A cycling jersey is an essential wardrobe piece for any cyclist, as it keeps the body dry and cool or warm no matter how hot or cold it gets. Due to their prices, however, not many recreational cyclists own one, and they opt for a cheaper alternative such as a regular sports shirt or tracksuits in the winter. But what makes cycling jerseys so expensive?
Cycling jerseys are expensive because they’re made from unique and high-performance materials that provide excellent thermoregulation and breathability. Additionally, high-end cycling jerseys are usually handmade. Plus, many avid cyclists with plenty of money don’t mind spending more on quality cycling jerseys, hence the garment’s high price.
This article will explain why cycling jerseys can be so pricey and offer you some solutions to this problem if you are a cyclist on a budget.
Why Are Bike Jerseys So Expensive?
There isn’t only one reason why bike jerseys are costly. Instead, it is a combination of things that combined brings the price of some jerseys up.
Bike jerseys are expensive due to the materials used in making them, how and where they’re made, and how much research is put into creating them. Besides, bike jersey buyers are a niche group who mostly don’t mind paying more for their jerseys, driving the prices of cycling jerseys up.
Let’s take a look at these factors in more detail.
The Jerseys Are Made of High-End Materials
Like with any product on the market, if the materials used to produce the bike jerseys are expensive, the jersey’s retail price will be on the pricey side, too. Cycling jerseys are expensive because they use certain high-end fabrics that can bring significant benefits to cyclists.
High-quality cycling jerseys are produced using exotic fabrics and materials such as:
- Carbon Fiber: is both solid and light. It maintains a cyclist’s body temperature during long rides.
- Polyester: is a technical fabric that is easy on the body and dries very quickly.
- Tight-Weave Threads: is preferred by cyclists for bringing more comfort and smoothness.
- Composites: some manufacturers are combining multiple fabrics into one to bring maximum benefits.
- Nylon: is a mix of microfiber and spandex, great for keeping the body cool while cycling.
- Elastane: is an extremely elastic fiber that brings flexibility to the jersey.
Expensive Bike Jerseys Are Mostly Hand-Made
Most expensive bike jerseys are hand-made to perfection by experienced artisans who thread all quality fabrics together. Hiring professional cycling clothing artisans brings the labor costs up and increases the time it takes to produce, driving the price of the final product higher.
On the other hand, cheaper jerseys are usually mass-produced in factories.
They’re Ethically Produced
Where a jersey is produced can also have an impact on the price. Jerseys made in more developed countries are subject to various environmental and labor laws.
Labor laws require the companies to pay a good livable wage and adhere to working condition standards. These laws are certainly very commendable, but they lead to increased labor costs and higher prices that consumers will have to pay.
Environmental laws also bring a lot of costs to companies, especially those involved in production.
A Lot of Research Goes Into Making the Jerseys
Since cycling is both a big sport and recreational activity, plenty of research goes into developing and upgrading cycling gear with the latest technologies.
Most of the research done by scientists remains private, so only a limited number of people or companies have access to these technologies. Those companies can then dictate the price as their product offers more benefits than their competitors.
Cycling Is a High-End Market
Last but not least, it is worth mentioning that, similarly to golf, cycling is somewhat of a luxurious sport. If someone takes cycling seriously, they are more likely to invest a significant amount into buying and maintaining a bike, which is usually quite expensive in itself, and sound gear that can improve their cycling experience.
Some Brands Are More Expensive Than Others
Not all bike jerseys are expensive. Only a few dozen companies utilize the best methods of production and the latest technologies for their product. Thus, it is understandable that these companies would charge more.
Other companies use cheaper fabrics, perhaps ones that don’t absorb sweat or have other benefits associated with high-end jerseys.
Brand awareness is also a significant factor here, as more established companies will be able to charge more than less established ones, even if their product isn’t necessarily better.
Is Having a Cycling Jersey Important?
There are some mixed opinions within the cycling community on whether you need to wear a jersey. However, while there isn’t a simple yes or no answer, we can consider some key points when determining the answer to this question.
A cycling jersey is important for those riding long distances frequently and who want to stay comfortable. If you sweat a lot, you should invest in a quality cycling jersey to keep you cool and warm as you cycle.
In the next section, I’ll explain the key points for you to consider when deciding whether or not to invest in a cycling jersey.
Consider Your Cycling Length and Frequency
While most people will be fine wearing a t-shirt and jeans for a brief ride through town, riding in regular clothes will become increasingly more problematic as the traveled distance becomes greater.
For that reason, having a jersey will be very useful if you’re riding long distances consistently. Yes, regular sports gear can help, but cycling jerseys are specifically designed to bring more comfort and ease to your cycling experience.
Determine How Much You Sweat
You might think it’s odd asking yourself how much you sweat, generally. However, it’s important to note that some people sweat more than others. If you are one of those who sweat a lot, you may want to consider investing in a cycling jersey. Depending on the weather, a cycling jersey will stop you from sweating and keep you cool or warm.
Ask Yourself How Much You Value Cycling Comfort
When buying a cycling jersey, you’re essentially buying more comfort when cycling. The question you need to ask yourself is how important that comfort is to you.
You can technically ride a bike for very long distances with just a regular t-shirt and shorts. Still, most serious cyclists will find that even a cheaper bike jersey is an excellent investment.
We can conclude that a cycling jersey isn’t essential every time you get on the bike with these factors in mind. However, suppose you are planning to ride for extended distances. In that case, a jersey will significantly help you be more comfortable and stop you from sweating excessively, so I recommend that you get one.
Benefits of Wearing a Bike Jersey
To help you better understand the importance of having a cycling jersey, let’s look at a few essential benefits of having one provides:
- Comfort: Cycling jerseys are designed to fit your body and stay put despite your movements. The breathable materials will make you feel light and comfortable on the bike while also stopping you from sweating and keeping you dry, which will make your rides much more enjoyable.
- Storage: Bikes have limited storage space. Luckily, pockets are a standard feature for a cycling jersey, and they can be handy, especially for longer trips. Most jerseys come with a large pocket on the back, great for storing food, water, and other essentials. More expensive jerseys will have an additional pocket that can be closed with a zipper, allowing you to store essential items like a cell phone or your wallet.
- Wind Resistance: Wind can be a considerable hurdle when riding a bike and can negatively impact a cyclist’s speed and performance on the road. Cycling jerseys help you to be more aerodynamic as their fabrics can push the wind to your side, helping you go forward easier and quicker. For maximum aerodynamics, you should also stay as low as possible and tuck your elbows in.
- Safety: Bike-car accidents are more common than you’d think. Not many people speak of this benefit, but with their reflective materials and often colorful designs, cycling jerseys can make you more visible on the road and help car drivers see you from further away.
Where Can You Get a Cheap Cycling Jersey?
Luckily, you don’t always have to spend a fortune to get your hands on a nice cycling jersey, as cheaper alternatives are available.
Remember that the cheaper a jersey is, the more likely it was made with poor-quality materials. It was also most likely mass-produced in a factory with questionable working conditions instead of being hand-made.
You can get a cheap cycling jersey via online marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist, where people post things they no longer need or they want to sell. The physical alternative to that would be a thrift store.
You will get a solid jersey that will hopefully last you a long time most of the time. If you’re lucky, though, you may come across a high-quality one for a fraction of the price. So, if you’re not in a rush, you could try checking up on these sites over a more extended period to see if you can come away with a great deal.
If you prefer to buy a new jersey, there are a few affordable brands that bring excellent quality for the money:
- The Black Bibs
Another place you can find affordable bike jerseys is Amazon.com. I recommend the TSLA Men’s Short Sleeve Bike Cycling Jerseys. These jerseys come in various sizes and colors. They have a zipper closure, allowing you to unzip the closure when you’re feeling a little hot. The reflective logos on them allow you to look more visible at night or when it’s foggy. Maintaining the jersey is easy, too, as it can be easily hand-washed. For women, I recommend the Beory Women’s Cycling Jersey. I actually bought the solid purple, short sleeve jersey. This is a very comfortable jersey with no problems with the waist creeping up. It’s lightweight and has the three pockets in the back with the zipper pocket for keys. This jersey is also easy to maintain with hand-washing and has held up well.
While owning a cycling jersey isn’t imperative, it is recommended for longer distances. It brings many benefits like comfort, more storage space, wind resistance, and safety.
However, due to the high costs of producing good-quality bike jerseys, consumers are left to pay very high prices. Fortunately, there are some cheaper alternatives that occasional cyclists can enjoy some, if not most of the benefits.