Ever been on a trail and you are having the best time yet your jersey won’t stop rubbing against your body and keeps itching? Or the sleeves are too baggy and it annoyingly keeps flapping against the wind? Or you stop to take a sip of water and are repulsed by the stench your jersey throws off?
If you have been in one of these situations, you are not wearing the perfect jersey that is meant for you. Riding on mountain bikes for hours on end demands comfortable gear that can keep you warm/cool depending on the temperature, fits you, and keeps your body sweat-free.
In this article, we will discuss the best mountain bike jerseys, their special features, and weigh the pros against the cons. Moreover, we will guide you through the process of shopping for the perfect mountain bike jersey and what you should consider before you get one.
Best Storage Mountain Bike Jersey
Pearl Izumi Canyon
Drop Tail: Yes
Optics Wipe: No
- High-quality construction
- Tailored fit
- Plenty of storage
- Hydration pack friendly
- Back panel wards off heat
- Not the best in terms of fashion
Pearl Izumi is exceptional in giving dirt lovers a slightly looser fit with the Canyon by removing the elastic around the waist. This helps in countering the feeling of wearing spandex unlike most of the jerseys. The rear stash pockets offer enough storage for snacks or a light tool roll that provides enough organization. The center pocket is big enough to fit a winter layer.
A smaller zipper pocket is present for a key which ensures that you can easily leave your pack at home on short rides. If you pedal in hot climates, this jersey is a perfect match for you. The Canyon is perforated and has huge holes on the back and under the arms for maximum breathability.
The combination of a raglan sleeve and a rotated side seams ensures that this jersey is hydration pack friendly. Moreover, the mesh back and side panels help your body manage the heat and keep you cool in warm weather. The relaxed fit makes you feel comfortable on long rides. The semi-auto lock design of the zipper ensures that you can easily tug on it to open and flip it down if you want it locked in place.
Best Budget Mountain Bike Jersey
Gore C5 Trail Shirt
Material: Polyester, elastane
Drop Tail: Yes
Optics Wipe: No
- Fast drying
- Great durability
- Keeps bad smell away
- Slim fit
- Jersey color doesn’t match corresponding Gore Trail shorts color
The construction is based on a lightweight polyester elastane (88%/12%). This allows for an easy, relatively quiet movement and fast-drying from sweat, rain, or puddles. It also means that the material would not smell bad after being drenched. The fabric is also water repellent to reduce soaking in the first place. The elastane fabric provides significant stretchability which allows it to be sized down and snug for speed. It also makes it capable to cope with bulky body armor in a normal size.
The model comes with a multi-panel hem with broad logoed side adjuster straps which gives a stable active fit. A twin press stud and zip fly are incorporated in the design for convenience. The model includes two mesh-lined zippered pockets and a zippered right-hand thigh pocket for storage. The multi-panel frame makes it easily mobile. The details of the shirt add to its attractiveness; such as the reinforced collar or the intricate black reflective strips on the side seams. There are no pockets or glass wipe details but the rest is designed well.
The design is both lightweight and flattering. The rugged, abrasion-resistant fabric makes it surprisingly durable and ensures long life. Moreover, there is a cut version for women at the same price as well.
Best Comfortable Mountain Bike Jersey
Fox Ranger Short Sleeve
Drop Tail: Yes
Optics Wipe: No
- Lightweight fabric
- Ample venting
- Generous fit
- Most comfortable
- Fit may size down
If you are looking for the most comfortable jerseys to wear during long, strenuous mountain bike rides, you have come to the right place. The Ranger DR is the perfect all-around bike jersey. The product is affordable, it looks stylish, and it performs even better. This jersey strikes an ideal balance between more casual tees and technical race jerseys.
The design of the jersey is a perfect construction for hot summertime rides. While the jersey won’t do much to keep you warm on brisk mornings because that’s not the point of this jersey style, it can be your pick for the hottest days. The fitted shoulder panels are comfortable and won’t chafe under a pack, and the mesh back keeps things cool.
If you’re looking for a high-performing jersey that doesn’t break the bank, look no further than the Ranger DR.
The TruDri fabric is soft to touch and is effective in wicking off the moisture from your body to keep you sweat-free. Mesh makes the middle-third portion of the jersey and allows for your body to breathe efficiently. The seams are non-intrusive and the flatlock and stitched, giving you access to plenty of fresh air constantly.
Best Downhill Mountain Bike Jersey
100% R-Core-X DH Jersey
Drop Tail: Yes
Optics Wipe: Yes
- Space for body armor
- Neck brace friendly seams
- Anti-smell fabric
- Styling may be too moto for some
The 100% R-Core X Jersey is a neatly-fitting long sleeve jersey best suited to warm weather. It’s relaxed, comfortable and it’s obvious how far the brand has gone to save weight. The color scheme won’t be for everyone, though, and the cuffs can rise.
The construction of R-Core X is a blend of polyester and elastane mesh paneling. With its quick-drying and anti-microbial properties, this model triumphs over most of its rival jerseys. Throughout the four-way stretch fabric, you find laser-cut venting, which does a great job of maximizing airflow.
There is a semi-raglan sleeve, with the seams situated so they won’t interfere with a neck brace. The fit is slim and snugs around the arms perfectly, plus there is enough room for body armor underneath.
If you are looking for a jersey to wear during the warm season while going downhill, this one is the perfect fit for you.
Best Enduro Mountain Bike Jersey
Specialized Enduro Air
Drop Tail: Yes
Optics Wipe: No
- SPF protective
- 100% recycled
- Loose without too much flap
- Good for aggressive trail riding
- Handles moisture and heat well
- Not the coolest design
This model is a summertime Enduro kit for aggressive trail riding for both riding the Specialized Stumpjumper trail bike or the rock-consuming Enduro bike. The different VaporRize fabric helps the jersey battle moisture and heat during strenuous rides.
The material is 100 percent recycled and hence a great service to the environment. If you are someone who cares about the ecosystem, you will be pleased by the mindfulness and consideration behind this model. Another great feature is that it is certified with SPF 30 for complete sun protection.
The fabric has a silky quality that feels great against the skin. It handles the water and sweat very well. The medium-loose cut is baggy enough to be comfortable but at the same time, it does not flap in the wind too much. The sleeves and hem length are generous too. To style it up, you can also match this jersey with Specialized’s Enduro Pro Shorts.
Laser-cut holes up the inner thigh of the baggies help ‘personal cooling’ too and there is a zip and double-popper fly for nature breaks.
Key Considerations Before Buying Mountain Bike Jersey
If you just read the review, you will need a set of factors to navigate through the guideline for mountain bike jerseys. Here are some of the factors you need to consider before you invest in your MTB jersey with brief explanations of why they are important:
Everyone knows sweat-wicking fabrics are suitable, but how fast a fabric dries after moving the moisture away from your skin is essential. If your jersey is too soggy for too long, it will give you the chills once you start to cool down.
Antibacterial treatments are also a helpful feature. Unfortunately, most of the fabrics designed for excellence in transporting sweat can eventually start to smell. All of us have been halfway into a ride, and then our armpits overtake us – but it should not have to be that way.
You might also want to consider the weight of the material. As a general rule of thumb, heavier fabrics give more protection but can be warm in the summer months. Lightweight, more open mesh is lighter and more relaxed but can also be less durable.
Some jerseys combine several fabrics to bring together the benefits of each and get the best of both worlds. For example, a regular solid knit through the body, with mesh inserts under the arms or down the sides, and more durable panels on the shoulders and sleeves to protect against pack rub.
Before you buy a jersey, you should be comfortable in the riding position. The jersey should not be restricting your movement. Moreover, it should not bind you which might end up being an awkward fit on you. Most importantly, in the jersey, you should have a longer rear hem or ‘drop tail,’. The fir may also influence the placement of seams, moving them away from areas that rub off on each other.
There are a lot of varieties that mountain bike jerseys have to offer you. They come in short, three-quarter, long sleeve varieties. A raglan sleeve that starts at the collar and whose seam runs down under the armpit is the ideal one among all. These sleeves allow greater mobility and enable the seam to move well clear of backpack straps to prevent chafing.
Longer sleeves will keep you warmer but they also have the advantage of providing greater protection from trailside plants, branches, and other minor injuries that may incur you. Don’t get jerseys with sleeves that are baggy because they will flap too much and get in the way.
Other features may include:
A glass wipe can be sewn under the hem at the front of the jersey. It can also be a separate microfibre wipe on a tag in a pocket. The design is used for cleaning goggles or glasses.
Many of the jerseys are treated with anti-bacterial solutions or products such as bamboo, charcoal, metallic elements, or special compounds that equip the fabric with the ability to fend off the bad smell.
The mesh back panel should ensure a distance between your shirt and the body. Some fabrics are responsible for increasing wicking in the area. Lightweight jerseys offer more breathable options.
Pockets are not essential but are a great feature for storing your car keys, phone, wallet, and other small items. If you have deep pockets, zips are not that important.
The prices of these jerseys can vary dramatically. One of the most important considerations you need to keep in mind is the budget you have. If you are someone who is looking for a small investment, go for a basic functional jersey such as the Gore C5 Trail Shirt. However, if you want bonus features and have the money to spend, Fox Ranger or Specialized Enduro Air are the ones for you.
Since mountain bike rides can be excruciatingly long and sometimes uncomfortable, it is important to invest in a jersey that will keep you snug and comfortable on the long rides. You will need to keep all the above considerations in mind, especially the fit and fabric of the jersey. Make sure that you get durable clothing for your adventures so that it can keep up with your frequent use in the wild. Remember to be mindful of your budget and get something that you are comfortable in and can use for a long time.