THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CYCLING APPAREL FOR THE SEASON
When you go to buy cycling apparel, the options are wide. All you see is athletic, comfortable, fitting. Why are they mentioned in separate apparel? Shouldn’t cycling wear include all the features? Then comes the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). Is it necessary? Too many questions, too many options, so how do you not get confused? With the following guideline, you cannot only get rid of the confusion but also find the perfect jersey for yourself.
1. FEATURES OF A CYCLING JERSEY
- Grippers and Hems – If you are out on a bike wearing jerseys that ride up, it brings unwelcoming distraction. Hence, most cycling jerseys have silicone grippers on the sleeves and hemline. Race and performance jerseys also possess the laser cut feature which is designed to fit like a second skin on the skin.
- Wind and water-resistant – Water and wind-resistant jerseys are generally made more breathable but you might find lighter-weight fabrics that are further used to aid ventilation in the underarms or at the back.
- Front Zip – A full-length zipped jersey allows you to cool down after a ride during warm or even cold weather. But make sure to check the zip garage in the jersey for preventing irritation in the neck and the chin.
- Visibility – IF you are going to ride in low light situations, consider wearing bright neon color jerseys that reflect light.
- Pockets – Road jerseys generally have three pockets for food and spares. Some jerseys might also have special zipped pockets for valuables. Winter jerseys have a weather-proof pocket for cyclists to carry their phones safely.
- Flatlock seams – Maximum cycling jerseys have flat seams to minimize chafing.
2. TYPES OF CYCLING CLOTHING
- Recreational /Comfort – This type of jersey is for those cyclists who love cycling but are not looking to join some pro league. This jersey is both practical and comfortable. Comparatively tighter than technical tees with zippers and pockets. They have a kind of elastic band near the hips to hold them in place.
- Athletic/Fitted – These jerseys find a happy middle ground in between the professional jerseys, which hug every curve of the body and the relaxed fit ones. You can call these tight, but not night enough to be called aero (jerseys that offer the least wind resistance and are extremely tight). There are a lot of options in this type as well. You will be able to find snugger and long sleeves in some of them, while some are made of stretchier materials with a bottom edge. There are also numerous zippers and non-zipper with a variety of pocket designs, including zippers that can hold valuables.
- Pro/Race – These jerseys are the best available in the market. Made with high-performance fabrics, these jerseys are the stretchiest and the most form-fitting ones in the market. They are characterized by a lower cut at the back, and a high cut in the front ( with zipper), long sleeves, and with or without a collar. The tightest of these jerseys are described as aero. So naturally, this type is the most preferred by lite cyclists.
The most popular fabric for cycling is spandex. Made by mixing cotton and polyester, the fabric is highly stretchable, breathable, and has moisture-wicking properties. These features make the fabric pretty accurate for cycling and hence is a popular choice. Polyester and nylon, are some of the other fabrics used in making cycling wear. Gore-Tex manufactures waterproof fabrics. They are limited to pants, vests, and jackets mostly.
The aforementioned types of fabric are mostly preferred by cycling enthusiasts. But they are not the only options available. You can always blend them with other fabrics. Some other fabrics that you should consider are
- Wool – The right wool, like soft Merino, is a great material for athletic wear even during the warm weather. They can blend perfectly and improve a garment’s sweat-wicking ability without compromising on comfort. Additionally, wood is also good at controlling odors.
- Silk – If you haven’t found the perfect hot-weather jersey for yourself and are looking for something different, try Rapha’s silk jersey. They say that the silk that makes up 56 percent of the jersey is odor-resistant and antibacterial apart from being the lightest in the market.
4. OTHER FACTORS
- UPF Rating – Cyclists often get sunburn through their jerseys, thus arises the importance of jerseys with UPF ratings. Fabrics like wool, elastane are inherently considered good at blocking UV rays, but the more they stretch, the less true that becomes. Nowadays, jerseys with a high UPF rating of 50+ are also available.
- Temperature Rating – Dressing according to the weather goes beyond choosing between short sleeves, long sleeves, or no sleeves at all. There are wide options available even within the category of short sleeves. You will often find cycling apparel companies recommending temperature ranged jerseys. This feature is especially important if you are shopping online or cannot feel the material of the jersey before purchasing. The temperature rating can help in identifying how breathable or thick can the jersey become.
If you are a cyclist or a cycling lover, you are now one step closer to buying the perfect jersey for yourself. It’s time to fill your shopping carts.