The decision on whether to splash out on professional bike kit, or stick to everyday comfortable workout wear, will generally depend on a number of key factors. Firstly, if you are an occasional, low mileage cyclist, travelling short distances or for easy recreation, you may find that regular jogging bottoms or shorts and a t-shirt is sufficient for your needs. If you are also watching the pennies, you may prefer to just invest in a few key pieces of technical kit, for example to keep you cool or dry whilst cycling. If, however, you are likely to take your cycling seriously, develop the mileage you do on your bike, or undertake cycling for sport or health reasons, it’s wise to invest in some good quality kit basics.
A bike jersey is a good example of such kit. Useful for keeping your body temperature regulated – warm on cold days, cool on warm ones when you’re building up a sweat, a jersey is also a handy cover-up at the end of a long cycle, as your body temperature is likely to plummet, leaving you at risk of feeling the cold or becoming stiff after a long workout.
There are a wide range of brands available when selecting a good bike jersey, so budget can be flexible according to your needs. Good ranges to look for include Pearl Izumi, Nike, Santa Cruz and Yeti.
Also look for special ranges with professional cyclists who lend their name and credibility to a brand – these have received good reviews for their pricing, technical specifications and quality. There are also some great online brands which are kinder to the pocket and still offer good features.
Things to look for include flat seams to avoid chafing – they shouldn’t be raised or unfinished. Look for advanced tecnical materials – manmade fibres can help with sweat wicking or body temperature control, or to protect you from showers. Look for brand names such as Gore-Tex or Clima-cool by Nike. Go for a fit that is comfortable, but not too so – you certainly don’t want over tight or you’ll be uncomfortable when cycling. It’s wise to wear a couple of thin layers so you can remove or add as temperatures rise – for this reason, a backpack is also suitable for long rides in particular! You may also wish to look for neon or high-vis stripes or designs to aid your visibility on darker evenings.
The best places to buy bike jerseys from are specialist retailers, as they will have experienced staff who can help you select the right kit for your needs. Be sure to buy a size and fit correct for you – there are specialist sections for men, women and children’s bike jerseys and other cycling kit items. Once you’ve established your fit and best brand, look online for repeat purchases if you’re comfortable with what you need – some of the best prices can be found here. Although some stores may honour ‘price matching’ and often the advice and conversation with a fellow cycling enthusiast in a shop is worth the slight extra price premium for what you buy – they’re a great place to pick up tips!