I had no idea how many jerseys I needed when I started cycling. I asked my cyclist friends for advice and talked to many cyclists online, and they all gave me a similar answer.
A cyclist should own one jersey for every ride in a week, plus an extra spare one. That will allow you to always wear a clean jersey without washing it after every ride. Beginners don’t need more than three jerseys, while an advanced cyclist will need up to seven.
I’ve been cycling for almost two years now, and I must admit that while my friends were correct about the number of jerseys I need, the truth about cycling jerseys is far more complex.
Fresh jersey on every ride
The number of rides per week will differ heavily from cyclist to cyclist, so the number of jerseys used per week will vary. But there are some guidelines that will help a beginner cyclist help determine how many jerseys he needs.
A mathematical formula to calculate the number needed is n +1, where n stands for the number of rides per week. For example, if you ride two times a week, you will need three jerseys (2+1=3).
|Number of rides per week||Number of jerseys required|
Having an extra jersey will save you from time to time. The truth is that we are lazy, and washing a jersey every time after a ride is not something we’re good at. “I’ll do it later” quickly becomes “I’ll do it tomorrow,” and when we need a fresh jersey, there isn’t one. And that’s how a spare jersey becomes a lifesaver.
I asked members of a cycling Facebook group how many jerseys they own. Most of them have over ten jerseys that they accumulated over the years but use only 3-5 of them regularly. Many people also said they only own 4 or 5 jerseys, which is more than enough for them.
The main advice that I got in a group is that quality is far more important than quantity. One good jersey can be worth ten crappy ones, so pick your jerseys carefully.
My advice is don’t go crazy buying a whole store of jerseys from the beginning. Owning two or three will enable you to have a fresh one available whenever you need it.
Replacing old jerseys
Cycling jerseys need to be tight so that they can be aerodynamic. After a few years of using a jersey, it will get stretched and lose its functionality. Then it’s time to think about retiring it and buying a new one.
Experiences show that jersey gets worn out in two to three years, depending on how many times a week you ride. If you fall and tear it, its life expectancy shortens, but in normal circumstances, three years with the same jerseys shouldn’t be a problem.
If a jersey is stretched, you can save it and have it as a reserve, while you’ll use a new one regularly. When you forget to wash it, the old one will still be good enough to take on a ride.
With this method, you will accumulate 10+ jerseys over a few years, but most will not be used more than once per season. But still, it is nice to have a spare when you need it.
Ratio between short sleeve and long sleeve jersey
There are two types of cycling jerseys available – short sleeves and long sleeves. You’ll use short sleeves most of the time, but a long sleeve will be a better option when the temperature drops.
Most of us won’t be riding outside in the winter, but even autumn rides can be cold. If you plan to ride in the autumn, having a long sleeve jersey is a good idea. One jersey will most likely be enough as your ride frequency will drop significantly.
Instead of long sleeve jersey, you can use a short-sleeve one in combination with arm warmers
Although long sleeve jersey is practical, owning one is not necessary. I don’t have one. Rather than buying a long sleeve jersey, I bought arm warmers that I wear with a short sleeve jersey. Indeed, they cost almost as much as a jersey, but they allow me to regulate my temperature mid-ride, which is a big plus in my eyes.
How tight should my jersey be?
Jerseys come in all shapes and sizes – from super baggy to extremely tight. There isn’t a definitive answer to which is the best, as every person will have their own preference.
Most people will choose a regular fit jersey. Not too tight, but not loose. My favorite jersey is also a regular fit, as it is the most comfortable of them all. A few seconds or minutes that I lose on a ride because of increased drag are a lot less important than being comfortable.
If you’re planning to race, then a race-fit jersey is necessary. Comfort is of secondary importance when every second counts.
I would suggest that you stay clear of wide jerseys. There aren’t many of them on the market, but you still find some. If a jersey is too loose, it will flutter during a ride, which can be annoying. Take a regular fit instead. You won’t regret it, I promise.
How much do cycling jersey cost?
As with all things, you can get a jersey for a few bucks, or you can spend a fortune. Reasonable minds can differ, but I suggest spending between 20-50 dollars on a jersey.
Paying less than 20 dollars will expose you to buying a low-quality jersey. Their problem is that they stretch pretty quickly and that the materials are not as good as with more expensive jerseys. The fabric of cheap jerseys usually doesn’t breathe, causing excessive sweating.
I heard stories of other cyclists who got decent quality jerseys for as low as 10 dollars, but I never had that luck. Still, if you don’t want to spend 40-50 dollars initially, check sites like eBay or AliExpress for cheaper jerseys. You might strike gold.
When you’ll become more serious about cycling, buy some higher-quality jerseys. For 50 bucks, you’ll get a jersey that will last a few seasons and is really comfortable. I purchased my Craft jersey two years ago for 60 dollars, and it’s still as good as new. Hands down, one of the best jerseys I ever owned.
Craft jersey is the best one I have ever owned. You can get it on Amazon!
I also own a jersey that cost 100 dollars, but I wouldn’t recommend buying one so expensive. I bought it as it’s Primož Roglič’s jersey, and as a Slovenian, I’m obviously a massive fan of his. I paid for the brand, and I’m okay with that, but jersey-wise I could find something similar much cheaper.
In the end, the decision is yours. Don’t go crazy when buying the first jersey. Spend 30 dollars, and enjoy the first miles on a bike. Cycling is expensive enough as it is, so try to save a few bucks where you can.