Best mountain bike jerseys: the top MTB jerseys we've reviewed

Best mountain bike jersey
(Image credit: Fox Racing)

Many people write mountain bike jerseys off as expensive t-shirts, and on the surface, they aren't totally wrong, but subtle details like seams that play nice with backpacks and neck braces, drop tails, reinforced panels, built-in ventilation and goggle wipes are among the many features which set them apart.

Best overall

Best MTB Jackets

(Image credit: Fox Racing)

Fox Racing Standard

One of the most comfortable MTB jerseys you can buy

This supremely comfortable short sleeved jersey from Fox Racing is made from fabric that is soft to the touch and efficiently wicks moisture off your skin. The middle third of the jersey is mesh, allowing for plenty of air to find its way into the shirt and the seams are non-intrusive and flatlock stitched. While it does not command the same price as some of Fox's other tops like the Flexair and Indicator, it's made from the same material - the only difference being the lack of lie-flat cuffs and the perforations not being laser cut. In terms of fit, this sits on the looser side, leaving ample room for padding underneath and airflow, if you like something a bit more fitted, consider sizing down. 

Best value

Best MTB Jackets

(Image credit: Wisdom Leaves)

Wisdom Leaves MTB jersey

Great value for money and comfortable

You don't have to spend a fortune to ride the trails in comfort. This short sleeved jersey from Wisdom Leaves barely breaks the bank and offers good quality design and comfort in ten great color options. The fabric is breathable and moisture-wicking, to help you stay dry and fresh on the bike, while the design and stitching deliver an impressive range of movement.


Best MTB Jackets

(Image credit: 7mesh)

7Mesh Desperado Henley

Casual style belies high tech materials

The Desperado Henley doesn't scream "bike dork" from a distance; however, closer inspection reveals a drop tail and articulated cut through the torso and sleeves so the top won't bunch or bind when you reach for the handlebars. Even still, the aesthetic and fit also don't look out of place off the bike at the pub or on a hike. Snap closures at the front can be popped should you need a bit of extra airflow, and the buttons are low profile and don't rub.

Made from a 54% polyester and 47% merino blend the fabric breathes well, and the slim cut also means it can double as a base layer when the temperature drops. It doesn't dry quite as fast as fully synthetic fibres, but it also doesn't pick up a smell when you think the word 'sweat.' 


Best MTB Jackets

(Image credit: Race Face)

Race Face Ambush long sleeve jersey

Great option for those looking for a looser fit

The Race Face Ambush long sleeve jersey is made using Race Face's Cool Touch polyester yarn, a silky warp knit fabric designed to be soft and quick drying yet hard wearing. Stitched together with flatlock seams throughout, the jersey is airy and seems to hold up pretty well against spiky trail side fauna and dirt rash.

With a looser fit, there is ample room for pads and armour underneath, and if you're not quite that rowdy, you may want to consider sizing down to achieve a slimmer fit. The jersey gets a drop tail, and a plush suede goggle wipe under the hem for keeping your eyewear clean. 

Staff pick

Best MTB Jackets

(Image credit: Troy Lee Designs)

Troy Lee Designs Skyline jersey

Super comfortable and well-vented

Lightweight and stretchy, Troy Lee Designs has given the Skyline jersey a complete redesign starting with the fabric. The top is made using a 92% polyester and 8% spandex mix, giving it a surprising amount of stretch. The material itself is Bluesign approved, meaning the manufacturer has been audited for its impact on the people working throughout the supply chain and the environment. Perforated material runs under the arms, and there is a drop tail at the back. With the fit being slim, the stretch in the fabric means there is plenty of room for armour underneath.


Best MTB Jackets

(Image credit: 100%)

100% R-Core-X DH Jersey

Downhill drapery, moto style

One of many mountain bike brands with moto roots, the 100% R-Core DH Jersey definitely looks fast. The top is made from polyester mesh, so it's quick drying and has received an antimicrobial treatment to stave off smells. There is a semi-raglan sleeve, with the seams situated so they won't interfere with a neck brace.

Being a DH jersey the fit is relaxed, leaving abundant room for armour underneath, and there’s a drop tail with a goggle wipe inside the hem. 

1. Fit and riding style

Beyond just navigating size charts to find the correct size jersey, your riding style will also play a role in how a riding top should fit. 

XC whippets will usually err on the side of skin-tight Lycra, and may even wear road style jerseys (or even skinsuits) to eke out any possible aero gains, and use the rear pockets for spares, food and water. 

Trail jerseys cover a large swath of riders and can mean anything from casual looking dry-release t-shirt style tops to full zip garments with a mix of stretch and non-stretch panels and rear pockets. They come in several weights, sleeve lengths, cuts and materials, and some feature zippered pockets and goggle wipes too.

Downhill jerseys are usually made from slightly thicker fabric, have a baggy fit to accommodate body armour underneath and have long or three quarter sleeves. Often DH jerseys will also see extra panels of soft fabric devoid of seams around the collar to play nice with neck braces, and may even have reinforcements in high friction areas.

Regardless of your riding style, a jersey should be comfortable in the riding position and should not restrict your movement or bind, which in some cases may make for an awkward fit off the bike. At the most basic end, this should mean a longer rear hem or 'drop tail,' and may also influence the placement of seams, moving them away from areas that rub. 

2. Materials

Even if a mountain bike jersey has every bell and whistle and the cut is bang on, if it's made from scratchy fabric it's still going to be uncomfortable. For the most part, jerseys will use materials designed to wick sweat and dry quickly to prevent you from overheating. For those that live in colder climates, there is also a broad range of thermal jerseys and jackets, but we will cover those in a separate guide. 

MTB jerseys come in all sorts of polyester blends, and natural fibres like merino wool. While synthetic fibres often dry faster than natural ones, they do tend to pick up a perma-stink that will persist through an infinite number of washes - which also releases microfibers into the water supply. On the other hand, your merino jerseys can be worn multiple rides in a row and won't pick up a funk. Often fabrics will receive chemical treatments or something like silver thread woven throughout to add wicking properties or keep body odour at bay, however, these solutions don't seem to last. 

Quite often, mountain bike jerseys will have mesh panels or lighter weight fabrics in areas like the armpit or the back to further the ability to dump heat and moisture as you ride. 

3. Sleeves

MTB jerseys are available in short, three quarter length and long sleeve varieties. Look for a Raglan sleeve, meaning the sleeve starts at the collar and the seam runs down under the armpit. This not only allows for a bit more freedom of movement, it also moves the seams well clear of backpack straps that might cause chaffing. 

Obviously, longer sleeves are going to be warmer than short sleeves, but the layer of material over your arms also offers added protection from spikey trailside plants, the ground if you come unstuck and the sun too. For both long and three quarter sleeve tops if you wear elbow pads, make sure they fit underneath, however, don't get something overly baggy as it will flap when you ride. And no one likes that. 

4. Style

The roots of MTB clothing comes from motocross, with quite a few of the top brands making gear for both. With this, it shouldn't be a surprise the fluoro MX pyjamas complete with massive logos have made the jump across to mountain biking. 

While there are people on both sides of the debate, in recent years many brands have adopted a more casual style, with smaller logos and muted colours. However, there is still plenty of MX steeze to go around if that's your thing, no judgement here. 

5. Extras

Beyond what we have listed above, MTB tops will often feature goggle or glasses wipes inside the bottom hem of the shirt and a zippered stash pocket situated behind your kidney. 

Also be on the lookout for flatlock stitching, which will not only help the seems to last longer, but reduces chafing too.

Finally, some jerseys will feature reinforced fabrics around high friction areas.

Colin Levitch
Freelance writer

Born and bred in Colorado, and now based in Australia, Colin comes from a ski racing background and started riding as a way to stay fit through the summer months. His father, a former European pro, convinced him to join the Colorado State University collegiate cycling team, and he hasn't stopped since. It's not often he pins on a number nowadays, and you'll likely find him in search of flowy singletrack, gravel roads and hairpin corners. Colin has worked at Bikeradar and is a regular contributor to Australian Mountain Bike and Cyclist magazines. 

Rides: BMC Team Machine SLR01, Trek Top Fuel 9, Ibis Ripley