeptical that the high gauge fabric wouldn't be detrimental to breathability. High gauge basically means that there are more stitches per inch on the garment and that a thinner yarn has been used more tightly. This means that there are fewer gaps in the fabric for air to pass through. Despite this, the breathability of the jersey has been good. Admittedly there are some all-out summer jerseys that will do a better job if you're slugging up a hot mountain all day but in reality, especially in the UK, rides often consist of ups and downs and usually about three seasons of weather as well.”
The Rapha Core Lightweight jersey performs impressively well in high temperatures. Its two ultralight fabrics supply great ventilation, build quality is impressive and it has Rapha's distinctive look and feel. We never thought we'd be giving a Rapha product a gong for being both excellent and reasonably-priced, but here it is; this is a terrific jersey for the money.
Tester Simon writes: “The construction of the jersey is just right for the long, hot, midsummer riding it's designed for. Two lightweight fabrics – a mesh front and sleeves for efficient ventilation, with a slightly denser knit on the back for UV protection, according to Rapha – do a great job of simultaneously letting in the airflow and not holding onto moisture. I wore it in the hottest days of the June heatwave without a baselayer and felt comfortable riding hard, never overheating. Although it excels above 20°C, I would also argue that you could wear it in temperatures in the high teens with a baselayer if you were worried about getting enough use out of it.”
The 7mesh Ashlu Merino Jersey is a really versatile short-sleeved summer top that copes fantastically with 28˚C rides without overheating, yet stays warm when temperatures plummet and the rain arrives. The five pockets carry huge amounts comfortably, it's really well made and it's perfect for long or multiday rides. There's no denying that price makes it a serious investment, though.
Tester Patrick writes: “One of the pluses of merino is its ability to air-dry and not stink, thanks to its natural antibacterial properties. The useability without constant washes is a good thing for the environment, and excellent for you and your friends on a multiday ride – although there's obviously a limit because sheep definitely smell... I can confirm the Ashlu is good for at least three days, however.
“The Ashlu jersey is an absolutely brilliant piece of kit, but then it should be for £130. Happily its exquisite design, excellent quality and brilliant performance mean it's a worthwhile investment, especially if you ride long days either as one-offs or consecutively. As a jersey for riding mile after mile in comfort with all sorts of stuff in the pockets, it’s the best I’ve used. It's very comfy, very well made and that capacious floating pocket is just brilliant.”
When the going gets hot, a lightweight, moisture-wicking top is just what's required and the Iris Race Day Catch-Up Jersey is absolutely spot on with its fast-drying silky fabric, under-arm mesh and airy cool feel. It fits well, looks good and performs really well.
Tester Lara writes: “The Italian polyester fabric of the Race Day Catch-Up Jersey is soft and superlight and stretchy, with a neat race fit yet not so clingy that it doesn't flatter the odd lumps and bumps. There's good length in the body for all but the smallest or tallest of riders, and the sleeves are stretchy to accommodate a variety of arm sizes, no matter how big the guns.
“This is a well-designed, great looking jersey that delivers excellent fit, performance and comfort at a very reasonable price. The only niggle I have is that the lovely silky airy fabric has a tendency to snag quite easily if exposed to rough surfaces.”
There isn't much cycling kit you can get for a tenner: a pair of socks maybe, or a of couple water bottles. Or, you can buy a fully functioning Triban Essential short-sleeved jersey. You'll have change too.
It may be the lowest-scoring jersey here across an average of our various ratings
It may be basic but the Triban Essential isn't just a rehashed t-shirt. You get breathable material with various panels, two rear pockets and a front zip plus Decathlon's two-year warranty against defects. You kind of wonder what the catch is. As far as we can see there isn't one.
The Assos Dyora Rs Summer SS Jersey is as close to a skinsuit as a jersey can get. Its features and performance make it perfect for racers, serious sportive riders and anyone with a competitive streak who enjoys speedy, time trial style riding.
Tester Emma writes: “I was genuinely transported back to my race days when I pulled on the Dyora; I felt the urge to ride fast and feel some pain. The skin-tight fit, fast-drying fabrics and minimal cut are all designed for high-end performance. The Venus Violet colourway that I tested is understated but certainly won't see you go unnoticed on the road.
”Despite always working hard enough to break a sweat in the jersey, even on the hottest of days I've never sensed my torso or underarms being clammy or damp with perspiration. The fabrics are all doing what they claim.”
The Lusso Women's Aero Jersey is a lightweight top that performs very well in the British heat. Its slim fit, perforated fabric and low cut collar make it ideal for those hunting speed in sunny conditions.
Tester Anna Marie writes: “Lusso have recently refined the fit of their women’s jersey and it’s absolutely spot on – the cut follows my figure throughout. It's very close, yet also comfortable. Testing this jersey in September's surprisingly warm conditions, the perforated fabric does a remarkable job at keeping things pleasant. The low, unrestrictive collar is also great for the hard, fast type of riding the jersey is designed for.
Overall, a very well designed aero jersey with a low cut collar and a great fit, and it's light and breathable too. It’s comfortable for miles and miles.
Rapha's Lightweight Brevet jersey takes the recipe of the original short sleeve model and makes it lighter. In effect, it's a brilliant summer weight jersey for anything but the freakishly hot days.
Tester Leon writes: “It's noticeably thinner and lighter than the standard short sleeve version, weighing 221g in a large, and when you get going, air can penetrate right through to keep you cool, thanks to the 100gsm fabric on the main panels and mesh-like fabric on the flanks. On some of the warmer days this year, it's performed brilliantly.
‘”It's fast become one of my favourite summer jerseys, and I'll probably only switch to something warmer and rain resistant when I'm reluctantly forced to.”
Great fit and style comes from a wool-based jersey from Isadore – called the Woolight – and it's nigh-on perfect for sunny days in the saddle.
Isadore pitches its products to the higher end of the market, priding itself on creating sleek designs using the best materials for the serious and stylish cyclist. That much is clear from this jersey, and it more than delivers in terms of performance too.
Moisture-wicking is extremely good thanks to its merino wool blend (you'll find 23% merino and 77% polyester in this jersey, hence its name), and so remains comfortable to wear whether you've just gunned it up a steep climb and are getting a real sweat on, or just out for a gentle spin around your local flatlands – in which case the warmth afforded by the wool comes into play very effectively.
The Funkier Prima Pro Ladies Short Sleeve Jersey is lightweight, well made and really breathable, with a relaxed fit. All this comes for an easy to swallow price, making it a top choice for riding on hot days. The only negative is the waterproof pocket – the same gripe as with the men's cycling jerseys tested recently.
The first thing that struck me about the jersey was how well made it was and just how much lightweight fabric had been incorporated to make the jersey exceptionally breathable. The front, rear and sleeves are all made of a very thin, semi-transparent fabric – air flows in freely and heat easily escapes.
The side panels are a mesh material that performs equally as well. The jersey really is designed for hot weather. I've had it teamed with undervests to date and found this perfect for temperatures around 18-20 degrees.
The Galibier Regale Ultralight Jersey is an incredibly thin design intended for warmer days and indoor training. Tester Shaun writes: “I've been impressed by its comfort, durability and lack of compromise, especially at the pockets, which are deep and stretchy yet surprisingly secure, and the price is very appealing.
“Galibier says its goal with the Regale was to produce the lightest jersey on the market while still offering sun protection (SPF30). It's made from three different gauges of polyester and feels a little synthetic to the touch, but that goes unnoticed in the saddle when worn directly against the skin.
“I've tested it outdoors in temperatures between 13 and 25°C (its suggested range is 20-40°C) and did a couple of indoor trainer sessions with the heating ramped up to 30°C, and am pleased to report I've felt comfortable at both ends of the spectrum.”
Santini's Women's Tono Chromosome Jersey is a lightweight top that performs well in the hottest of weather. It's a striking design, although alternative colour combinations are available if it's too much for you. Its slim fit makes it ideal for aspiring racers and its functional fabrics will suit those wanting a pro-performance jersey.
Tester Emma writes: "The jersey is designed for warm weather riding – Santini says it has a range of 18-35°C – and it shows. I combined it with a lightweight baselayer at 18+ degrees and it was spot on; above 23ish, on an intense training ride, it works well on its own.
"The rear and side panels are made from ultra-light 'Think Opacity' fabric, a mesh-like fabric that dries out as quickly as it wicks. I could really put the hammer down, sweat profusely and arrive home with a virtually dry back, which doesn't happen with many jerseys."
The Megmeister Aero Woven Jersey is a slim, figure-hugging design with a smooth and lightweight fabric. It is comfortable, has generous pockets and keeps you cool, although the seamless-knit material needs care to avoid threads catching and pulling out.
Tester Matt writes: “The fit is skin-tight, but one I found very comfortable. The arms are relatively long and, while I did experience some movement in them, it was only slight. The waist has an elastic gripper and the rear has three large, deep pockets plus an additional zipped pocket to the side, which is not huge, but enough for a smaller phone, card or keys.
“Megmeister has delivered a very good, race fit jersey that is comfortable to wear. The limited colour choices might not appeal to everyone and the fabric is easy to damage, but otherwise this is a really good option for summer road riding.”
The Flux Chevron jersey is a well-thought-out, high-performance piece of kit available exclusively from Evans Cycles for a great price.
The Lycra main body is stretchy so that the race cut never feels restrictive, whatever position you tend to ride in, while also keeping fabric bunching to a minimum. At the same time it's very soft with lightweight flat stitching on the inside that helps minimise rubbing, so comfort levels are impressive too.
Castelli's Women's Aero Pro Jersey offers excellent breathability and a very comfortable fit. It's perfect for hot, fast rides, and the fabrics and construction are convincing support for the aerodynamic claims – though its transparency won't be to everyone's liking.
Tester Emma writes: “The fabrics are soft and giving and accommodate lumps and bumps without issue. It's just what you'd expect from anything being sold as 'aero' – a very snug fit. Given how thin the fabric is, it's not surprising that the Aero Pro's most tangible, impressive feature is its breathability. At the rear, it's as close to a string vest as a jersey can get – this panel doesn't hold any moisture at all. It was simply perfect for the recent temperatures in the low 30s. It's not restricted to those few scorching days of summer, either; the jersey arrived for testing in the midst of some cool weather – classic British summertime – and it works well with a baselayer in the high teens.
“The Aero Pro is a great option if you take your training stats seriously, or you're participating in competitive events as an individual (no club/team kit) or just getting serious about time trialling but not ready for the full skinsuit investment. I'm not saying it's limited to this, but it'll certainly get plenty of use if you dabble in these things in addition to simply appreciating high performing, comfortable kit for your rides.”
Madison's Roam Men's Merino Short Sleeve Jersey really is a top-quality piece of kit. A balance of merino wool and polyester means it's highly breathable and very fast drying. The relaxed fit makes it ideal for gravel or adventure riding, or for those times when you aren't in race mode, whether that be on or off the road.
Gravel clothing is now A Thing, and it's kind of the definition of the Roam jersey. More relaxed than a standard race jersey, it allows just a little bit more freedom of movement and you get a gap between it and your body to get some air flowing through.
Tester Stu writes: “Sometimes UK weather is all over the place. That’s kinda crap for riding, but the ideal testing ground for something as versatile as the Roam. We've had frosty mornings, chilly days and then May was pretty much a washout, while at the time of writing, the first few days of June we're basking in the mid-20s! I can't say that I've found any condition that the Roam hasn't really dealt with.”
Rapha's Core Jersey joins the Core Bib Shorts, in its 'affordable' range. Although £60 is still not what you might call super-cheap, it is a fair bit less than other Rapha jerseys and, crucially, it's very good.
It takes design cues from the Classic range and strips it back, eschewing the signature contrast stripe on the sleeve and instead opting for a subliminally stitched version. Elsewhere, you find same-colour stitching and a fabric that more closely matches the Pro Team jerseys than Rapha's wool-based offerings, just without the skintight fitting.
It's a great compromise that includes decent features and fabrics from Rapha's previous designs and research. It has a slim yet not restrictive cut, with a long back and sizeable pockets. Each of the three open pockets and the zipped fourth are easy to reach, although when the pockets are empty the jersey can ride up. Our tester found this occurred especially when he had a jacket on over the top, even though the silicone grippers around the waistline are prominent and feel high quality and grippy to touch.
The fit on the Bodyline jerseys is top drawer; it's no exaggeration to say that it's on a par with high-end jerseys costing over £100. The sleeves are undoubtedly the highlight. Super stretchy fabric gives a tight aero fit on the skinniest biceps with a raw cut end - no seams.
I'd never previously found myself irritated by a seam on the end of my sleeves, but raw sleeve ends are what the pros are mostly wearing and they're bloody lovely. Quite simply, they are the best-fitting and most comfortable sleeves of any jersey I've worn, at any price.
The torso is also a close aerodynamic fit which I found was very comfortable and not at all restrictive; you can really see the expertise of manufacturing subcontractor Bioracer here. Breathability is decent, if (unsurprisingly) not on a par with the ultra lightweight jerseys that the likes of Castelli, Rapha and Adidas have produced recently for the hottest of summer days.
The La Passione Duo Jersey is very well made, uses excellent fabrics, and offers a great performance fit. All the tiny details make it even more of a pleasure to wear, such as zip garages top and bottom, laser cut sleeves and plenty of storage. The only thing missing is a pocket for securing your valuables.
Tester Stu writes: “The Duo jersey is available in 10 colours, all with two-tone designs like this Grey/Ice model. La Passione use a range of fabrics in the construction, in various mixes of polyester and elastane. They are all very soft to the touch, which means the Duo is very comfortable to wear.
”This has been one of my go-to jerseys when the temperatures are high, as it is very breathable. The fabric isn't overly thick anywhere so it doesn't trap heat, and when climbing or putting in hard efforts, the mesh side panels and perforated back (which has noticeable holes compared to the smooth front panel and sleeves) really help.”
Developed in collaboration with the Trek-Segafredo women’s WorldTour team, the Santini Redux Stamina Women's Short Sleeve Jersey is built for staying cool as you drive on the pace. It is a very good jersey that's highly breathable and comfortable to wear, with an excellent close fit... at least, in most places. If your arms are fairly skinny you may find the cut here a little baggy.
Tester Anna Marie writes: “An incredibly thin and light fabric called Prey Cool is used for the rear panel and sleeves. It sculpts itself well to your body thanks to its slight stretchiness and has impressive wicking qualities, keeping me comfortable as temperatures rose to the mid 20s. The only slight 'mistiness' I experienced was under the pockets, but that's to be expected with them packed full.
“The Redux Stamina is a fast-wicking, fresh-feeling aero jersey built for performance and overall, it hits the spot. It's great for feeling fast and comfortable while you ride, and it's a good looker too. It's just a shame that the sleeves come up a little baggy, as this negates some of the aero benefits, but if that suits your shape it's a go-to for hard days in the saddle.”
The Santini Redux Istinto Men's Short Sleeve Jersey is about as aero a piece of clothing as you can get. It's basically a skinsuit for your upper half; with streamlined pockets and a very close fit there isn't any fabric left to bunch up or flap about in the wind.
Tester Stu writes: “There is a lot of stretch going on. It is very much a next-to-skin fit, or, as Santini calls it, Sleek. The fabric is very soft and feels great against the skin, and it's massively breathable – even on very hot days it lets the wind blow through, keeping you cool and feeling fresh.
“The overall quality is very high, with the various stitching types being finished excellently. All the seams are very neat, and on some sections Santini has thermo-sealed the seams instead of sewing, so that you get a smooth finish. The fit and performance and also excellent.”
The Castelli Aero Race 6.0 Jersey is a great update, offering excellent breathability and a comfortable fit, and promising some go-faster aero qualities.
The key element of this cycling jersey, as you might have guessed from the name, is its aero qualities. In this, the sixth iteration of the jersey, Castelli has used 'CFD analysis of wake flow in the riding position' to improve aerodynamics. As always, we can't give any accurate review of this given that we don't have access to a wind tunnel to test it.
However, the fit, the elongated sleeves and the way the jersey sits against your body in a crouch makes it clear that aerodynamics are at the core of this jersey. Given that, as with everything in cycling these days, this is about marginal gains, we didn't notice a huge difference over another aero cycling jersey, although it may well exist.
The Vulpine Alpine Merino Blend jersey is a stylish and functional garment that combines the famous properties of the fine wool with a casual, urban aesthetic, and it works well for long rides, café stops and city commutes.
Merino is a good insulator in slightly cooler weather, and before the sun came out in mid-April this jersey worked well as a layer under a lightweight shell at around 10°C. It also breathes incredibly well and is – slightly counter-intuitively since it's wool – one of the coolest fabrics to wear in hot weather, although it does absorb moisture more than synthetic materials.
Rapha has delivered a top-quality jersey here, and not just in the way it fits and performs. It's also how they've focused on all those little details. It’s made from a new Merino blend, in a what Rapha calls its 'Refined Classic fit'. It's still a close-fitting road jersey, but there is room to move and breathe, plus the sizing is a little more generous.
Tester Stu writes: “The material feels soft against the skin and breathability isn't an issue. I would say, though, that the fabric is a little on the weighty side for a summer jersey compared to some on the market. I felt most comfortable wearing the Rapha on days below 20°C, especially if I had a harder session planned as on the climbs – then I found it would get a bit overwhelmed.
“The Classic II is excellent, and really has everything covered when it comes to comfortable road jerseys. You're paying a premium for the quality and attention to detail, but then it's still far from the most expensive out there.”
The latest version of Rapha's Women's Classic Jersey II is a lovely top for summer rides. It's well made, looks stylish, feels soft and comfortable, and has all the features you'd hope for. That it's now made with recycled polyester just adds to its appeal.
Tester Tass writes: “It has what Rapha calls a 'Refined Classic fit' for 'all-day comfort', with slight shaping to the body to take into account curves, and I found it just right. It sits comfortably on the hips with an elasticated section at the rear of the hem, with a cord lock to tighten it if necessary. A line of silicone gripper holds it in place reasonably well.
“This is a classy bit of kit. It's very well made – if slightly more delicate than its predecessor – looks stylish, and performs really well for relaxed riding in the sun. It's not cheap, but it's £110 well spent.”
The Pearl Izumi Interval jersey is a lightweight, breathable, and comfortable warm weather jersey. Although there is no getting round the high price, the performance goes a long way to justifying it.
The first thing you notice about this jersey is just how lightweight it is – not only coming in at a smidge over 100g, but also the material itself which is thin and perforated, so feels almost weightless when you're wearing it. What this normally means is that it's see-through, but that's not the case with this jersey, so you don't feel exposed. It is therefore no surprise that this is a great jersey for hot weather.
The Evade Pro Base Jersey is MAAP's take on the lightweight top for hot, sunny summers. Its race fit is cut close, but thanks to great comfort from the various fabrics it's an absolute joy to wear, even when you're working hard.
Tester Stu writes: “I had a few rides where the temperature was touching 30°C here in the south-west, and even then, the MAAP stayed pretty dry thanks to the air flowing through the material, taking body heat with it. The material is very soft, so it feels great against the skin... which it needs to, considering how close-fitting this top is. It's very much a pro level sort of a cut.
“The Evade isn't exactly cheap, but in its defence it is very well made. There are a couple of stray thread ends here and there, but nothing major, and all the stitching is smooth and neat. There's nothing to irritate. Overall durability is good too. Jerseys as light as this can sometimes be a little fragile, but I've had no issues with the MAAP, even on gravel rides where there is a bit of tussling with branches and the like.
“If you want a light, close-fitting summer race jersey that copes very well with high temperatures, the MAAP is a very good choice. It ticks all the important boxes.”
The 7mesh Skyline Jersey is a tight-fitting aero jersey that's very effective at dealing with sweat. It's a pleasure to wear, but there's no getting away from price – it's extremely high. It looks and feels great though, and is also available in red and black.
Tester Iwein writes: “This jersey is not ultra-breathable, but it does work well in heat – there's a full length zip to let the air in – and because the hydrophobic fabric wicks so effectively, the jersey won't be drenched when you get to the top of a climb. I didn't have access to especially hot weather or long climbs while testing this jersey, but I did have high intensity, sweaty Zwift races. This jersey is indeed very good at wicking sweat – it never feels soaked the way other jerseys do.
“The 7mesh Skyline Jersey has a great fit, is a pleasure to wear and is very good at what it does. It's too expensive for me, but if you're happy with the price, you won't be disappointed with the performance.”
While you can wear a T-shirt when you go cycling, you'll soon drown in your own sweat. Better to wear a specific cycling jersey made from a breathable fabric to keep you dry and cool, ensuring you remain comfortable all the way.
Along with padded shorts, a good short sleeve cycling jersey for warmer weather is an essential part of any cyclist's wardrobe.
You can shed litres of sweat on long rides in the sun so a technical cycling jersey made with a high wicking fabric will keep you dry and cool. Worth noting is that many jerseys can be worn nearly year round, during early spring and late into the autumn. As part of a layering system, a cycling jersey can be paired with a gilet and arm warmers and used on cooler days around the calendar.
A summer cycling jersey is a simple garment in essence, but look through any catalogue or browse your local shop and you'll quickly realise there are hundreds of different jerseys. They're all trying to do the same thing though, but how they do it can be very different, so it's worth being clear what you're looking for before you starting buying.
You can pay anything from £5 to £130 for a cycling jersey, but an expensive one isn't necessarily 20 times better. Generally, you're paying extra for better and more advanced fabrics that are better at wicking sweat and keeping you cool and dry than very basic fabrics. You can also expect improved fit and styling and extra features.
Yes, you could wear a t-shirt on your bike. But cotton, as you'll find out if you ever ride in it on a hot day, isn't that great at dealing with sweat; it simply holds onto it, and before long will be soaked through. Add a light breeze and you can quickly chill. Not good.
So the aim of a technical jersey is to wick sweat from your skin to the outer side of the fabric, where it can evaporate. That leaves you dry, so you don't get clammy with sweat and won't chill if the temperature drops or the wind picks up.
Man-made synthetic fabrics are the mainstay of summer cycling jerseys, but natural materials – basically types of wool – are also good choices. Naturally sourced materials such as Merino wool have developed a lot in recent years with many improvements and developments leading to Merino wool being a good choice, even on hot days. One particular benefit of woollen cycling jerseys is that the fat molecules in sweat find it harder to cling to the organic fibres than they do with man-made polyester, so wool jerseys take a lot longer to pong.
Another consideration for cycling in hot weather is to look for a jersey with a fabric that provides some sun protection. Some cycling jerseys use very lightweight and loose weave fabric that can let a lot of harmful UV rays through, so manufacturers have started addressing this by making clothing with SPF and UPF ratings. When you're cycling you're exposing your back to the sun, the area under your jersey that you most likely don't apply suntan lotion to.
You can have the best and most expensive fabric in the world, but if the jersey doesn't fit well you'll lose a lot of performance. Fit is, naturally, a personal thing, and also depends on the style of riding you do. If it's sportives and racing, then tighter fitting jerseys are better, they're less flappy and more aero.
For touring and leisure cycling a relaxed fit with a more generous cut will be preferable. Equally too for commuting to the office. Such cycling jerseys can be made from highly technical fabrics, but offer a more relaxed style that is as comfortable on the bike as sitting in the beer garden for a post-ride drink.
Sizing is critical, whichever your chosen style, and here companies offer a range of sizes that should sit most body shapes. Some measure up smaller or larger than others, so don't take it for granted that you're a medium in one brand that you'll be the same size in all other brands. Trying before you buy is really the best way to proceed, if you have the opportunity.
If you're racing or seeking an aerodynamic advantage, there are a raft of new cycling jerseys designed to sit very close to the skin, with no excess material to flap in the wind, and help your upper body better cut through the air. They're not for everyone though... Remember, about 80% of the wind drag you face when cycling is caused by the body, so ensuring your body is aero is a better place to start than dropping £2K on a pair of carbon deep-section wheels.
Features can make or break a good summer cycling jersey, and generally speaking, the more features the higher the price. The very minimum you want is three pockets around the back for stuffing a ride's worth of food, money and spare tubes, and a zip at the front for when you need to cool down. That's your classic cycling jersey right there.
There's a myriad of extra options, with everything from zipped pockets, full-length zippers, mesh panels strategically placed for maximum ventilation, elasticated waists, silicone hems to stop them riding up, and reflective stripes, good for riding late into the summer evenings.
How the jersey looks is purely personal preference, there's enough choice out there to keep everyone happy. Your options range from team replica kit, understated but stylish branded wear all the way through to the current trend for retro inspired garb.
And the choice continues to grow. A big growth area has been in the cycle clothing that doesn't look like cycle clothing, that could happily be worn off the bike without raising eyebrows. Yet using the latest technical fabrics and smart fit, means they work well on the bike when you're hammering along the road.
Women are better catered for now than they ever have been in previous years, with most manufacturers now offering a comprehensive choice of cycling jerseys specifically cut to suit the female form. And some even manage to avoid making their jerseys pink or baby blue and plastering butterfly details over them, but if that's your thing there are still plenty of pink and flowery tops too.
It's not a good idea to wear your new cycle jersey more than once, even if it was just a short ride. Your perspiration settles into the fabric of the jersey, and the bad smell is caused by bacteria. So wash your cycling jersey after every ride.
For washing, it's important to follow the manufacturers guidelines printed on the care label. The temperature rating is the vital bit, and it's necessary to wash accordingly. If you do wash a fabric at a higher temperature than advised and do so constantly, the fabric will deteriorate in quality.
Washing liquid or gels are preferable to powder as they are less aggressive with the delicate fabrics, though powder is better at getting out really muddy stains. When it comes to drying avoid the tumble drier at all costs, unless you want your jersey a size smaller. Hang on the washing line or over a clothes rack and allow to dry naturally, the best thing about cycle clothing is how quickly it dries, so you won't have to wait long.
Other tips, don't forget to empty the pockets – sounds obvious but I've lost count of the times I've stuffed a cycling jersey in the washing machine and forgotten to remove a used gel wrapper. We would advise washing your cycling clothing separately from your ordinary clothes too. And don't forget to zip up the zippers as well.
Road.cc readers are always a valuable source of opinion, knowledge and experience on all matters related to cycling. Here's the pick of what they had to say about summer jerseys in a previous version of this article
I agree with 'antigee' (check out Ground Effect's range) - last year I did 9 rides (80km+) with temperatures at or above 40°C and around 20 or more with temps in the mid to high 30s. All in full sun with the UV index of 12+. And I hate sunscreen - you finish a ride with skin like sandpaper and the sunscreen runs into your eyes if you put it on thick enough to do any good.
I wear full length pants, long sleeve jersey with UV rated material, a flap around the sides and back of the helmet, wrap-around sunglasses, full-finger gloves and a big sunvisor from an MTB helmet. Maybe overkill but having carcinomas removed isn't much fun either - much happier since I discovered GEs summer gear.
Live in the bit of Aus' that is cool right now but summer is typically 25-35degs and sunny and my favourite top has long sleeves a high neck and a UV rating, seems almost indestructible as well.
Check out Ground Effect's range, a NZ co' (ship to UK) mostly mtb but some road stuff - no relation just a satisfied customer with less worries about U.
DeSoto skin cooler - this from a sweaty man in Thailand... as well as a short sleeve jersey, there's a long sleeve non zipped shirt in the skin cooler fabric which will be great for also avoiding sunburnt arms as well as keeping cool... and the skin cooler 'beanie' cap is fabulous too for anti sweat in the eyes.
Coming from Australia I'd have to say that on a properly hot day there is nothing that cools you quite as well as a thin cotton t-shirt shirt. The only reason that I use my summer Jersey in summer is for the pockets and the closer fit (and it's quite cool for a cycling Jersey with very lightweight mesh polyester fabric over most of it). It is very different to the English summer here (often 25-30+ celcius) but cotton is good when it's really hot.
TORM Sportswool jerseys & Stolen Goat for me.
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John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.