While we mostly buy jerseys to look good, the best mountain bike jerseys will also keep you warm in winter and cool in summer.
Find the best mountain bike jerseys. In this guide we look at to what to consider when choosing your next short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve or long sleeve top. What to wear on your upper body when riding can be a tricky dilemma. Not only do you need to consider your main riding discipline but also weather conditions and personal comfort levels.
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.
Best mountain bike jerseys
- Nukeproof Outland DriRelease review- BEST MEN’S
- Madison Flux Enduro Women’s review – BEST WOMEN’S
- Troy Lee Designs Lillium Short Sleeve jersey
- Specialized Enduro DriRelease Merino 3/4 review
- Sweet Protection Hunter Merino review
- Fox Ranger DriRelease review
- Specialized DriRelease Tech Tee review
- Rapha Trail Technical T-Shirt review
- Sweet Protection Hunter LS review
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 pedaling. Recent warmer weathers allowed us to really put the breathability to the test.
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Nukeproof Outland DriRelease Long Sleeve jersey
Keeps you cool in the heat and warm in the cold
Price: £30 | 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.
Madison Flux Enduro Women’s jersey
Great comfort and tailoring
Price: £44.99 | 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.
Troy Lee Designs Lillium Short Sleeve Jersey
Casual, t-shirt-style jersey that ticks all the boxes.
Price: £60 | 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.
Specialized Enduro DriRelease Merino 3/4 jersey
Price: £48.00 | 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.
Fox Ranger DriRelease Long Sleeve jersey
Great multi-weather option for Fox fans
Price: £50.00 | 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.
Sweet Protection Hunter Long Sleeve Merino jersey
Pricy but super soft
Price: £79.99 | Weight: 185g | Sizes: S – XL | Colours: Black, blue, grey, green | Rating: 9/10
Pros: Comfortable, great on-bike fit, warm in winter but never too hot in summer
Cons: Not an inexpensive purchase
The Sweet Protection Hunter jersey boasts a remarkable softness to its Merino wool fabric that is both insulating and wicking. Our test jersey has stood up to months of abuse, and many wash cycles, without losing its comfort or shape. We’ve even stitched up a hole when we crashed in it, which just goes to show how firm a favourite it is with testers.
Specialized DriRelease Tech Tee
Superb value for money
Price: £25.00 | Weight: 85g | Sizes: S – XL | Colours: Black, Cast Battleship, Redwood | Rating: 10/10
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.
Rapha Trail Technical T-Shirt
Neat features and trendy styling
Price: £55.00 | 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. 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.
Sweet Protection Hunter LS
Classic raglan styling
Price: £39.99 | 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.
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.
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.
What type of riding do you do?
DH, all-mountain/trail riding and XC racing all demand different things from your mountain bike jersey.
Typically DH 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 neckbrace.
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.