There’s nothing like the thought of pulling on a nice new cycling jersey to give you that added push to get out and ride. And let’s face it, we could all do with a bit of a treat right now.
We’ve picked out 10 of the best tops on the market right now. They come in a mix of racy styles for sporty riders, and others with a more relaxed fit that will suit those who just want to get out and enjoy the sun.
There’s a wide choice of materials from luxurious merino wool through to body-hugging Lycra.
Hoping to shave seconds off your fastest times on Strava? Look out for race-cut jerseys with a tighter fit and longer arms to help you slip through the air.
And if you’re looking forward to some long distance adventures later in the year, opt for a more comfortable fit and larger pockets to store your spare clothing and snacks.
It’s also worth considering jerseys with water repellent features and reflective elements for when the light fades… this is the UK after all.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Café du Cycliste eglantine merino
You pedalled through the winter lockdown – doing your bit and helping the NHS by keeping in shape – so you deserve a treat… and this beautiful top from Nice might be what you’re looking for. It’s expensive but it’s a gorgeous, quality garment that should serve you well for a few summers.
The subtle, understated design has great features including reinforced pockets that resist sagging, super-stretchy side panels to help it mould to your body shape. There’s also an extra length zip guard at the neck for added comfort. The merino blend fabric feels beautifully soft next to the skin and will help to regulate your temperature better than fully synthetic fabrics.
Buy now £152.00, Cafeducycliste.com
Stolen Goat supernaut hot climber’s jersey
Looking for something super-light and super-aero for adventures in the summer sun? This could be the answer to your dreams. We love the low-cut neckline which feels great and gives it a really sporty look.
Stolen Goat have used a clever fabric called coollight for the main body sections to help prevent overheating – we can’t tell you how well it works on the road as it was still grey and cool during our testing, but it works great if you wear it on your indoor trainer on Zwift. That dayglo-style chevron pattern looks fabulous but won’t appeal to everyone – if it’s not your cup of teas have a look at the white or Belgian blue versions instead.
Buy now £90.00, Stolengoat.com
Chapeau! club jersey stripe
Hats off to British brand Chapeau! for this smart shirt. It’s a classic, understated design that will appeal to riders who want something that looks traditional but uses modern fabrics to keep you cool and fresh. There are breathable panels at the front and back, stretchy sections at the sides and the standard three pockets at the back. The laser-cut sleeves look great and are nice and clingy so won’t flap in the breeze. Buy it if you want a design that won’t date but will still draw admiring glances when you’re sipping your mid-ride coffee at the cafe.
Buy now £69.99, Chapeau.cc
Lusso momentum short-sleeve
Straight lines and triangles shouldn’t really work together but the combination looks amazing on this fantastic jersey. Those fairly long, laser-cut sleeves with their candy stripe design flatter the arms, while the aero cut of the body helps you slip through the air.
We liked the breathable fabrics used in the main front and rear panels, and although it looks like it was designed in sunnier climes it wears its “made in Manchester” credentials proudly on its sleeve – or at least on the middle of the three rear pockets with its busy bee badge.
Buy now £70.00, Lusso.bike
Le Col pro jersey
Pro by name, pro by nature. This aero top from Le Col has been tested in the wind tunnel and proved to be their fastest yet. The collar’s cut low while the sleeves are slightly longer to provide a more aero profile. Plus, both the sleeves and hem at the waist have silicone grippers to keep them in place while you ride.
With three pockets and a waterproof compartment on the back, there’s plenty of room for your essentials. To round off an excellent, understated item, there’s also a reflective strip on the back to keep you visible in case you get caught out in low-light.
Buy now £125.00, Lecol.cc
Castelli perfetto ROS light
ROS stands for “rain or shine” and as the name suggests, you can wear this top in a wide range of conditions – making it ideal for the British summer! It’s constructed from gore-tex’s brilliant infinium fabric that’s windproof and water-resistant yet still manages to stay breathable. You can wear it on long rides in the summer and then add some arm-warmers and a base-layer and use it in the spring and autumn too.
Castelli have opted for two large pockets, they’ve also included some reflective elements on the back to keep you seen. It’s available in a wide range of colours – from bright orange through to a classy Savile blue.
Buy now £120.00, Wiggle.co.uk
Kalas aero Z1
Kalas supply the kit to some of the world’s best cycling teams and they have clearly used this insight when designing this aero top. With longer, slightly compressive sleeves and a low-cut neck, it’s been designed for fast rides and races. We like the mesh side panels and back to help keep you cool on hot days.
Kalas have also included a waterproof phone case which you can clip in to one of the three decent-sized pockets and a laundry bag to stop your top being damaged in the wash, making it a bit of a bargain bundle. Remember this top is designed to be tight and is quite short at the front, so you might want to size up if you’re a stockier rider.
Buy now £99.00, Kalas.co.uk
Vulpine merino short sleeve polo
If the clingy, sporty lycra look is not for you, take a look at this. It’s like a classic cycling jersey mixed with a modern polo. You can ride to work in it and then wear it around the office without looking out of place.
Vulpine fashioned it from soft merino, meaning you can wear this a few times between washing as the antimicrobial properties of the wool keep it smelling fresh. It’s been cut longer at the back so it suits the riding position and there’s a discrete back pocket with a reflective strip that’s big enough for your phone or wallet.
Buy now £80.00, Vulpine.cc
Rapha pro team training jersey
Rapha have dialled down some of the race-focused features of their pro team top to make this one more practical for day to day riding. The lightweight construction means you’ll stay comfortable even on very warm days, and there’s no excess fabric to flap about in the wind.
We love the extra thick grippers on the sleeves and waistband that hold it secure when riding hard. The three generous pockets have been reinforced to hold any snacks or extra items of clothing you might need. It’s available in 12 different colourways so you’re bound to find a shade you love.
Buy now £85.00, Rapha.cc
The verdict: Men's summer cycling jerseys
Our best buy was also the most expensive jersey we tried out – but let’s face it, who doesn’t deserve a treat after the past year. Cafe du Cycliste have created a gorgeous, luxurious top that feels and looks amazing without any outrageous styling. it’s stitched together from quality merino and should last for years.
Really sporty riders should look to the Kalas aero Z1 and Stolen Goat supernaut hot climber’s jersey’s – both of which have been designed with pure speed in mind. If you plan on riding to the office when things reopen, check out the Vulpine merino short sleeve polo – a cycling-based polo that has hints of the Tour de France tops of old.
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