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Cycling Shirts Guide: Tips For Buying The Best Cycling Shirts

Updated on January 11, 2011

Cycling for some is a leisurely activity, but for others it's an intense sport. In places like France and many places in America it is a competitive sport with cyclists giving their best to win international events like Tour de France, an annual bicycle event that drives people by hordes to watch this amazing spectacle of cycle racing.

Apart from high fitness levels, good footwear, great diet, there is also equal amount of importance given to the right kind of cycling shirt for a comfortable ride. A cycling shirt is also sometimes referred to as a cycling jersey. These jerseys are designed in such a way that it not only makes the rider look good but also offers extreme comfort while riding. Almost all professional cyclists wear these cycling shirts as it represents their team or sponsor as well.

Womens Cycling Shirts
Womens Cycling Shirts

The most serious cyclists, and those involved in professional cycling, prefer to wear specially designed cycling shirts during a race. The main objective of these shirts is to offer comfort to the racer while he pedals intensely towards the finishing line, but they also help show the design of the team or sponsor of the cyclist. Most of the materials used in manufacturing such cycling shirts are capable of soaking moisture that is produced on your skin during such a rigorous workout, to keep them a little cooler and more comfortable. This feature is called wicking. Different materials are used to achieve this wicking capability, things like microfibers or bamboo charcoal.

During the hot summer days most cyclist wear sleeveless or short sleeve cycling jerseys made of light material. But if you are cycling during the cool weather you may consider a wool cycling shirt. Wool cycling jerseys were common at one time, but with the invention of other materials they aren't used quite as often anymore. As you can see cycling jerseys come in a variety of types according to the climate and other conditions.

Many cycling jerseys are made out of polyester because polyester cycling shirts work well at soaking the moisture from your skin and they dry faster. This is the reason why most cyclists prefer polyester or a blend of polyester and lycra for their bike jerseys. But it's not always a regular polyester, many cycling jerseys are made from a polyester microfiber that works well to wick moisture from the skin. The comfort of the cyclist and the performance of the shirt are high priorities for companies that manufacture professional biking jerseys.

Mens Cycling Shirt
Mens Cycling Shirt

Features Of Cycling Shirts

One of the chief and prominent features of cycling shirts is the long cut in the back of the jersey. This is an important characteristic of any cycling jersey because this cut makes the shirt fit more comfortably while constantly bent forward.

Another popular feature of cycling shirts is the position and type of pockets.  Pockets are generally on the back of the shirt because if they are in the front things can fall out more easily while in the bent forward racing position.  Some cycling t shirts come with zipper pockets which will prevent this or elasticized rear pockets.  You can also find bike jerseys with sweat proof electronic pockets to protect your mp3 player or cell phone.

Cycling jerseys are usually form fitting but at the same time they shouldn't be so tight that they they don't allow easy breathing for the skin. But they shouldn't be loose because you don't want the material flapping in the wind creating more resistance.  

Some cyclists choose to wear jerseys with zippers that can be opened when the racer feels hot. This helps him to cool down by allowing air inside. Others prefer shirts that have vents or vent panels to help cool the rider.  However, some cyclists prefer skin fit shirts that are air resistant. As you can see finding the right shirt can vary quite a bit based on personal preference. 

Things to keep in mind when shopping for or buying a cycling shirt are the fit, the material and design (lightweight, wicking, stretchable), functional pockets, overall comfort and design.  The fit and features may vary a bit depending on whether you're a professional cyclist or recreational cyclist.

Where Can I Buy The Right Cycling Shirt For Me?

Cycling shirts at a higher level are generally sponsored by big brands, hence they are covered with the brand logos. However, one can order his or her own customized jersey. Sometimes when you buy a cycling t shirt off the rack, you may not get the exact jersey you want, so personalized cycling jerseys are preferred for the serious cyclist.

The price of a cycling jersey may vary according to size, design, material and mainly the brand of the shirt. Ordering your cycling shirt online gives you the benefit of choosing from a wide variety of brands and materials available and it allows you to both find and buy exactly what you want for a much better price. But you can also find some great shirts at shops that specialize in outdoor gear but better yet shops that specialize strictly in cycling and cycling gear.


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