Summer 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; jerseys can be made from
woven synthetics for a less shiny look, or even very lightweight wool
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 design with three rear pockets is the most
common, but some manufacturers add a small zipped pockett for
Remember your sun cream — you might even need it under
the jersey if you go for the very lightest mesh fabrics.
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 no matter how long or
hot the ride is, ensuring you remain comfortable all the way. Along with
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
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 jersey
can be paired with a gilet and arm warmers and used on cooler days around
A summer 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 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.
Materials and fabrics
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 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 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 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.
Fit is everything
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 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
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
If you're racing or seeking an aerodynamic advantage, there are a raft of
new 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.
Pockets, zips and mesh panels
Features can make or break a good summer 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.
Style it up
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 comprehensive choice of
jerseys specifically to 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.
Caring for your new jersey
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 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
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
Other tips, don't forget to empty the pockets – sounds obvious but I've
lost count of the times I've stuffed a 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.
Let's kick off with some of the summer jerseys we've loved recently, then
take a look at a broad range of evergreen favourites.
9 of the best new summer jerseys
The Northwave Blade Air 3 jersey is designed to perform in warmer
temperatures and it really does, with the well-chosen materials doing an
excellent job of keeping you dry and cool. It's light and airy,
comfortable, and easy to wash and dry though you do need to take care not
to snag the material.
Brighton-based clothing brand Morvélo is renowned for its striking colour
schemes, and this EFX Nth Series jersey continues that theme. Bold
graphics aren't there to mask an average product, though, as this top is
impressively comfortable and offers superb performance no matter how hard
The Nth Series jersey uses a combination of different fabrics in its
construction, and by holding the jersey up to the light you can easily see
the difference. The main front section uses a material that is pretty thin
and has a very small-holed mesh style design which lets through plenty of
cooling air but without you getting cold, so the jersey isn't restricted
to just the really hot days.
There are recurring themes to Castelli jerseys: typical quality,
performance and Italian style (good), set against an Italian fit (erm...
not always good) and value (ditto). The Entrata 3 FZ, however, is a summer
jersey almost without flaw.
Often, one of the main criticisms of Castelli kit is the fit and cut; a
performance brand at heart, it's not always going to suit every rider out
there. I suspect there are plenty who'd like to sport the Scorpion logo,
but can't because of the often racy-tight cuts and smaller sizings.
That's not an issue with the Entrata 3, though. Sure, it's still a slim
cut, but Castelli has tailored it to fit without feeling overly
compressive or restrictive. The large fits our tester Ash's 188cm, 80kg,
100cm chest, ex-swimmer's frame without fault, and that's not something we
can often say about Castelli kit.
The dhb Aeron Speed jersey offers a slim-fitting race cut, lightweight
technical fabrics and some cool colourways at a competitive price point –
it's a winner all-round.
The jersey had a makeover for 2017, with the weight coming in at 112g
thanks to the light fabrics used. dhb's Hydrofit technology aims to deal
with moisture management and sweat dissipation, and there's also added
antibacterial treatment to keep the jersey fresh. The close fit is
designed to minimise air resistance when in a low road riding position and
ensure none of your energy is wasted by excess flapping fabric.
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.
The new Sportful R&D Cima jersey offers excellent hot weather
performance with a very figure-hugging, race-ready fit that makes it ideal
for summer cycling and racing.
Sportful works closely with the pro teams it sponsors and learns valuable
lessons from the demanding world of racing. The R&D Cima jersey is the
latest product to come out of the Italian company's research and
development programme, a pro-tested jersey designed for hot weather and
With its M90 Graphic Short Sleeve Limited Edition jersey (M90 refers to
the eye-catching design), Endura shows it hasn't lost sight of achieving
high performance and comfort in the pursuit of striking looks.
High-vis camouflage wear must be some kind of post-modernist joke that
people of my generation aren't supposed to understand. At first I wondered
how it would look if I got knocked off my bike wearing this, and what the
other guy's lawyer would have to say; but far from making you invisible,
this is pretty well unmissable and definitely a kit for the extroverts
among us. All those isosceleses, instead of softening the edges, are as
shards in the eye of the observer. Then the acid-green of the arm grippers
and pocket stripes burns into the wounds. I was glad to be riding in it,
rather than looking at it.
There's little not to like about the Rapha Lines Souplesse Lightweight
Jersey II. It's very good quality, fits brilliantly, and works really well
at keeping you cool and comfortable on the hottest rides.
While the pattern does at first look a little crazy, it definitely stands
out, and the pink Rapha logos on the left sleeve and rear of the jersey
add some nice detail. If you're less taken by the pattern, it's also
available in a plain fuchsia pink or green should you prefer.
The Assos SS.centoJersey_evo8 is one of the nicest and most comfortable
jerseys I've tested this year. It combines top-end fabrics and
construction with a fit that is a little more relaxed than some, superb
breathability and some nice details, making it a lovely jersey for long
Assos has developed its own fabrics for the jersey and uses one with a
high stretch factor so it's a little more accommodating than some, ideal
if you're no Chris Froome weight weenie. It's still close fitting but it's
not exactly racing fit constrictive. The mesh back panel helps
breathability and stretches horizontally but not vertically, to prevent
the pockets sagging.
11 classic summer jerseys
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
B'Twin 300 cycling jersey. You'll have change too.
It may be basic but the 300 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.
Merlin's Core short-sleeved jersey (not to be confused with Rapha's
rather more expensive take on a 'core' product bearing the same name)
comes in at a measly £17.99. With that price tag in mind, if all you're
after is a lightweight jersey for your warm spring, summer and autumn
rides without breaking the bank, it's a top option.
Constructed of a 100 per cent polyester blend, the jersey weighs in at
111g on our scales, which is light enough to almost forget you're wearing
it. That makes it great for warm-weather riding, as well as for acting as
an extra layer underneath something more hardwearing and insulating.
dhb's Blok range is inspired by jockey racing silks and retro team
geometrics, which change every year.
The fit is described as 'anatomic'. In practice, the fabric is highly
elastic, and I found the cut figure skimming; stretching comfortably over
the hips and chest and in at the waist. I could have happily sized up for
a more relaxed fit without compromising a female silhouette.
The excellent fit is compounded by the generous length of the jersey. It
sits comfortably on my hips, and combined with the added security of a
silicone strip running along the hem, doesn't ride up at all. The standard
three-pocket design is supplemented by a nifty hi-viz zip on the right,
giving access to a smaller pocket easily big enough for keys, coins or a
With a racy fit and cooling areas built in, Altura's Podium SS is aimed
at the higher performance end of the market than the UK brand's usual
fare, and it's spot on for hot summer rides.
This is definitely a jersey for hot days. The sheer mesh on the underarms
works really well at keeping you cool when it's 20 degrees or more out.
Compared with other racing/performance jerseys, around £60 is pretty good
value for what you are getting with the Altura Podium. We recommend it to
anyone looking for a jersey they can ride fast in on hot summer days.
The Cycology Mondrian shows you don't need to spend big to get a great
jersey. It has an innovative twist on the Mondrian look, decent
breathability and all the elements that you would want from a modern
At first glance there is something very familiar about the look (or
rather, the Look) of the Mondrian jersey, and I'm sure most people who
know anything about Look Cycles, Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault will
agree. However, Cycology has taken a new approach to the famous Mondrian
pattern, filling the coloured shapes with cycling tattoo images. It's
It also performs well. Helping this is the breathability and wicking,
which comes from the '4 way stretch Italian thermal fabrics'. I used this
throughout a later-summer and it performed well, moving moisture away from
my skin well and allowing a decent breeze through. This is helped by the
two different types of fabrics used. On the front it is slightly denser,
while on the back and sides it is closer to a mesh. These back and side
panels are what really helps the breathability. The jersey also has a
full-length zip, which can be opened or closed to help regulate
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.
Rapha's Core Jersey joins
Core Bib Shorts, in its 'affordable' range. Although £75 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
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.
Maybe you're off to the Continent...
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.
Bontrager's Ballista range is all about top end performance, which is why
the £119.99 jersey fits so well while offering both breathability and an
unbelievable range of movement. It carries an impressive amount of
attention to detail too.
Made from Profila fabrics, the Ballista is all about technology and what
can be achieved with it to create the best garment possible. It's a jersey
of very few compromises and comes with an unexpectedly robust build
quality, something a lot of lightweight kit doesn't offer.
The Assos SS.laalalaiJersey_evo7 is a superb summer jersey in terms of
both comfort and functionality; if you are happy with the price tag, you
certainly get a quality garment.
Initial impressions of this jersey were that 'there's nothing to it'; all
of the material used is exceptionally thin and lightweight. Assos'
type.002 material is used for the main body – it's a thin, stretchy fabric
that glides over the skin while simultaneously wicking away any moisture
and allowing good airflow.
It's the rear panel of the jersey that predominantly delivers cooling,
though, and comprises Assos' mono-stretch type.220 material. This fabric
offers some stretch horizontally across the back, so constantly adapting
to the body's movements on the bike, but no give in the vertical weave,
ensuring stability under the weight of objects in any of the three rear
Assos' SS.equipeJersey_evo8 is the eighth generation of the classic
Equipe, a racing jersey with a high tech design but at a price that makes
it competitive with rivals from other premium brands. It offers style, an
excellent fit and superb breathability.
This version of the Equipe represents a change of style for Assos, with a
hazard pattern replacing stripes on the left sleeve and an asymmetric
design. It's a bold looking jersey, especially in this yellow option
(other colours are available, including a more muted black) and you'll
definitely stand out on the club run.
road.cc summer jersey reviews
We test jerseys to help you choose the right one for your needs, take
a look at the archive here.
The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.
Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product in a if we think it's one of the best of its kind.
As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.