A decent cycling jersey is a kit staple for any triathlete. Key features include breathable panels along the sides and back which have sweat-wicking properties, a zip garage to avoid uncomortable catching on the skin, coupled with smooth YKK zippers. In terms of storage, look for a jersey with deep yet secure pockets, while a separate zip-up pocket for keys and other valuables is also extremely useful. Some jerseys also come complete with funky designs, a skin-tight fit, or refelctive strips, so you should be able to find a top to fit your individual style and purpose.
Best 2021 women’s short-sleeved cycling jerseys
Inspired by the relaxing qualities of shapes and patterns, the Kaleidoscope jersey felt silky smooth and pliable when on, allowing for complete freedom of movement for any position on the bike. The ribbed ‘Arms Neutral’ sleeves proved to be a unique feature, being cut at an angle so that they fall straight and aero when the arms are in a forward position. While we liked the colourful design and thoughtful mesh underarm panel, the arms felt a touch tight and restrictive for us, though may be fine for slimmer builds.
As a whole, the jersey sat a little long for our torso, while the extreme stretch of the fabric meant that packed back pockets bounced about a little on bumpy roads. Due to the heat-absorbing nature of black fabric, the Kaleidoscope would be better suited for cooler summer rides. Having said that, it did dry impressively quick despite a lack of mesh panels like others on test.
Verdict: Great value for momey and a colourful design, but warm on hot sunny rides, 85%
Santini Delta Pietra
This stylish and slim-fitting jersey from Santini is designed to keep you cool during hot rides with its Polartec Power four-way stretch fabric, which feels sleek and figure-hugging when on. Santini claims that the Polartec Delta on the back panel and under arms delivers fast transmission of sweat for ‘rapid drying’ and it certainly works a charm, keeping us cool during long, hot sessions.
One of the best-looking jerseys on test, the Delta comes complete with aero, raw-cut sleeves and a tapered collar, while its kept effectively in place thanks to an elasticated silicone hemline. Looks are only slightly let down by the oversized zip garage, and we’d prefer to have a zip-up back pocket for valuables, though three large back pockets do provide plenty of room for nutrition and any other essentials. Santini kit typically runs small, so it was no surprise to find a size small delivered a skin-tight fit for this UK8 tester.
Verdict: Breathable and tylish, with some room for improvement, 88%
Le Col Women Hors Categorie
The latest offering from Le Col’s premium cycling range, the Hors Categorie Jersey, claims to provide an ‘unbeatable on-bike experience’ thanks to the fourway stretch polyamide fabric. Admittedly, it feels extremely soft and comfortable against the skin, but it’s the thickestfeeling fabric on test. As a result, it’d be our choice for cooler summer rides over the more porous Santini and Trimtex.
The quality build extends to the fit, which is secure and snug thanks to an elasticated hemline gripper and laser-cut stretchpanels along the arms. Comfort continues with the unobtrusive zip-garage. Large elasticated back pockets provide plenty of space to stuff bars and gels, while a smaller zip pocket complete with water-resistant lining proved useful in protecting keys and small valuables, though it’s not large enough to stash a phone. For safety in low visibility, we found the reflective back strip a thoughtful feature.
Verdict: Supreme quality and the most comfortable jersey on test, 92%
The Trimtex Vitric is a lightweight jersey best suited for hot summer cycling. The jersey has a slim, tight fit that doesn’t feel too restrictive thanks to the stretch in the fabric, while porous sections help you avoid overheating when on the fly. We like the panelled design with thinner mesh sections along the sides and back aiding ventilation and speeding up water-wicking, while a more solid knit fabric on the front and arms serves as protection from the wind and sun.
Though we’re not sure about the orange and grey stripe colourway, and would prefer a tapered collar, we admittedly had no complaints in terms of comfort, with a zip garage helping to avoid any catching on the skin and an elasticated silicone hem keeping the jersey in place. One of our favourite features of the Vitric is the three elasticated back pockets with additional zip key pocket, which provide plenty of space for a phone, bars and spare inner tube.
Verdict: Highly breathale and lightweight jersey for long-distance rides, 86%
Buy now from Trimtex
It may be the cheapest on test, but that didn’t stop Sundried’s flattering black Stealth jersey impressing in the comfort department, thanks to its smooth feel and soft zip garage. In terms of functionality, the YKK zipper makes it easy to adjust, and the back zip pocket was a perfect size for stashing a phone and keys – though we’d like to see a smaller compartment or hook to secure the latter. The four-way stretch of the Stealth has kept its form well and we’re optimistic about Sundried’s claim that it ‘won’t lose its shape after years of wearing and washing’.
A medium fit our UK8 tester with a little room to spare, but we had to disregard Sundried’s arguably arbitrary weight suggestions for sizing, which just didn’t compute. The elasticated anti-slip band along the bottom of the jersey looked svelte, but could be made more secure with the addition of silicone. Three sizeable back pockets means this jersey is suitable for going the distance.
Verdict: A comfortable and reasonbly-priced staple, but could be more practical, 79%