Not all cycling jerseys were made the same – find out how to choose the best one for you at Decathlon with this guide!
So you've bought a bike and are busy exploring Singapore on two wheels! You probably hopped right on with your running sneakers, a comfy cotton t-shirt and your everyday shorts.
Nothing wrong with that, but did you know that cycling clothing was created for this very purpose?
Let's find out more about cycling jerseys - join us as we break it down for you!
Clothing made specifically for cycling didn't emerge until the early 20th century, when cycling began to take off as not just a means of transport but as a form of recreation and sport.
It was made from wool - perfect for keeping warm in winter and wicking away sweat in summer - but not so great in the rainy spring and fall months. We simply can't imagine wearing wool for cycling in our humid tropical weather!
It was only in the middle of the century when textile manufacturers started mixing naturally derived materials like cotton with synthetic components like polyurethane, that sporting apparel (including cycling jerseys), started to look more like what we see today.
Road cycling jerseys tend to be form-fitting and cut close to the body. The main reason is aerodynamics, as a loose-fitting jersey would act as a parachute, adding drag and making the rider work harder for the same amount of speed.
It is also for this reason that in recent years, racing jerseys have gotten progressively longer sleeves, as it was found in wind-tunnel tests that fabric presents less aerodynamic drag than bare skin.
This is also why time trial and track cyclists tend to wear full-sleeve bodysuits, as they are mainly concerned with aerodynamics and less with comfort or heat management.
Because road cycling jerseys are so form-fitting, they are usually designed with full front zip to enable the rider to easily put it on.
Mountain bike jerseys tend to be looser cut than road cycling jerseys because aerodynamic drag is simply not as big a factor when riding off-road, while freedom of movement is much more prized.
Thus, a more comfortable and laidback fit can be achieved at no detriment to riding performance.
Mountain bike jerseys are also usually made of slightly thicker and more abrasion-resistant fabrics as the chances of scraping against rocks or branches are a lot higher. Thanks to the loose cut, it's not necessary to incorporate a zip into the design.
It's worth noting that Cross-Country (XC) mountain bike race jerseys are very similar in form and function to Road Cycling jerseys, as speed is paramount over comfort.
While known more popularly by brand names such as Lycra or Spandex, elastane is in fact the generic name of the component that gives stretchy fabrics their elastic properties.
Most jersey fabrics are usually a blend of elastane and polyester. This blend results in a fabric that is not only elastic but breathable - two very useful characteristics when it comes to sports apparel.
Where stretchiness is of a higher priority, such as on our form-fitting road racing jerseys, a higher proportion of elastane (around 25%) is used.
For road endurance and mountain bike jerseys, that amount is reduced to around 16%, making for a less elastic (thus less form-fitting) but more breathable jersey.
Although cycling jerseys may not look much different from any other tight-fitting tops or t-shirts, there are in fact a multitude of interesting features that our designers have incorporated into the design.
One of the more innovative features that our designers have come up with is the inclusion of a layer of Merino wool in the armpit area to not only wick away sweat but also reduce odour from perspiration.
This feature can be found on the Triban RC500 jerseys and is a great example of a practical yet innovative and user-centric approach to product design.
One of the more obvious and distinguishing features of cycling jerseys is the inclusion of back pockets.
Some cyclists prefer not to carry a bag with them while cycling, be it on the bike or person, so having one or more pockets sewn into the jersey is quite handy for stowing items like nutrition bars, spare tubes or a multitool.
On our mountain bike jerseys, our designers have made sure to incorporate zips into the pockets, as the probability of stuff falling out is a lot higher when riding offroad!
Speaking of pockets, another one of our favourite features has to be the ST 100 Long-Sleeve Jersey's ability to be packed into its own pocket.
It definitely makes for a handy travel companion on all-day mountain bike trips where one might expect to get wet and require a change of clothes. Or maybe just to save luggage space!
We hope the above information was interesting or useful to you, and you can now decide if a cycling jersey is something you might want to invest in. And if so, you will know what features or characteristics to look out for that would suit your style of riding best.
Don't forget to check out our other cycling Sports Advice articles! As always, stay safe and keep pedalling!