How Should A Cycling Jersey Fit?

Written by : Mr Mamil
Last updated :

Before we discuss how a jersey should fit, it’s important to talk about the different types of fit. For many brands, the sizing chart can be the same, but the fit can vary significantly.

Type of jersey fits

Here are the three types of jersey fitting.

  • Club fit, sometimes referred to as a relaxed fit, is looser and has more materials. It offers minimal compression and is not 100% snug against the body. It’s usually worn by those who aren’t looking for performance gains or aren’t ready or comfortable in tight-fitting clothing yet.
  • Race fit is where most cyclists end up eventually. It provides enough compression and is snug against the body. Some cyclists need to size up if they’re going from a club fit to a race fit.
  • Pro fit, sometimes called aero fit, is super-tight and is not for everyone. In many cases, one would need to go one or two sizes up.

Jersey sizing

Sizing varies depending on where the clothing brand is located. You can be wearing a Medium for Brand A and X-Small for Brand B.

If we take US sizing as the starting point, European sizing can run one or two sizes smaller. These days, there are upcoming Asian brands and hence, Asian sizing, which is similar to European sizing.

More reading : Assos vs Castelli vs Rapha Clothing Comparison

How a jersey should fit

Snug like a second skin

The jersey should wrap around your upper body without restricting your arm movements. Look out for any creases and wrinkles around the chest and shoulder area.

If you can pinch up more than half an inch of fabric, the jersey is too loose for you. Conversely, you also want to avoid one that is too tight that you’ll have trouble zipping it up.

Longer at the back, shorter at the front

Cycling jerseys are designed to be worn on the bike. As your hunch over in the riding position, your front torso shortens, and your back torso lengthens.

The different lengths are meant to provide your upper body with enough cover in the riding position. For some, it may feel weird and look silly, but it’s normal.

2” below the belly button

As you hunch over, the front of the jersey shortens and causes excess fabric where it bunches up near the chest area. Some refer to this as stomach wiener, which can cause discomfort when riding.

Longer sleeves

The ideal sleeve length is between 1 to 2” above the elbow when you’re standing up and off the bike. The sleeves will roll up as you extend your hands over the handlebars. If you feel the sleeve length is normal when off the bike, chances are it’ll be too short while riding. If it’s too short, it will dig into your armpits uncomfortable

The sleeves should be snug to prevent flapping. This sound of fabric flapping is one of the most annoying things, especially when you’re going fast.

No sagging waist

The wait grippers should be snug when the pockets are empty. As you fill up the rear pockets with your smartphone, wallet, energy bars, mini pumps, and inner tubes, the pockets will start to sag.

Having a sagging waist, to begin with, will cause the sag to be worse when the pockets are full.

A full front zip

A full zip not only makes it easier to pull on and remove the jersey but also allows for more ventilation on hot days. And they look cool too.

Three rear pockets

The majority of cycling jerseys today come with three pockets. The reason is to evenly distribute the pocket load between the left, middle, and right. Start with the middle pocket for the heavier and largest items, and then the side pockets.

Some brands have an extra fourth zippered pocket that overlays on top for important items such as keys.

Try at the shop if possible

With the rise of online shopping, I know this is not always possible. You can ask around your riding group if anyone has experience with a particular brand you’re interested in. Check their customer reviews and oftentimes you’ll see reviews with information such as rider height, weight, and type of fit.

Keep all the points mentioned above when trying on the jersey.

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