Choosing the correct cycling clothes for beginners can be a daunting task. With such a wide variety of clothing out there, it can be difficult to find the combination that will best suit your type of riding, while maintaining a high level of quality and value. To make your decision easier, we’ve assembled a cycling clothing guide to help you make the best choice.
How a Cycling Jersey Differs from a Regular Shirt
Cycling Jerseys need to put up with a ton of abuse. Because of this, the level of quality in a jersey becomes very apparent after a few rides. The material of a cycling jersey needs to have very specific qualities in order to have good performance and comfort.
A cycling jersey has very thought out, and purposeful construction, which is unnecessary in a regular shirt, but makes all the difference when riding. A regular shirt will definitely work, but things like temperature regulation, moisture control, and breathability just aren’t there. Cycling jerseys have features like rear pockets and full-length zippers, which make them very versatile on the road.
When you get working hard, you tend to move lots. Flexible material will conform to your body in a much more natural way, and will just feel like a “second skin”. Our own Montella Cycling Jerseys come with a rubber waist gripper to prevent sagging and unwanted movement, which is a must-have on all cycling jerseys.
When a cycling jersey is too thin, sweat-handling can become an issue, but breathability and staying cool should be great. A well-constructed jersey will be made of multiple materials to give you the best of both worlds. Front and back polyester provide light-weight moisture-control but mesh side panels enhance airflow.
Cycling Padded Shorts
By far the most important piece of cycling equipment is the padded shorts. If you ask any experienced rider what the most essential piece of clothing for cycling is, they’ll say padded shorts. This is an investment you will not regret making, as it can transform the comfort of any bike.
Padded shorts offer protection from chafing, and make your saddle much, much more comfortable. If you don’t have padded shorts, and also experience saddle discomfort, this should be your first step. One of the most common issues new cyclists run into is general discomfort on the saddle. Without having padded shorts, you can run into multiple health issues which can be threatening to your riding. The actual padding on the shorts should be multi-density, and/or have cutouts/contours to provide you with an ergonomic fit to reduce pressure points.
Our own Montella Cycling bib shorts come with a breathable, contoured silicone gel pad, which will transform the way any saddle feels, and make those long days on the bike feel shorter.
Necessary Arm and Leg Warmers
If you set out on a ride early morning or late evening, there can be a dramatic temperature change mid-ride. If this is an issue for you, one of the best choices is to go with arm or leg warmers. They provide excellent warmth but can be easily shed and fit in your rear pockets if needed. An added benefit of the arm and leg warmers is that they can provide protection from the sun, wind, and rain, while still giving you light and fast feeling clothing.
On chilly days, initially warming up can be challenging. Leg warmers help to speed up the process without risking any injury, then can be stashed away when they’re unnecessary. When selecting leg or arm warmers, look for a thickness based on the temperature of your riding. A very important piece to check for is rubber/silicone grippers to ensure they stay in place. Another piece you may be interested in is waterproofing. Many manufacturers offer a waterproof coating, which repels light rain and keeps you dry.
Long Sleeve Jerseys for when it gets Extra Cold
On days that there’s a bone-chilling breeze in the air, you may need something a little more. Long sleeve cycling jerseys give you better insulation and breathability than arm warmers will, but don’t offer the same versatility. If you want a lighter weight, warmer, more comfortable option over arm warmers, then go with a long sleeve jersey.
If you want better wind-breaking or thermal insulation, we recommend our thermal-fleece lining option. Temperatures from 3-10 degrees are perfect for the added thermal layer, and it will have better moisture-wicking ability as well.
Cycling gloves can be used to prevent blistering, and protect your fingers. One of the overlooked aspects of gloves is the protection they give if you fall. Many times gloves will have padding on the palms to give increased comfort when you’re on the bars. More padding can make your hands sweaty, so for road biking, it’s nice to have fingerless gloves.
On the other hand, if you’re worried about cold fingers (which happens from the wind), then gloves that have fingers are very effective. When choosing thermal gloves, make sure you don’t go too thick, because the mobility of the fingers will get increasingly challenging.
How cycling cap is different from other caps
Cycling caps are very different from normal caps. Cycling caps are made of thin, moisture-wicking materials that are able to fit underneath a helmet. Cycling caps have an elastic band to ensure a tight fit, which helps with controlling crazy hair, or sweat dripping into your eyes.
In later seasons, a winter-specific cycling cap can serve as a thermal regulator piece to prevent too much heat from being lost through your head. Depending on the temperatures, you could also use a non-thermal cap for light warmth. The flexible peak can also be flipped down to protect your eyes from the bright sun.