They may all look the same just with different colours but look closer and you’ll see many well thought out features cyclists will appreciate. A quality, well fitting short sleeve cycling jersey offers both comfort and usefulness.
Modern jerseys help regulate temperature, deal with sweat transfer and the rear pockets are invaluable making it very easy to carry small items.
The type of riding you do will also dictate which fit is best for you. If you are racing then a tighter fitting jersey is best but for more leisurely rides where comfort is key then a more relaxed cut will be better.
A lot of manufacturers offer several types of fit from aero to relaxed with most people going for the middle ground to get the best of both worlds. Female specific designs have come a long way in the last few years with most manufacturers now catering for the female form in their range.
Whichever style you choose just remember to get in the tuck position when trying on as this is how the jersey will feel when riding and can be vastly different from standing up straight.
Modern materials offer a huge range of benefits. Breathability, ventilation, waterproof, windproof, UV protection, compression and aero properties can all be achieved in many different variations.
Summer jerseys tend to be lightweight, breathable, well ventilated and offer UV protection. Apart from the front zip, mesh panels offer great ventilation and when placed in key areas do an amazing job of letting cool air in.
The latest developments in fabrics and design means companies like Castelli are now offering the legendary Gabba jersey which combines water, windproof and thermal properties in an aero short sleeve jersey.
Strategic placement of different materials can have a massive effect on comfort and fit. Different panels can be made from different materials to offer better ventilation, water/wind resistance or aero benefits depending on your needs.
The zip on the front of a jersey offers easy temperature regulation. They are available in three lengths; short, ¾ and full. Short zips are fine for most situations but for warmer climates a longer zip or full length is recommended as it allows more cooling airflow round the upper body (oh how we’d love to have that problem!)
All road short sleeve cycling jerseys have rear pockets at the bottom of the back. These make carrying small items such as phones, spares and food much easier as they are out of your way but still within reach.
A zip compartment is a very useful feature (for money or keys) and is usually on the outside of the pocket so as to still allow space inside the pocket.
Just don’t overload the pockets though or the jersey will be hanging down over your saddle!
No one likes to see a flappy jersey so grippers on the hem and cuff are important. A good gripper on the hem keeps the jersey in place and stops it sagging when the pockets are full. Arm grippers come in several styles from traditional gripper to mesh or a one piece aero fabric.
Which short sleeve cycling jersey should you buy?
Ultimately. the fit of cycling jerseys is the most important characteristic when choosing a jersey but a rough guide is: aero for racing and speed related events, a relaxed fit for longer leisurely rides. For most of us a compromise between the two will be best.