Jerseys aren't just about looking good. These will keep you comfortable in summer and winter, with plenty of high performance technical features and fabrics, and options to suit all budgets.
The best mountain bike jersey for you will depend on a few factors; what discipline you ride, weather conditions, personal comfort and of course personal style. But whatever you go for, rest assured that the following jerseys have been thoroughly ridden and tested by us, so if they’re on here, they’re guaranteed to be good.
If you’re looking to refresh your whole riding wardrobe then slide on over to our guide to best mountain bike shorts. We’ve also got buyer’s guides for the best mountain bike waterproof jackets as well as the best riding pants/trousers and best mountain bike shorts.
Neat features and trendy styling
Weight: 111g | Sizes: XS – XXL | Colours: Purple, light grey, dark grey, navy, green | Rating: 9/10
Pros: Subtle, stylish and breathable, comes with repair patches
Cons: No pockets or glasses wipe; gets a bit smelly
While not exactly ground-breaking, this Trail Tech T-Shirt shows that Rapha’s entry to the mountain bike market is carefully considered and well executed; we’ve been impressed with the pieces we’ve tried so far. On-trail performance is good, the styling brings something slightly different to the table and the post-purchase back-up improves the green credentials as well as improving long term value.
The lightweight fabric blends 68% recycled polyester with 32% virgin polyester and is woven in a honeycomb pattern that is designed to lift the cloth above the skin for better wicking. There are no features such as a pocket or glasses wipe, but this does keep the weight down and the price more competitive. There’s also a four-way stretch that helps with mobility when getting dynamic on the bike.
The fit is best described as regular – neither tight nor baggy – with a shape that’s tailored to the riding position. When standing upright there’s a tightness across the upper chest and neck that disappears as you drop into your riding position. On the bike it’s certainly a comfortable jersey, where its standout features are its low weight and good wicking properties. Even on hot, sweaty rides we didn’t get clammy or sticky. However, despite boasting an antimicrobial finish, it did get a bit smelly.
Rapha also produces a women’s version of Trail Technical t-shirt, which comes with a different cut, sizes and colour options.
A back-to-basics design at a keen price
Weight: 119g (L) | Sizes: S – XXL | Colours: Tangerine, Aubergine, Black, Blueberry | Rating: 8/10
Pros: Reasonably priced. Unfussy design. Recycled fabric
Cons: Basic cut and fabrics. Can wet out easily if you sweat a lot. Gets stinky
Alongside a focus on eco credentials, Scottish brand Endura involves its sponsored riders – such as Danny MacAskill and the Athertons – in design collaborations to ensure excellent function. These riders use this kit day in, day out, in the harsh environments of the Scottish Highlands and North Wales, so it has to perform.
This simple Core Tee II is very much a back-to-basics design. As such, it’s just a t-shirt-shaped riding top with the added ability to wick moisture, dry fast and breathe better than a standard cotton jersey fabric. The sizing is pretty generous with plenty of room across the shoulders and lats and the review sample sized bigger than most others we tested. The sizing is pretty generous with plenty of room across the shoulders and lats and the review sample sized bigger than most others we tested.
A polyester perforated fabric helps achieve this, sourced from 80% recycled materials and woven with a kind of micro mesh/tea bag style weave. It runs pretty cool while riding along and there’s good air flow, but it can get a bit soggy and saturated with sweat when working hard.
A well cut, high quality summer jersey
Weight: 115g | Sizes: XS – XXL | Colours: Black, bottle blue, cinnamon, douglas fir | Rating: 9/10
Pros: Fast drying and cool. Well made. Brand has ethical values.
Cons: Low on features: no rear pocket or optics wipe
Designed and tested in Canada, 7mesh’s Roam short sleeve shirt is the brand’s staple trail riding top, in what it calls a mid-weight fabric and a subtle style. It’s actually lighter than many other brands’ summer tops at just over 100g, but not quite as thin as the brand’s flyweight Sight shirt.
The fit is athletic without being skin tight and the fit tapers in a bit towards the waist rather than hanging down all flappy.
7mesh’s top doesn’t look that complex, or use any multiple fabric types or panels for the £50 asking price, but what it does do is deliver while riding. The material really breathes well, dries rapidly and has an SPF 50 treatment to stop UV light getting through on blazing sunny days.
The 7mesh Roam SS shirt gets our vote as the best summer jersey on test. With a high quality construction, a great fit and well-chosen fabric, it performs well and justifies its price tag.
A great blend of comfort, styling and fit
Weight: 145g | Sizes: XS – XL | Colours: Light khaki, Orion blue, Sahara | Rating: 9/10
Pros: Soft against skin fabric with great cut. Long front zip is very useful
Cons: Expensive. Longer arms can cling to limbs. Material can snag on foliage
UK outdoors brand Rab recently launched the Cinder cycling range, with over 30 pieces for both men and women.
The Cindercrino jersey is the brand’s summer option using a soft, breathable, and fast drying fabric. The main material is a 53% polyester and 47% merino wool blend with a 125gsm weight, which is reasonably thin without making it shapeless. There’s a secondary fabric in areas that demand more cooling, with an open weave/subtle mesh structure and an 85gsm weight.
With a longer front chest zip and a dropped rear hem, Rab’s styling is a bit more road/gravel and XC MTB than enduro. However we appreciated how you can unzip the chest right down to dump heat on the longest climbs, and the thinner side panels are really breathable and airy.
Overall, this Cindercrino is a great top. It’s not the absolute coolest or best ventilated, but it offers a good blend of comfort, styling and fit.
An ultra-light jersey with clean lines
Weight: 61g (L) | Sizes: S – XXL | Colours: Black, Black/grey, Yellow/Black | Rating: 8/10
Pros: Almost invisible, airy feel. Great fit. Low weight
Cons: Pricey. Not the fastest drying
One of Alpinestars’ key summer riding jerseys is this ultra-lightweight Meta top. The material is perforated all over in a reasonably fine tea bag-style mesh, using a 92% polyester/8% elastane blend for the main fabric.
With multiple panels across the shoulders and underarm area, the Alpinestars’ cut and tailoring is one of the most sophisticated on test. Hanging lightly off the torso without being too flappy or loose, this is a very free feeling jersey and particularly roomy around the neck line. The fabric has loads of stretch for good freedom of movement and the shape is really nicely cut.
At typical riding speeds the Meta allows plenty of airflow, but its smaller fabric perforations don’t quite pump enough air inside to evaporate sweat away from the skin as quickly as the most effective jerseys we’ve tried.
Alpinestars’ Meta jersey comes in four colours, with this black and yellow scheme having a hint of Star Trek to it, but there’s also a more subtle all black and grey/black option.
A great jersey for a range of different conditions and temperatures
Weight: 139g | Sizes: XS-XL | Colours: Black, orange, brown | Women’s version: Yes | Rating: 9/10
Pros: Doesn’t get smelly, great in a range of temperatures, durable, soft
Cons: High price (but worth it), ¾ sleeves ride up
The Patagonia Merino 3/4 sleeve jersey is one of the best jerseys we’ve tested. It’s good in cool and warm weather alike, doesn’t smell even when you don’t bother to wash it, and best of all feels supremely comfy next to your skin.
I’d also argue that it’s the most eco-friendly jersey we’ve tested. It’s made from a blend of responsibly sourced merino wool – certified to the Responsible Wool Standard – and recycled polyester.
It’s also extremely durable and hardwearing, easier to repair, and likely to outlast the rest. And despite being merino, you can chuck it into a 40° wash and tumble dry it afterwards… although your green credentials will fly out the window if you do.
Great for the environment for sure, but it’s also really soft next to your skin, and there are no tags sewn in to irritate you or catch on things. In my experience thin, high quality merino like this is way better at wicking away sweat when it’s hot, and feels much more comfortable than any man made fibre when it’s doing this, never feeling clammy. The 3/4 sleeves are slightly quirky and arguably unnecessary given they quickly ride up above your elbows, but it’s the only real fault here.
The marketing claims are that the Merino 3/4 is just as good in colder conditions too, and for once that’s not misspeak – it’s warm enough used as a base layer, and also offers some wind protection on a chilly morning as a jersey. Patagonia has designed a ‘bike specific fit’, which means it’s a loose fitting T-shirt with a dropped hem.
Being merino, it sits nicely on your skin without riding up or sticking, and doesn’t pick up static. The price is high but in our opinion worth the initial outlay as it’s looking as-new despite months of use.
Feature-packed and robust trail jersey
Weight: 119g | Sizes: XS-XXL | Colours: Blue, black, orange, brown | Women’s version: No | Rating: 8/10
Pros: Excellent comfort, built-in sun protection, silky soft fabric
Cons: Fit feels tight around shoulders and armpits
The Optic jersey is one of eight in the 7Mesh mountain bike range and the only one with 3/4 length sleeves.
The jersey fabric is silky smooth, super stretchy and one of the nicest fabrics of all the jerseys on test, which is impressive given the price. Flatlock seams are mostly undetectable, which helps with the excellent comfort. 7Mesh has also added a hydrophobic coating to help with wicking sweat, as well as built-in sun protection.
The sleeves on the Optic end just below the elbow, offering a bit of extra protection against vegetation while increasing airflow. That’s the sales pitch, but to be honest we’re not that convinced that they bring more to the table than either short or long sleeve options. There’s some tightness at the shoulders and armpits in a riding position, which is somewhat at odds with the roomy torso. Yes, there’s plenty of stretch at the sleeves for elbow pads, but the garment feels a bit disjointed in terms of cut.
We also think the v-collar looks a bit weird compared to a simple crew neck – although it feels comfortable – and there’s not much of a drop hem. In terms of features, the Optic is pretty bare. Overall we really loved the 7Mesh’s functional, comfortable fabric but weren’t so keen on the fit and styling. Which is why we’d save £15 and go for 7Mesh’s simpler Elevate Short Sleeve Bike T-Shirt instead.
Stylish with a huge range of colour choices
Weight: 141g | Sizes: S-XXL | Colours: 10 options | Women’s version: No | Rating: 8/10
Pros: Lots of style and colour options, easy care, comfortable cut
Cons: Pricy for the spec
The Skyline short sleeve jersey is one of Troy Lee Designs’ most popular riding tops, and it’s easy to see why, with a cool, casual style that is equally off the bike as on.
There are 10 different styles for 2022 varying from plain and understated to full-on factory style SRAM-branded race tops, with the older designs currently £10 cheaper.
Previous versions came with a zip pocket at the rear that held a lens wipe. This has since been removed and the lens wipe is now sewn into the back panel. It might seem like a downgrade, but in truth the old pocket couldn’t hold a smartphone without flapping about annoyingly, so it’s no great loss.
Troy Lee has used a fabric that mixes 92% polyester with 8% elastane to give it a four-way stretch. It’s not one of the stretchiest jerseys on test, but there’s plenty of room in the cut, so it doesn’t really matter. Our medium was true to size with the fit of a casual t-shirt.
There’s a slightly dropped hem, flatlock stitching throughout and feels nice against bare skin.
We’ve worn older versions of this jersey multiple times in different temperatures and weather conditions and it’s always performed well, wicking sweat effectively. And despite a recommendation to line dry only, we’ve run them through the tumble dryer with no obvious ill effects. If you frequently ride in higher temps, or run hot, there’s also a Skyline Air jersey that uses a lighter mesh fabric, which allows greater airflow.
We liked the fit, styling and off-bike potential of the Skyline jersey. The lens wipe is a useful addition and previous versions have proven durable. You do pay a premium for the TLD label though, which considering the lack of performance features, keeps it from the top spot.
Great multi-weather option for Fox fans
Sizes: S – XXL | Colours: Grey, red, blue, black | Rating: 9/10
Pros: Drirelease fabric wicks well and feels natural, the cut and styling are brilliant too
Cons: No zippy pocket for your car key
The Ranger looks great, the fit is spot on and the fabric feels great next to your skin. The cut works well too, with a dropped back for a better fit on the bike. It’s low, but not so low you tangle yourself up on the saddle or end up sitting on it.
Keeps you cool in the heat and warm in the cold
Weight: 215g | Sizes: S-XXL | Colours: Black, grey, khaki, red | Rating: 10/10
Pros: Keeps you warm, dry and comfortable in most weathers.
Cons: Slightly baggy fit, although that’s more of an observation than a criticism.
Another quality jersey using DriRelease fabric, this time from the Nukeproof wardrobe and using a cotton mix fabric rather than Merino. It still has a four-way stretch, so it doesn’t impede your movements on the bike, and the material does a great job of wicking moisture from your body. And if you don’t want to look like a convict, Nukeproof also offers a couple of other colours.
Great comfort and tailoring
Sizes: 8 – 16 | Colours: Red or blue | Rating: 9/10
Pros: Lightweight and wicking. Stretch fabric means good freedom of movement.
Cons: Not the trendiest design or fabric.
It just has a little bit of extra length at the rear, so you’re not exposed when leaning forward. We’re also giving it an extra mark for not being pink or purple. The Madison Flux Enduro Women’s Jersey is a comfortable, lightweight jersey that you can easily wear all year round. It also looks and feels great – totally recommended. Read our guide to the best mountain bike clothing for women.
Casual, t-shirt-style jersey that ticks all the boxes.
Sizes: XS-XL | Rating: 9/10
Pros: Super comfortable, good fit, great ventilation, nice low-key styling. Long-sleeve option also available to protect arms from foliage.
Cons: Fairly pricey at £60.
The Lilium jersey uses a soft four-way stretch knit (90 per cent polyester, 10 per cent spandex) with the engineered mesh adding extra ventilation. TLD has used only Bluesign fabrics for a number of years now while its flatlock stitching provides extra durability and comfort. Overall, the simple, clean and subtle design is backed by quality fabrics and proved to be a firm favourite with all of our women testers. Looking for more? Read our guide to the best mountain bike clothing for women.
Sizes: S – XL | Colour: Black/grey | Rating: 10/10
Pros: Fabric is lush next to bare skin. Wicks superbly.
Cons: 3/4 arms are a bit weird.
We’ve worn it at least twice as often as any other jersey over the last year, and it not only fits and looks great, and is super soft against the skin, it’s also kept its shape and looks good after tens of wash cycles too.
Classic raglan styling
Weight: 157g | Sizes: S – XL | Rating: 8/10
Pros: Good looking jersey that’s lightweight and breathable.
Cons: Loose fitting arms and threads can start to pull.
Although some of us found this jersey to a be a bit on the baggier end of the spectrum, that’s no bad thing for riders who carry a bit more body mass to them. Particularly if you’re blessed with – or spend hours hitting weights to get – big biceps and forearms. Having said that, it’s possibly a good idea for slimmer riders to size-down from their usual size. The body and arms are generous in length so down-sizing shouldn’t result in any undue exposed skin. All in all, the excellent fabric makes it great for summer riding for those who really don’t like to wear short sleeves when mountain biking.
Superb value for money
Weight: 85g | Sizes: S – XL | Colours: Black, Cast Battleship, Redwood | Rating: 10/10
Pros: Cheap. Comfortable. Casual.
Cons: Bit shapeless. Nothing bike-specific in terms of features.
When does a jersey become a T-shirt (or Tee)? Who knows? Regardless, the lack of a zip and any pockets very much makes this a T-shirt. Its lack of bike specific… er, anything is both its strength and its weakness. It is a bit formless when on the bike – longer bodies peeps may find the smalls of their back exposed now and then – but as a base layer or a more casual layer for messing about bike rides, it’s a great option. It goes without saying that it also makes for a great top to where at any time before/after a bike ride too, or to wear down the gym or during other sporting activities.The material wicks really well a both a sinle garmetn in hot weather or as the lase layer part of a multi-layer set-up in cooler times.
How we tested the best mountain bike jerseys
Comfort is key here – we’re looking for discrete, unobtrusive seams and breathable construction. The only way to put these to the test is by riding them for long distances. we also tested all the jerseys with backpacks and hip packs, because it’s hard to tell if a jersey rides up or chafes until you get on the trails and start pedalling. Recent warmer weathers allowed us to really put the breathability to the test.
Additional detailing like a glasses wipe or zippy pocket for your key also impressed us, but it’s not everything. Style also placed a decent nod towards style – who doesn’t want to look good when riding?
What to look for in the best mountain bike jerseys:
Mountain bike jerseys can either be tight-fitting with a traditional cut, a zip collar and three rear storage pockets, or loose, motocross-inspired jerseys, often with no pockets.
Both styles are usually made from lightweight, breathable polyester, often with with other materials blended in to improve the fit, help wick sweat away or to reduce odour. Jerseys are relatively simple to produce, so can be bought for as little as £20, with the most high-tech designs costing upwards of £50.
Polyester is the material of choice for its sheer strength. It’s also cheap, light, and good at wicking. Plenty of brands then add in extra material like elastane for its stretch, or natural materials like bamboo, silver, merino wool, drirelease cotton, or even charcoal to reduce odour.
The best cut for trail riding is loose fitting without being overly baggy. A jersey should be shaped to allow a good and comfortable riding position on the bike, and often that means it’s made from multiple panels.
XC jerseys usually have zips down the front for increased airflow. Trail jerseys for hot weather can use perforated material under the arms or on the back, while some feature laser cut holes or mesh back panels.
Counterintuitively, long sleeves can work well in summer as well as winter, giving you protection from both the sun (plenty come with inbuilt SPF) and spiky foliage. Three-quarter sleeves are a decent compromise between keeping cool and staying scar-free.
This is either a separate microfibre wipe on a tag in a pocket, or sewn under the hem at the front of the jersey and is designed for cleaning goggles or glasses.
Lots of jerseys have bamboo, charcoal, metallic elements, or special compounds mixed in with the fabric to prevent odour build-up.
Mountain bikers often ride with a pack, so to increase wicking in this area, some jerseys feature a more breathable or lighter weight back.
Not essential, but definitely useful, these are perfect for car keys, small change or a phone. If they’re deep you don’t need zips.
Correct fit on a mountain bike jersey
Fit can be quite a difficult and personal factor. But the main point is the right sized jersey should not restrict your movement when on the bike. Correspondingly a jersey that is either too tight for comfort or too big can have the same consequences.
It should be long enough to cover your lower back when riding in an active position on the bike – like in the picture below.
Many brands will produce jerseys for men and women, the main difference usually being the cut of the jersey and colour options.
What type of riding do you do?
Downhill (DH), all-mountain/trail riding and cross-country (XC) racing all demand different things from your mountain bike jersey.
Downhill specific jerseys are lightweight, airy and very loose in order to fit body armour underneath. The evolution of the DH jersey owes a lot to motocross clothing in both style and fit. A DH jersey might also incorporated reinforced patches in areas that might suffer in the event of a crash.
Other features might include a goggle/glasses wipe inside and a neck shape that avoids interference when wearing a neck brace.
Enduro or trail riding jerseys encompass the widest variety of styles and technical features. Brands combine features taken from anything from road riding to motocross.
Normally made of thicker fabrics than a DH jersey but normally still incorporating vented or lighter weight panels for moisture management and temperature control.
Cuts can be as simple as basic t-shirt style jerseys to ones that incorporate multi-panelling, multi-pockets and zips for added ventilation.
XC Race jerseys are usually very similar to road cycling jerseys, being very closely fitting to eliminate flapping of material and as to not hinder the rider. Rear pockets are a must to carry spares and nutrition.
Varied weather means different mountain bike jerseys
As with any type of clothing, demands change dependent on weather and seasonal changes.
During colder or wetter rides a jersey becomes a vital mid or under-layer in conjunction with a more protective outer jacket. Then a thermal or windproof jersey is an ideal choice to retain body heat and also stay comfortable next to the skin.
Most thermal jerseys feature full or half zips and a much thicker textile. Hot weather obviously requires thinner and more ventilated fabrics with most riders opting for short sleeves.
Mountain bike jerseys and temperature regulation
Every one of us have specific ‘optimum operating conditions’, what we mean by that is we all feel temperatures differently and most of us know if we feel the cold or overheat given a certain scenario.
It’s the reason why you might see one rider wearing a single layer when riding in the snow, compared to another wrapped up in four layers on a sunny day.
If you wear a pack then a jersey with a mesh back panel and without pockets is the most comfortable style to go for. If you like keeping it minimal then you might want a jersey with one or two pockets for the essentials.