There is a good reason why you see road cyclists in tight, brightly colored jerseys. Not only do the bright colors help them to be seen by other road users, but the materials and cut of the jersey helps keep riders comfortable while spending long hours in the saddle.
Fortunately, you do not have to wear a jersey with a crazy design and wild colors. There are many toned down designs to choose from, as well as different cuts if you want to wear something a bit more loose fitting.
Confused about what to look out for when choosing a cycling jersey? Have a look at our How to Choose the Best Road Bike Jersey to get you started finding the right jersey for you.
And also see our other reviews of the best road biking accessories: Pedals, Shoes, Shorts, Wheels, Tires and Handlebars.
Quick Answer: Best Road Bike Jerseys
- Pearl Izumi Select Short Sleeve Quest
- Louis Garneau Beeze Vent Women’s
- Castelli Gabba 2
- Pearl Izumi Pro Pursuit Speed
- Gore Bike Wear Element Thermo
Best Road Bike Jerseys
Best Road Bike Jerseys Reviews
This is a great jersey for beginner and experienced cyclists alike. It has a slightly loose fit, which Pearl Izumi call “semi-form-fitting”.
While it hugs your torso, it is not as close as an aerodynamic race jersey. To maintain the fit and keep you comfortable as you move, the panels are slightly elastic to flex with your body.
Pearl Izumi use their lightweight Select Transfer material in the Quest jersey, which is the same material used in their higher tier jerseys as well.
It has great wicking ability and is very breathable. You can use the Quest jersey in summer and enjoy the UPF 40+ protection. A 13-inch zip helps keep you cool on warmer days.
It is also suitable for use in spring and autumn. The tail hem is elasticated to make sure it stays in place and there are three pockets. Reflective details help you be seen at night.
Despite being a great performing jersey with top features, the Quest has a very affordable price tag.
Features of the Pearl Izumi Select Short Sleeve Quest:
- Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
- UPF Rating: 40+
- Zip: 13-inch
- Pockets: 3
An affordable jersey that will keep you cool on hot summer days. Two fabrics are used to complement each other and keep you as cool as possible.
Most of the jersey is made from lightweight Airfit fabric, which does a great job of wicking sweat away from your skin. Airfit Mesh is used on areas where heat usually builds up.
This allows more air to flow through the fabric to your skin, and helps moisture to evaporate.
The cut is form fitting without being too tight. You do not get the racer look with this jersey but it sits close enough to keep you reasonably aerodynamic.
An elasticated hem keeps everything in place, raglan sleeves add to the comfort, and a 15-inch zipper gives the option of more ventilation.
Three pockets hold your gear and there is also a media pocket with a headphones loop. This jersey also keeps you safe from the sun with a UPF rating of 50.
Features of the Louis Garneau Beeze Vent Women’s:
- Season: Summer
- UPF Rating: 50
- Zip: 15-inch
- Pockets: 3 (+ 1 media pocket)
This is an updated version of the original Gabba jersey that was designed to be compatible with Castelli Nanoflex arm warmers. Both versions fill the gap between a jersey and a jacket.
Constructed from Gore-X fabric that is windproof and water repellent, while still being very breathable. The high collar helps to keep you warm on cooler days and depending on the precise conditions, you can leave your jacket at home.
On sunny days you will find that the Gabba 2 is too warm. In winter you can use the Gabba 2 as a mid-layer.
Improvements to the design include a storm flap at the rear to shield you from road spray and the 3 pockets have mesh panels at the bottom to allow rainwater to drain out.
The Gabba and Gabba 2 were both designed for professional racers but has become incredibly popular with hobby riders as well, despite the close race fit.
Features of the Castelli Gabba 2:
- Season: Spring, Autumn
- UPF Rating: None
- Zip: Full length
- Pockets: 3
The Pro Pursuit is a highly technical jersey designed to keep you cool and riding fast on warm days. Developed for the BMC PRO Team, this jersey is built with aerodynamics in mind.
The front features aero panels and the collar is kept as low profile as possible. Drag is further reduced by the sleeves that reach all the way down to the elbows.
High-intensity riding under the sun is what this jersey is intended for. The In-R-Cool fabric has Coldblack technology that reflects not only heat, but also the sun’s rays.
A UPF rating of 40 is given to the main body of the jersey while the aero panels have a rating of 50. You will still sweat and the fabric wicks moisture away, further cooling you.
A full-length semi-autolock zip can be used with one hand and there are three pockets for your gear.
Features of the Pearl Izumi Pro Pursuit Speed:
- Season: Spring, summer
- UPF Rating: 40-50
- Zip: Full length
- Pockets: 3
For the cold winter days, Gore Bike Wear have you covered with their Element Thermo jersey. The cold is kept out thanks to the brushed inner and close fitting collar.
You can either wear this jersey by itself or layer it up in the coldest of temperatures. The full length zip can be opened for some ventilation.
Inevitably, winter rides involve riding in the dark. A range of bright colors are available and reflective details ensure that other road users will see you.
At the rear there are three zipped pockets and there is also a zipped Napoleon pocket at the front.
A women’s version is also available.
Features of the Gore Bike Wear Element Thermo:
- Season: Winter
- UPF Rating: None
- Zip: Full length
- Pockets: 3 rear, 1 Napoleon
How to Choose the Best Road Bike Jersey
As opposed to a cotton t-shirt, the material used in a cycling jersey is designed to wick sweat away from your skin to the outer layers of fabric where it can evaporate. The advantage of this is that it helps keep you cool while you are riding.
Cotton on the other hand, holds on to sweat like a sponge and shortly after you do stop, you will be left wearing a cold and wet shirt that will make you cold fast. In winter, you do not want moisture near your skin, so wicking material helps with this too.
For summer riding, look for a thin jersey, possibly with mesh sections for really hot weather. The sun’s rays can penetrate a jersey and burn your skin, so if you ride in places with particularly intense sun, choose a jersey with sun protection. It is still a good idea to wear sun block under the jersey.
In winter, you will want thicker jersey with some insulation. Layering is the key to staying warm, so you add a base layer and an outer jacket depending on the weather conditions.
Most jerseys are made from lycra or a synthetic material. Fans of retro styling or anyone going on a multi-day adventure will find that a wool jersey helps regulate temperature as well as staying fresh for longer. You can also find synthetic materials treated with antimicrobial agents to keep bad smells at bay.
Racers will want a skin-tight jersey for ultimate aerodynamic gain. The average rider will be more comfortable in a looser fitting jersey. Do not go too loose however, as a jersey flapping around in the wind is very annoying. Remember that the more contact it has with your skin, the more sweat can be wicked away.
Cycling jerseys are designed to fit perfectly when you are on your bike, bent over in the riding position. Do not worry if it feels weird the first time you put it on as it will transform into a different feel when you get on your bike. Look for a jersey with multiple panels, or sections, that have been stitched together, rather than a single piece that will have to stretch as you move.
The back of a jersey should be long enough to keep your lower back covered when riding. You don’t want anything hanging out, potentially scaring other cyclists behind you!
Don’t forget to think about arm length. Obviously short sleeves are better in summer and long sleeves help keep you warm in winter, but the construction of the sleeve also has an effect on your comfort. Set-in sleeves look like a standard t-shirt sleeve attached to the side of the jersey, whereas a raglan sleeve is a triangle shaped section that starts up at the neck and fits better.
An elastic hem, possibly with silicone grippers helps to keep the jersey where it should be, and not half way up your back.
There is more to a zip than you might think. You have a choice of full length, half or ¾ length zips. Each offers different levels of ventilation or access to your bib. Some jerseys have a small piece of material to house the zipper when fully done up and prevent it chafing.
One more consideration is that a zip that can be zipped up and down with one hand is much less frustrating to use than one that required both hands!
Emergencies and mechanicals happen sometimes, so you should always take a phone and basic tools. A good jersey will have pockets at the rear to store these items.
Make sure the pockets are deep enough and at least one of them should have a zip for your money and phone.
Thanks for reading! We hope this article helps in your selection and purchase of a road biking jersey. If you have any comments or know a great product that wasn’t include here you can reach us at this contact form.
Enjoy your riding and be safe out there.