Summer is the best time for cycling as I’m sure you can agree. Lighter evenings, longer rides and (supposedly) good weather and blue skies. When out on the bike for long periods in hot weather it’s best you get a jersey to match the conditions to really enjoy.
Having a jersey not built for the conditions when riding in the heat can be unbearable at times, it can be very uncomfortable, sticky and damp and in some cases quite smelly if the material isn’t great with sweat.
First things first – what to look out for?
Like with any bit of kit, you can spend all the money in the world on a bit of kit but if it doesn’t fit right you’re never going to get the best performance out of it and it’s somewhat pointless.
Fit is a personal preference thing, some like it baggy and some like it super tight it’s almost like another layer of skin. My personal preference is somewhere in the middle of them, I like it close enough fitting so it doesn’t flap in the wind but also so it’s not skin tight.
The type of riding you do also plays a part to fit. Racing and possibly sportives you want something tighter fitting so that there’s no flapping and it’s not going to have the parachute effect. Marginal gains, right?
Going for something with a bit more a looser fitting is great for the leisure rides and also commuting to the office. These also look great when going for a post ride
beer protein shake.
Companies sizing varies massively to say the least. Some can come up quite short so i’d recommend always trying before you buy so you know because the likelihood is you’re going to be spending a fair bit of money so try not to waste it. Castelli and Specialized are jerseys I’ve found to come up short and it’s quite common among the Italian brands.
The thing you are looking for in a summer jersey is to wick away the sweat from your skin to the outer side of the jersey so it can evaporate to leave you feeling dry.
Synthetic type fabrics are the main type of material used although Merino wool, a natural type of material is also great for summer riding as it has a very good ability to wick away the sweat quickly and it also takes much longer to smell. Not that I would recommend it but guilty of it, you can get away with wearing the same jersey in a concession of days.
Additional features are the things that really puts the price up on jerseys. At the very least jerseys should come with at least three pockets on the back and it’s nice when they have a little smaller pocket with a zip for your valuables.
Mesh panels on the side and in some cases on the back are great features as they allow for more ventilation keeping you cool and it’s nice to have some grippers on the arms and on the waist to keep them in place.
Let’s take a look at some of the best.
Isadore Woolight – £75
Extremely lightweight jersey ideal for summer heat riding.
Designed to take advantage of the characteristic look of the Merino wool fibers fabric texture yet staying cool without overheating during the hottest summer rides.
Active moisture vapor transfer and temperature control.
Features long zip to help control body temperature.
Sportful R&D – £75
Sportful say “We made this jersey specifically to help win a Tour de France by keeping the Tinkoff Saxo riders as cool as possible when the temperature climbs.”
Diablo Mesh fabric for climbing the hottest mountains
AirMesh fabric on shoulders for extra stretch and perfect fit
Raw-cut sleeve edge lies flat and is extremely comfortable
Rapha Lightweight Jersey – £90
I guess if there’s a “best of” list with cycling, Rapha is always going to be in there for it’s known quality and style. This comes with a newly refined pocket construction for more stability and support, the Super-Lightweight is designed for riding in the heat of summer. Made from three synthetic technical fabrics developed exclusively for Rapha, the main body material is comfortable against the skin as you perspire and also fast drying. Mesh side panels add more breathability and soft cuffs and collar maintain comfort.
Castelli Climbers – £75
Castelli say “When we created this jersey we primarily focused on making it light for the big alpine climbs as well as cool for hot days. A real Tour de France jersey if there ever was one. But we didn’t want to completely ignore aerodynamics, so we used patterning similar to our Aero Race 5.1 Jersey, which we knew was fast. The resulting jersey is extremely cool and light and instantly became a favorite with our pro riders.”
Merlin Core £17.99
A simple but effective jersey for cycling. Slightly more relaxed cut than most traditional jerseys but still made from performance fabric. Complete with three pockets on the back for handy essentials.
Given it’s price at around £20, this is a bargain and it shows that not all good kit comes at a high price, so if you’re on a budget – this is the jersey for you.
The dhb Blok Micro Jersey is not only beautifully bright and fun it offers outstanding function. Constructed from a naturally wicking fabric this helps to draw excess moisture away from the skin to keep you dry. It has been finished with anti-bacterial properties which prevents the build up of bacteria to keep you feeling fresher and more comfortable whilst riding.