Best Cycling Jackets Reviewed & Rated for Quality
You love the open road, the sense of freedom and adrenaline you get when you go for that cycle ride. You may be a commuter and relish the thought of taking the healthier way to work or you may just be a weekend rider, even riding as a professional; or you may be a semi-pro or simply fanatical about cycling. Chances are; at some point, you will be riding when the weather is not so favorable for the open road – so you need the right clothing to ensure you can get the best out of cycling no matter what the skies throw at you. Finding a decent cycling jacket is important and can have a bearing on how you cope in inclement weather.
- INBIKE Thermal
- Fleece Lining
- Canari Cycle Wear
- O2 Rainwear
- Elasticized Wrists
You should shop around for the ideal cycling jacket that matches your own individual requirements, and need to ask yourself a few basic questions before you make your purchase. The variety on the market is quite substantial and the different brands and prices that are available can make you feel lost at sea when you begin to search out your ideal cycling jacket. This simple guide and review will ask and answer some fundamental questions and variables that you may be thinking and provide you with an overview of ten of the best cycling jackets.
10 Best Cycling Jackets
1. INBIKE Thermal
The interior of the INBIKE cycling jacket is lined with soft and comfortable polar fleece, this boasts being smooth to the touch as well as increasing its warming qualities that enables the locking in of warmth to enable longer rides in cold or cooler temperatures.
The jacket is produced using premium breathable fabric with a stand-up collar to keep warm in, wind and rain out and stops the underside of the chin getting chaffed and caught on the top of the zipper. As a bonus, it has mesh cloth pockets inside to enable secure storage of small personal items.
Cost and Value
The quality of the manufacture of this cycling jacket, combined with the polar fleece lining and the comfortable weatherproofing; ensure that the balance between cost and value are well balanced and this is a great product for the money.
- Thermal for comfortable use in winter
- Water proof to keeo out the rain
- Wind proof to improve practicality
- Breathable to reduce moisture build up
- Functional and great value
- Need to order sizes carefully
- Loose neck and cuffs allows in drafts
2. Canari Cycle Wear
The Canari cycle jacket has fully removable sleeves so it has increased versatility when temperatures fluctuate, this reduces the requirements for separate cycling vests and therefore less room is needed for extra clothing.
The rear of this cycling jacket has a useful nine inch back zippered storage pocket, this increases it’s practicality and enables secure storage of valuable items; the side pockets are easy to reach and won’t impair riding when utilized for a personal kit.
Cost and Value
When taking into consideration the qualities of this Canari cycling jacket, including the stylish design and weatherproofing, both cost and value are well represented and reflected both ways, the added functionality of the convertible sleeves adds to its’ overall value.
- Light polyester is non bulky
- Fleece collar for keeping out the elememts
- Convertible from a jacjet to a vest
- Practical and useful versatility
- Great value for a two in one product
- Sizing is off and doesn't run true
- Flaky zippers are not durable
3. O2 Rainwear
The wrists on the O2 cycling jacket are elasticated which reduces the chances of the sleeves riding up the arm and lowering body temperature. The waterproofing it offers is complimented with a tough easy riding zipper from waist to chin.
The jacket benefits from a stand-up collar to reduce wind and water getting down the back and chest, and it is a rider-friendly design being higher at the front than the rear to maintain comfort when riding for whatever distance.
Cost and Value
This O2 rainwear cycling jacket combines both style and substance with the qualities it offers in the form of its water resistance and windproofing, the practical lightweight and compact jacket is a great value and ensures a good buy for the price.
- Compact and easy to store
- Water resistant for all weathers
- High collar to keep out the drafts and moisture
- Elasticized wrists stop arms riding up
- High vis for better safety
- No pockets to store small valuables
- Not durable for use over time
4. Baleaf Wind proof
The Baleaf cycling jacket has two hand pockets with easy use zippers for safe secure storage of smaller personal and valuable items. It has a handy pocket to the rear to increase good placement of items when out on the road.
This jacket boasts a soft fleece lining that keeps in vital body heat, the double thickness collar and practical outer fabric also offers protection from the wind and rain, without compromising on comfort and functionality.
Cost and Value
The features that are offered and come as standard with the Baleaf windproof cycling jacket, including the three conveniently places pockets and soft warm lining, ensure that the balance between both cost and value is mirrored adequately and this is a great buy.
- Reflective spots front and rear
- Elastic cuffs to stop sleeves riding up
- Easy gliding zippers
- Full frontal wind flap
- Fleece lining for better comfort
- Sizing is odd and out of proportion
- Loose fitting style that rides around the body
The design takes in the addition of a functional drawstring hood that offers increased protection from both wind and rain, and the comfortable sizing allows for layering of under gear to protect from the cold in the winter months.
The overall practicality of this 4ucycling jacket is increased by its lightweight material, it is conveniently packable into a compact size so won’t take up valuable space when it isn’t required, it has a handy easy to reach front pocket for personal valuables too.
Cost and Value
This well priced practical cycling jacket is functional and comfortable, and the value features are presented as wear-resistant and useful ensures that both cost and value are well reflected and the jacket is good value for the price.
- Comfortable and non restrictive
- Drawstring hood for easy closure
- Front pocket for small valuables
- Light and easy to store
- Hard wearing and durable
- Low quality zippers are not tough enough
- Too thin material to be worn on its own in the winter
6. Pearl iZUMi Elite
The Elite jacket has direct vent panels to improve the airflow and ventilation in most weather conditions, and it also benefits from a contoured and shaped sleeve hem to keep the rain and wind out and keep the warmth in.
The jacket is easy-care and boasts being machine washable which improves its functionality, and the hem and cuffs are elasticized for better comfort with less riding up. The full front zippers are easy gliding and allow quick access and removal.
Cost and Value
This quality cycling jacket benefits from both functionality and full practicality with its features that include the weatherproofing and comfort fit, the ventilation and elasticized hem and cuffs, all reflect well on the overall product and this is excellent value for money.
- Water resistant for optimum durability
- Wind proof reduces chill factors
- Easy care and home wash for convenience
- Ventilated to reduce moisture build up
- Light weight and practical to carry
- Low quality zipper is not long lasting
- Odd sizing that is out and doesn't run true
7. Pearl iZUMi Convertible
The cycling jacket is easy to turn into a cycling vest with the easy removal of the sleeves and the neck yolk, this improves practicality and versatility because it is two garments in one easy package, this makes it ideal for longer cycle rides and reduces unnecessary extras to be carried.
The ventilation offered with this Pearl iZUMi convertible cycling jacket is added to with the option of opening the sleeve zippers at different levels to increase or reduce air flow around the jacket, coupled with the direct vent panels on the vest this serves as a useful option for warmer days.
Cost and Value
This convertible jacket offers two for one and varying options for comfortable ventilation, the features including the Elite Barrier fabric, the draft flap and weatherproofing all add up to an equally proportional jacket in terms of both cost and value.
- Quality polyester woven twill
- Zipper garage for convenience
- Direct vent panels to aid cooling
- Wind and water resistant
- Reflective spots for better visibility
- Sizing is off and runs small
- Waist is small and tight
8. ARSUXEO Winter
The black material inserts on the arms through to the chest benefit from a unique four-way stretch fabric that aims for optimum comfort when cycling and reduces unnecessary stress pulling points, it is also breathable and elastic for better performance.
The ARSUXEO winter cycling jacket has a reflective stripe and brand logo to improve nighttime visibility and reduce the risk of accidents in changing light conditions. The sizing options recommend the purchase of bigger jackets for the best comfort.
Cost and Value
This softshell thermal cycling jacket offers both protection from the colder weather elements, whilst maintaining ventilation and comfort. The features added like the full front, high zipper and collar ensure good value for money.
- Reflective elements for improved visibility
- Stretch fabric for flexibility and comfort
- Zippered pockets for small valuables
- Weather proof increases wearability in all seasons
- Comfortable and non restrictive
- Sleeves run slightly short
- Not durable over long periods of use
9. Sponeed Cycle wear
The jacket is designed with comfort in mind and uses a flat seam construction which reduces the risks of rubbing and chaffing, this is carried through the whole suit and helps to improve comfort and temperature regulation for longer cycle rides.
The easy care instructions that accompany this suit boast a hand warm wash or a machine wash when inserted into a pocket. This is beneficial and cost-efficient because it may reduce the cost of specialist cleaning outside the home.
Cost and Value
When taken into consideration this Sponeed suit is designed for ultimate comfort, the features added like the flat seaming and integral pockets – help to ensure this product is well balanced on both cost and value.
- Full matching suit includes jacket and tights
- Easy care for home cleaning
- Gliding zippers for easy access and removal
- Comfortable to wear for longer periods
- Great value for the whole suit
- Not warm enough or suitable for winter
- Lower quality material that isn't durable
10. Tenn Outdoors
The jacket has a compactly placed hood that can be rolled and stored at the back of the collar and makes preparing for inclement weather that bit easier. It provides comfortable and unrestricted protection allowing free movement when cycling.
The jacket has hidden integral pockets that allow for safe storage of personal effects that are easy to reach, and the whole suit is designed to be roomy enough to wear as an over suit, this increases functionality because it is also easy to fold and store.
Cost and Value
Tenn Outdoors offers this set as a pair of trousers and a cycling jacket that are made to be tough, and protect from both wind and rain, the overall versatility and functionality the set offers ensures great value for money.
- Full set includes jacket and trousers
- Taped seams for improved water resistance
- Integral pockets for secure storage
- Zippered ankles for easy access and removal
- Great value for the whole set
- Sizing is off and needs checking carefully
- Tight waistband is uncomfortable
Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Cycling Jackets
The bicycle became more accessible throughout the 1900’s and as more people were interested in riding; the growth of cycling as a competitive pastime, activity, and sport started to evolve. Initially, the clothing was made of wool; very hot and uncomfortable to wear with the main bonus being the fact that it dried quickly. Of course; the pitfalls of wearing wool in active sports and competitive riding fast became obvious when it was; quite rightly so, heavy when wet and uncomfortable to wear. The realization that wool clothing was capable of slowing down the faster-growing pace of cycling led to a number of innovative ideas that began to shape the cycling clothing we are all used to today.
During the 1940’s silk sports clothing was introduced by Armando Castelli, from within the realm of the famous Gianni clothing empire. His designs for more comfortable clothing were made of silk, and this also improved the aesthetics because it could be dyed easily and provided a more appealing garment; whilst also serving to be more functional for sports use. It would be easy to say at this point that the rest is history but that would be too disparaging. Technological breakthroughs are constantly improving the clothing worn not only for cycling; but for a great number of other sporting clothing that recognizes comfort, practicality and usefulness all need to be appropriated to ensure the best performance possible, both for the wearer and the functionalities of the clothing itself.
Why wear cycling gear?
In reality of course; it has to be noted that you don’t have to wear specific cycle clothing, but the positives substantially outweigh the negatives to wearing some specialist gear. It really is more comfortable to wear lighter, functional clothing and this can increase your overall enjoyment whilst cycling. It can offer some varying qualities that may enable you to continue riding whereas with regular clothing you may have to knock it on the head.
Cycle clothing is made of technologically proven performance improvers; the skin-tight way the clothing is worn is designed to reduce not only drag; but also increases breathability and is lightweight. The last thing you want to be wearing to cycle is heavy, obstructing clothing that may increase fatigue, moisture build-up, cold and chaffing.
It may seem as though the products that are available to choose from are all very similar and perform the same way; however, there are a few differences and varying combinations that may help you to choose a better cycling jacket that meets all of your needs. Cotton and lycra mixes are favorable due to the stretchiness of the lycra combined with the practical qualities offered by cotton. Clothing made with these two materials tends to be long lasting and is very comfortable to wear.
Supplex and lycra mixes are another common blends, attributes being its low moisture absorption, which allows quicker drying and reduces chill factors when it gets damp; it also benefits from being stretchy and very comfortable to wear. This is available as a lighter, UVA protective treatment that is suitable for riding in sunnier climates in a mix of Meryl and lycra.
Drytex offers both waterproofing and breathability with a blend of polyester and polyurethane, this is a practical functional material that is very comfortable, breathable, and boasts waterproofing qualities. Gore-tex is in this realm but does tend to be more high end and therefore more expensive. Nylon and lycra blends are practical for thermal qualities and for great wicking properties, a must for those rides in cooler temperatures.
This list is by no means exhaustive and there are many variations of primary materials and blends currently available; you may be better to decide what temperatures and conditions you are likely to be cycling in the most; this will help you to choose a better product that serves you better for your own individual needs and requirements.
Other Important Factors to Consider
So, you have a rough idea of the climate you want your cycling jacket to cater for, next question is what to think about for comfort in different climates. If it is likely to be cold when you plan to ride, you should think layers; base layers underneath your cycling jacket will act as a buffer against the cold, the wind and reduce moisture build-up that can lower your core temperature.
Unless you’re fortunate to live in a rain-free zone, you have to consider water protection. Cycling jackets that offer waterproofing or even water resistance are offered in a variety of forms. These can come in the form of water-resistant treatments and membranes; you should always check the individual product specification to determine what level of protection is better suited for where you will be cycling.
Protection from the wind should also be on the agenda since wind can cause very uncomfortable cycling especially if it is really cold, or if you are wet. It’s important to check the cycling jacket to determine what level of windproofing it has, there are varying levels; so you need to get it right.
In the heat there are different challenges; you need to check the level of UV protection your cycling jacket has – you may have sun lotion on your exposed skin, but you can still suffer potentially harmful effects through your gear. Make sure you purchase with caution and try to ensure your jacket has plenty of ventilation areas such as mesh or air holes – heat can be just as damaging as cold when you’re out on the road.
You may want to consider the fit of your potential cycling jacket, and there are two main pointers that may help. If you are planning a cycling trip and are expecting to be wearing your jacket for longer periods of time in one go, you may want to consider a performance style fit. These are designed slightly looser and are more comfortable for you to wear whether you are cycling or taking a well-earned break, they are versatile enough to be worn in comfort throughout the day and will not restrict your movements or activities.
A race fit is designed to be just that, it will be specially designed with shorter more intense periods of cycling and the fit will reflect this. It may be a tighter, more aerodynamic fit that feels close to a second skin – and consequently may not be practical or comfortable to wear for longer periods of riding or during rest periods.
The following section asks and answers some frequently asked questions, they are an overview and hopefully, their addition may cover any niggles you may have. If you are unsure or require in-depth advice or information, however, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a professional who can point you in the right direction. The overall guide and following reviews are a small snippet of what is available on today’s market, and hopefully, there has been enough useful information to get you on your way to finding and purchasing the right cycling jacket that is up to your needs and requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are cycling jackets different for men and women?
A: The fundamental difference is the styling that reflects both body shapes, as with regular clothing various sizes and builds types are recognized in the industry; therefore the different types will be made with ultimate comfort in mind.
Q: Are all cycle jackets waterproof?
A: You are best advised to check the individual product specification for ant waterproofing qualities it may have and at what level. Some jackets are not waterproof at all, whilst some may offer water resistance and others may be either shower-proof, or fully waterproof.
Q: Do I really need a cycling jacket?
A: The answer to that question is ultimately up to personal preference but you should bear in mind that a specifically designed cycling jacket will offer better weather protection, be breathable, more comfortable and will more than likely increase your enjoyment of cycling.
Q: Is there a special way to size my cycling jacket if it will be used as a top layer?
A: Simply put, no. As long as you measure yourself adequately and buy appropriate layering garments; you should have no trouble fitting your cycling jacket. Ideally, these will be specific layering garments, you don’t want your best Christmas jumper on underneath for a variety of reasons; it is technologically tried and tested that in order to get the best from your layers – that you buy appropriately so as not to cause discomfort and possible reduced weather protection. As a recommendation try to check each individual product description to confirm the correct size you require.
Q: Do I need sun lotion on under my cycling jacket if it has UV protective treatment?
A: It is advisable, you may get warm to remove your jacket when you’re cycling on a hot or even warm day, the sun’s rays are potentially damaging so it’s always preferable to err on the side of caution and provide yourself with as much weather protection as you can.
Q: Is it better to buy a cycling jacket with or without a hood?
A: That depends really, if you are looking at more leisurely cycling and expect to be taking breaks, a jacket that has a compact hood should maybe be considered – that way if you do get caught out chances are you’ll benefit from the hood. Just bear in mind to aim for a lightweight jacket with a neat hood that is easily rolled and tucked into the collar of your jacket.
Q: Are cycling jackets breathable?
A: Modern technologies aim for providing the most comfortable cycling gear, and most materials will be breathable to a certain extent. You should, however; check the individual product specification to make sure you are getting the best gear for your own individual needs and requirements. Having said that, however, most jackets will have at least a proportion of breathable material on them and this will be indicated on the information labels.
Q: Can I use my cycling jacket for day to day wear?
A: There is no reason why you shouldn’t, but just be aware that cycling jackets are specifically designed for wearing and offering the best protection in a riding position. Some may even be higher at the front than the rear to make it more comfortable to wear on a bike.
- History of Cycling Clothing – Kitsbow
- Beginner&apos’s guide to cycling clothing — do you really need all that Lycra? | road.cc
- The basics of cycling clothing techonolgy for changing conditions | Learn | The Col Collective – Cycling Inspiration and Education
- Bike Clothing: What to Wear on a Ride – REI Expert Advice
- The effect of a yellow bicycle jacket on cyclist accidents – ScienceDirect
- What to Wear in Various Weather – Road Bike Rider
- Winter cycling survival guide: 10 helpful tips to keep you riding – Cycling Weekly