Right after the cost of your bike itself, the next biggest investment you can make as a cyclist is a trusty collection of high quality, long-lasting gear. Since bike tune ups and upgrades will probably require most of your attention, you want your clothing and accessories to persist as you take on more mileage, greater challenges and new frontiers.
Whether you’re touring, racing, or casually getting to know your city’s bike lanes, you’ll want a wardrobe ready for any sort of weather, especially if you live where it’s not always perfect sunshine and blue skies (ok, we’re just back from the UK, where a drizzle seems to always be lurking around the corner). Prioritizing your comfort in the saddle, the following cycling-specific clothing brands design items that facilitate agility, movement and stamina without losing that touch of individuality and effortlessness.
Chrome industries messenger bagMerging urban cycling practicality and streetwear, Chrome Industries products can be seen whipping by on the bike lanes, bridges and alleys of any major city. From trousers to waterproof items and bags that make a statement on or off the bike, the company continues to unveil casual clothing made to last countless commutes.
Chrome has come far since its bestselling seat belt-buckle messenger bags, and you’ll want to start by looking into the company’s backpacks, sling bags, and other accessories, all built to hold the essentials and more. From there, take a look at Chrome’s shorts and full-length pants; both male and female versions are available, and many products incorporate both water resistance and stretch fabric to accommodate any saddle- and any shape. The women’s Anza Short and men’s 5 Pocket Madrona Short are both durable choices that don’t scream “Cyclist coming through,” but provide the subtle comforts you might’ve wished for if you ever wore denim on a bike.
Along with hoodies and tees, Chrome’s jacket selection is not to be missed, especially if you’re looking for something that keeps you warm and windproof but can still be thrown on and off easily. The brand’s Storm Salute Commute Jacket, available in both male and female sizing, is a packable, go- to addition with taped seams and a sleek, waterproof silhouette. Chest pockets keep your smallest belongings safe while reflective details provide extra visibility. You’ll find this combo of practicality, ease and cycling-specific accents throughout Chrome’s collections; keep an eye out for new arrivals on the company’s website.
POC reform cycling jerseyIf you’re trying to boost your wardrobe in a more aero-focused direction, take a look at POC’S cycling and mountain biking line of gear, available on the company’s website and through various retail dealers. The brand’s Cycling Collections make it easy to match products according to your needs. The Essentials collection, for example, includes layering pieces, thermal tights and accessories to make sure you’re not missing anything when the weather takes a chilly turn.
In terms of staples, POC’s Reform Enduro Jersey is a classic take on your long sleeved laver, featuring sweat wicking technology, a loose fit and a hidden card pocket. Pair it with the Reform Enduro Tee for the option to layer up or down while commuting. For a classic, form-fitting jersey, try The Resistance Ultra Zip Tee ($160), a lightweight option to keep you covered on longer, warmer rides.
POC’s mountain biking collection includes all manners of padded protective wear, as well as pants and shorts made to slide over the company’s VPD kneepads, providing a snug fit without discomfort. Velcro waist adjustments make sure POC bottoms fit you based not only on sizing, but also on the exact amount of room you need to breathe. If your trusty helmet is getting worn out, POC’s helmet selection has plenty of sturdy, dependable models for you to choose from based on your preferred riding style.
Endura cycling jerseyWith an emphasis on serving every kind of rider, Endura’s cycling clothing is specific to where you see yourself riding, and at what level. The company’s website divides its products into sections like Gravel, Road and Leisure, meaning you can tailor your shopping experience to your interests.
Endura’s “Technology” section is another unique feature shoppers can access while viewing products; singling out innovations like D30 inserts for mountain biking, the DropSeat for women’s bib shorts and the Ergonomistry Project, designed to alleviate saddle pains often experienced by female cyclists. The company’s efforts to make a difference in the way customers view and choose products is commendable, especially when physical comfort and even health are at stake.
When it comes to aerodynamics, Endura’s bib shorts, skin suits and tri-suits are built to brave the breeze every step of the way. Designed for tri-athletes, the company’s tri-suits are especially notable thanks to their technical rap sheet; special additions include silicone grippers, UPF 50+ protection and Endura’s Surface Silicone Topography, a surface texture designed in collaboration with Drag2Zero’s Simon Smart.
Endura does a great job explaining just what sets the brand’s products apart from other cycling clothes on the market in language the average consumer can decipher and appreciate. Understanding how your clothing works is a huge part of investing in the perfect piece and feeling confident while pedaling. The company’s commitment to sustainability and its focus on helping athletes perform better are major pluses when compared to competitors.
Endura’s bespoke design service, a rarity within the athletic clothing market, takes your shopping experience further by offering custom made products made to order. The entire process will be guided by an Endura team with the goal of creating the piece you had in mind, seam by seam.
Standing out among other independent brands, the U.K’s Blackmore Cycling Apparel is dedicated to staying small while creating ripples in the local cycling community and beyond. The company is based in Essex, and is well known among British cyclists. Producing innovative designs in small batches, Blackmore makes sure that every jersey, bib, and cap is created with an artisan’s touch and with a focus on tried and true comfort.
Short sleeved jersey options include the BCA Bike Club, Galleywood and Bank II jerseys, and prioritize breathability and aerodynamics, along with playful graphics. Ladies’ jerseys include the Pip’s Duck Jersey, and multiple merino wool options in the €84.99 price range. The versatility of Merino makes these an especially reliable choice for anyone who prefers to be out on the road despite the unpredictability of the weather (something that is likely always on your mind if you’re cycling in Britain).
Though Patagonia has been a household name in the world of outdoor adventure for a while, the company’s mountain biking collection is often overlooked in favor of cycling specific brands. In reality, Patagonia’s shorts, bibs and form-fitting jackets are crafted to last you through anything from casual day rides to extended tours where packability trumps all other concerns.
Doubling as a sustainability initiative and customer perk, Patagonia’s Trade-In policy is one of the company’s most significant pros. Through the brand’s Worn Wear website, people can bring or mail in their used Patagonia clothing items and receive store credit in return, turning every well-loved purchase into a new opportunity. This way, you can be certain that your Patagonia jersey or pair of Storm Pants can not only have a second life, but potentially turn into something even better depending on your needs.
The company’s mountain biking- specific collection includes everything from loose- fitting men’s shorts to tops incorporating quick-dry technology and waterproof shells you can pack and layer easily. The men’s and women’s sections are equally robust, and you can easily build a full set of layering pieces with room for on the go accessories like the 5L Black Hole Waist Pack.
While shopping on Patagonia’s website, you can browse used gear alongside new products, broadening your options and easing stress on your wallet at the same time.
If you’re looking for cycling clothing that eschews the world’s biggest brands in favor of smaller, more focused operations, French company Cafe du Cycliste is a solid choice, especially if you’re tired of compressions and skintight gear. Featuring both men’s and women’s collections, the company designs bike- specific products that can double as casual wear, and often straddle the line between athletic wear and everyday flair.
The brand’s Unisex Gravel Jersey, for example, features a sharp collar, full length zipper and floral pattern in shades of peach, orange and pale pink. Eye catching yet effortless, the Laureline jersey embodies a fresh take on athletic gear that ventures slightly out of the box created by cycling giants. The Claudine Jersey, on the other hand, features a similar design with a distinct French beach day aesthetic, allowing the brand’s voice to shape a classic essential. Additional products include base layers, tights, bib shorts and accessories, giving customers the option to choose items that will have a life both on and off the bike.
Your cycling wardrobe may be the first step towards achieving new goals you’ve set for yourself. Oftentimes, it may also be one of the elements holding you back from improving your performance or even just spending as much time on your bike as you’d like.
Ill-fitting gear can be a huge distraction, as can clothing that’s not well-suited for unpredictable weather. Whether it’s sustainability, evolving technology or an original aesthetic, look for brands that value quality over quantity. Oftentimes, that may mean investing in a single, long- lasting piece or supporting smaller brands as opposed to the first company that comes to mind.