10 best cycling tops for men
Regular cycling commuters will know that while it’s officially summer, temperatures can vary wildly, even in the same day.
Fresh mornings, baking afternoons and unexpected chilly breezes mean you need to find the clothes that regulate body temperature and maximise comfort in the saddle.
The material is key, with breathability and weight playing a major role in keeping your temperature at that sweet spot. Merino wool, which is used for most of the tops included here, is ideal as it wicks away moisture and is breathable, yet will insulate. You also want something that flexes and stretches in all the right places as you ride, and never chafes.
We’ve brought together a selection of tops up to the task that are as wearable at your destination as they are practical on the bike. All these are long-sleeved, so will serve you well into autumn and will also do for next spring, too.
1. Rapha Merino Zip Through: £120, Rapha
This lightweight cardigan is the ideal attire for varying temperatures and occasions. The soft merino wool ensures it is breathable and the O-ring puller allows for zipping up tight or opening up if things get a little warmer. Turn back cuffs are a smart choice to allow for coverage of the wrists when reaching to the handlebars. Meanwhile, the knitted contrast stripe on the back helps make this top as stylish as it is practical.
2. Universal Mid Jersey: £69.99, Gore Bike Wear
Ideal for fluctuating temperatures, this works as a mid-layer combined with other tops, or it can be worn alone. The close-fitting high neck and snug fit ensure any cool breezes will be kept at bay, while the deep-dropping front zip allows the jersey to be worn as a relaxed top. There are also pockets on the back and collar bone for those must-carry items, plus a small reflective flag on the rear of the collar.
3. Wiggle Essentials Long Sleeve Cycle Jersey: £15, Wiggle
This good-value top is a versatile choice. It’s one you can wear every day and the relaxed fit means it doesn’t scream “bike gear” as much as full-blown Lycra. There are useful pockets at the back and it’s it’s available in four colours. Simple but effective.
4. Café du Cycliste Berthe: £93, Café du Cycliste
This French cycling brand prides itself on combining style and technical excellence. This top excels on both fronts. The casual fit has a light and breezy feel to it – perfect to be worn alone on those warmer days. Alternatively it can become a part of the year-round cycling wardrobe when worn with a base layer or jacket. The thumb holes are an excellent inclusion for when in the saddle, while the zip can close up the neck or turn into a full hood. A rear pocket for essentials and heat-regulating, merino-blend material make this a substantial upgrade on a standard hoodie.
5. Vulpine Long Sleeve Merino Polo by Vulpine: £89, Vulpine
This long-sleeve polo manages to combine a sharp fit with an incredibly comfortable feel making it a great choice for either the ride, the office or just being out-and-about. The top is crafted from New Zealand merino wool which makes it odour resistant, regulates temperature and wicks away any moisture to ensure even after a serious ride you can arrive in comfort and style. The rear pocket on the drop-back is a useful addition. Also comes in black.
6. Boardman Mens Long Sleeve Mountain Bike Jersey: £29.99, Halfords
A relaxed cut and two-material design (which helps with sweat-wicking and the fit, apparently) make this top from legendary British cyclist Chris Boardman’s range stand out from the others on our list. The ‘Qwick-Dri’ fabric helps to wick away moisture and the rear zip pocket comes in handy. The styling is foremost with biking in mind but it manages to retain a simplicity that ensures it won’t look out of place when not paired with two wheels.
7. Bontrager Classique Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey by Trek: £134.99, Trek
This timeless-looking jersey pays homage to classic cycling style yet manages to ensure the wearer doesn’t appear as though they’ve accidentally strayed from the peloton. The material provides both warmth and comfort when things get chilly yet the lightweight semi-merino wool sees it perform just as well when the mercury rises. The silicone grippers around the inside of the bottom of the jersey are a great touch for retaining a precise fit in the saddle and the reflective elements provide additional visibility.
8. Dare 2b Fuseline II Mens Top: £10, Halfords
Here’s a strong budget option thanks to a smart yet simple design. The high-neck keeps out the chill but it has a 1/4 zip to let the air in when needed. The knitted fabric is stretchable and warm as well as quick-drying. On those colder days it works under a jacket or over a tee.
9. Rapha Cotton Oxford Pocket Shirt: £95, Rapha
On first take glance, this appears a classic shirt but small touches make it as suitable for the saddle as it is for the boardroom. The cotton material allows for a degree of stretch to ensure a comfortable riding position, there are hidden buttons to prevent the collar from flapping and, best of all, there is a concealed pocket – big enough to fit a smartphone – behind the placket.
10. Fox Wilson Clothing Clapton Jumper: £78.99, Evans Cycles
This is a great option for when the temperatures are fluctuating, working as well on a chilly morning ride to work as it does for the return journey when the temperature has picked up. That’s chiefly down to the roll-neck feature, designed to maximise breathability, which can come up to cover the face. There are also ergonomically designed cuffs to keep those wrists protected from the breeze while the wind-protective, merino wool will keep you cool in the heat. The cut ensures this is among the most stylish options on the market.
For the most versatile top that will see you through the seasons, go for Rapha’s Merino Zip Through. It’s comfortable and lightweight yet with the cuffs down manages to feel cosy, making it a fine choice in changeable temperatures. For those on a tighter budget, the Long Sleeve Cycle Jersey from Wiggle offers a great design with some nifty features.