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Choosing the perfect cycling jersey and shorts

Searching for the perfect cycling jersey and shorts is made a lot easier when you follow the golden rule of cycle clothing, which is to always, always be guided by your local weather, terrain, personal ride preferences (road, trail, all-mountain etc) and ride regularity when making a purchase.

Now we've got that out of the way, let's pretend you're looking for a do-it all cycling jersey and shorts set - something perfectly suited to conquering a summer road riding club run as much as a fast cross country trail session in comfort and style.

The Cycling Jersey

The most important rule - never wear a cycling jersey that is too big for you; it will sag at the back once you add ride accessories (inner tube, snacks etc) to the rear pockets, but worst of all, its fabric will not be able to correctly move moisture from the first layer to the exterior if it does not fit your body. More than anything, even the least stylish, painful to look at lurid yellow jersey can be significantly improved (and your ride made much more enjoyable) if the fit is right. So, always follow the size chart, or read reviews from other cyclists on the respective product page - no excuses!

Now that the importance of getting a great fit is in your mind, what do you need from your jersey? In general terms, a full front zip is a great idea. When you start to overheat on a leg-breaker of a mountain, sometimes crawling to a stop, flinging that zip down, lowering the head and silently mouthing a heartfelt 'b*llocks' is the only reasonable thing to do. To that end - make sure the jersey has a full zip.

Moving on to rear pockets and you'll be needing three deep ones, plus a zippered 4th for valuables would be a nice but not always necessary bonus - carrying ride snacks, spare inner tubes and of course a wind resistant stowaway cycling jacket as protection against weather changes or fast descents, will all take up space.

Price-wise, generally speaking the more you pay, the better the finishing, fabrics and in effect, greater longevity of the jersey. Cycling jerseys are now pretty technical pieces with in most cases, great ergonomics, but once again, look to your personal ride preferences before deciding on budget and making a purchase.

The Cycling Shorts

We've written before about how to choose the perfect pair of cycling bib shorts, so rather than repeat ourselves here, we'll instead focus on the key points to consider when buying a cycling bib short, the most important of which is to think about how regularly & how far you'll be cycling each week. Do you just head out for weekend spins? Are you out every day without fail? Do you often cycle over 100kms with your club more than twice a week? What you spend on your shorts is pretty much directly linked to how far you'll be able to ride in comfort. The higher the price (generally speaking), the more panels that create a better fit, the better quality fabrics, and the more comfortable the seat pad for regular big mile rides.

Now we've hopefully got you thinking about your personal ride requirements, you're ready to begin the search for the perfect cycling jersey & shorts, so please take a look at our cycling jerseys and cycling bib shorts categories, where you can find a great selection of brands & price-points, with plenty of helpful guidance along the way.

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About the Rider: Peter
Co-founder of Always Riding, Pete enjoys road, trail and a good city commute. Most of all though, he loves chatting to other riders, the mid-ride stop after a leg-breaking ascent, and a cup of tea at the end of the ride. There is no truth in the rumour that he likes to wear women's clothes and hang around in bars. No truth at all.
@alwaysriding
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