Best mountain bike jerseys 2024 – highest-rated, comfortable riding tops

A rider on a trail at sunset wearing one of the best mountain bike jerseys
(Image credit: Lapierre)

Many people write the best mountain bike jerseys off as expensive t-shirts. On the surface, they aren't totally wrong, but MTB-specific details like seams that play nicely with riding packs and neck braces, drop tails, reinforced panels, built-in ventilation, and goggle wipes are among the many features that set them apart.

There are tons of styles of mountain bike jerseys ranging from form-fitting XC-style options to heavy-duty long-sleeve downhill jerseys. Most brands offer lots of designs and colors so you can find one that matches your style. Jerseys don't have to be expensive either. The top brands can be found at reasonable prices in online shops, and last year's stock is sold at good discounts, too. 

Our expert reviewers have thoroughly tested a range of the best mountain bike jerseys to compile this round-up of the best options for all types of riding disciplines. Our top pick is the Rapha Trail Lightweight T-Shirt. If you need help in how to choose the best mountain bike jersey, skip to the bottom for our buying advice on fit, materials, and more.

Hopefully, you'll find what you need here to sort out the top half of your body, but if you also want to get fresh threads for your lower section, check out our guide on the best mountain bike shorts. Or perhaps you're looking for women-specific jerseys. In that case, head on over to our guide to the best women's mountain bike jerseys.

Best mountain bike jerseys

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1. Best overall

Rapha Trail Lightweight T-Shirt

The Rapha Trail Lightweight T-Shirt is ultra light with excellent wicking (Image credit: Rich Owen)

Rapha Trail Lightweight T-Shirt

The best MTB jersey overall

Specifications

Material: Polyester microfiber yarn
Drop tail: Yes
Pockets: No
Optics wipe: No

Reasons to buy

+
Super light feel
+
Highly wicking
+
68 percent recycled
+
UV protection
+
Antibacterial treatment

Reasons to avoid

-
Generous sizing
-
Back panel is less wicking

The Trail Lightweight T-Shirt features in a range of high-performance MTB clothing from high-end bike wear specialist, Rapha. Released as part of its Fast + Light range, while we're less sure that this jersey actually makes you faster, it is definitely very light and is a great option for hot weather.

Constructed with a microfiber and polyester yarn on the front panel, and sleeve fronts, we found the Rapha jersey wicked away sweat extremely well. The dropped back panel and rear of the sleeves are made with a smoother and less wicking fabric though, that we presume gives better sun protection.

The neck is low cut like a t-shirt rather than a jersey and while the overall shape of the garment is really good, you may want to size down as we found the medium size came up pretty big.

2. Best light feel

100% Celium Short Sleeve Jersey

The whole of the 100% Celium is subtly perforated with thousands of tiny holes to keep you cool (Image credit: Rich Owen)

100% Celium Short Sleeve Jersey

Super-light feeling trail jersey

Specifications

Material: Polyester/elastane
Drop tail: Just about
Pockets: No
Optics wipe: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Light feel while wearing
+
Highly wicking
+
Casual fit
+
Good looks
+
One year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
No good for colder weather

Ideal for blasting roost-strewn trails on hot days, the 100% Celium is impressively light and rapidly wicks away sweaty moisture too. The polyester/elastane material is super smooth and glides over your skin rather than bunching up. The entire jersey is subtly perforated with thousands of tiny holes which are barely visible from the outside, but do an excellent job of helping to keep you cool.

The three-panel jersey body, plus the sleeves, is really well cut and we found there were minimal pulls or tight areas when worn. There's zero water resistance, but this is not the kind of jersey you'd pull on in unfavorable weather and if it does get wet, the material dries rapidly.

We tested the Celium in warm, dry conditions and it quickly became one of our favorite riding jerseys. It looks great, feels really good, minimizes riding moisture, and comes with an optics wipe. 100% offers a one-year manufacturing warranty – should you have a problem during that time, they'll replace your jersey.

3. Best long sleeve

Scott Trail Vertic LS jersey

Scott's Trail Vertic SL has a close race-inspired fit that doesn't flap in the wind or bunch up (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
A long sleeve jersey that's still breathable enough for warm days

Specifications

Material: 92% Polyester (recycled), 8% Elastane
Drop tail: Yes
Pockets: One
Optics wipe: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Super mobile without bunching
+
Breezy mixed mesh cooling
+
Works as a base layer too
+
Hidden essentials pocket
+
Lens wipe on front hem

Reasons to avoid

-
Features add cost
-
Wipe is very narrow

Long sleeves might seem like an odd option on warmer days but covering the arms can provide extra protection from the sun and trailside foliage while riding.

The unusual angular intersections create a fit that avoids any bunching on the bike and lets Scott position different weights of material where it's needed the most. The result is a close race-inspired fit that doesn't flap in the wind or bunch up when wearing a backpack.

The lightweight material does a good job at avoiding getting snagged on bushes and branches and the mesh fabric is light enough to keep a good breeze moving across the body to stop overheating. With the material being so light, we found it also dries quickly should you build up a bit of a sweat or get caught in a shower. 

Our reviewer Guy Kesteven said, "You pay a bit extra for Scott’s Trail Vertic LS jersey but we reckon it’s well worth it. The mixed mesh fabric makes it cool and dry on its own or boosts the performance of an outer layer when worn as a base layer. The clever shoulder cut works really well in terms of fit and mobility, while the secret pocket and lens wipe is a nice touch, even if the latter could ideally be deeper." 

For more, check out our full review of the Scott Trail Vertic LS Jersey.

4. Best for comfort

Velocio Trail Kit

The Velocio Micromodal Trail Tee is supremely comfortable and soft on the skin (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
Supremely comfortable and stylish

Specifications

Material: Micromodal
Drop tail: Yes
Pockets: No
Optics wipe: No

Reasons to buy

+
Super soft and stretchy
+
Slim fit, but not skin tight
+
Casual styling

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive, but it is top quality

Modal is a semi-synthetic fabric made by spinning reconstituted cellulose from beech trees and is becoming increasingly common in technical activewear because it's lightweight, super soft, and fast-drying. 

We found that the jersey handles heat and moisture extremely well and is supremely comfortable. The fit is slim, but not overly form-fitting like a race-cut spandex jersey so you aren't going to look too sporty on a trail ride and the styling is enough on the casual side that you can wear it off the bike if you wish. Velocio doesn't do a long-sleeve version, however, the Velocio Merino Trail Long Sleeve is a great alternative for those looking for a light jersey with full arm coverage.

Our reviewer, Colin Levitch, testing out in Australia found, "It’s super comfortable on the trails, especially in the Aussie heat, but the fabric is so comfortable on the skin it’s also a shirt I would reach for ahead of a big travel day." 

If you want more details, check out our Velocio Micromodal Trail Tee and kit review.

5. Best thermal

Leatt DBX 5.0 All Mountain

Leatt's DBX 5.0 All Mountain is a great all-rounder for changeable weather conditions (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
Comfortable and thermal technical jersey with an aggro enduro fit

Specifications

Material: WindBlock
Drop tail: Yes
Pockets: Yes
Optics wipe: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Thermal and windproofness is impressively warm
+
Heavyweight materials are hard-wearing
+
Comfortable fit

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for hot conditions

This jersey from Leatt is a thermal, windproof top for aggressive enduro or downhill riders. Even though this jersey is somewhat heavierweight, the mid-weight 3D-knit rear panel breathes out moisture well, whether it's sweat or rain, to keep your body warm from any wintertime draughts. 

We found this jersey will hold up to lots of use in changeable weather conditions and it kept us riding for longer without having to reach for a shell jacket. There are some nice details too; 'Brush Guard' material is used on the elbows to protect against tumble or bag wear, and there is also a pocket with an eyewear wipe for when your goggles or glasses get splotched with mud. 

Reviewer Guy Kesteven summed up the Leatt top: "The jersey is a standout as it’s a rare combination of aggro style and thermal gains… It's been super useful right through the year from flat-out ‘power hours’ on warmer winter days to wet, single-digit temperature ‘summer’ nights. So far it’s not showing any signs that I’ve been wearing it a ton either, which makes it an even better investment."

Find out more about the DBX 5.0 All Mountain jersey, and the matching shorts, in our Leatt DBX 5.0 All Mountain kit review.

6. Best for durability

Gore C5 Trail jersey and shorts review

Gorewear's C5 Trail shirt resisted thorn attacks and crashes without any obvious damage (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
Good jersey at a fair price

Specifications

Material: Polyester, elastane
Drop tail: Yes
Pockets: No
Optics wipe: No

Reasons to buy

+
Great lightweight performance
+
Fast drying
+
Surprisingly durable

Reasons to avoid

-
Jersey color doesn't match corresponding Gorewear Trail shorts color

The latest Gorewear C5 Trail short sleeve jersey is a massive improvement from the previous version with the new version resisting thread pulls and bad smells better. The versatile cut is combined with the slightly stretchy material in case you want to size down for a slimmer fit too. 

We found that with the multi-panel cut mobility wasn't an issue. While there are no pockets or glass wipe details, the reinforced collar and subtle black reflective strips on the side seams are quality details for the money. There's a women's version of the C5 as well. 

You can match the C5 jersey with Gorewear's C5 shorts, which have received good reviews from our testers as well, although our test samples didn't have a perfect color match. 

Our reviewer Guy Kesteven was impressed with the improved version of the C5 Trail jersey, saying, "it didn’t take long to become a real favorite".

To find out more, be sure to read our Gore C5 Trail mountain bike shirt and shorts review

7. Best venting

Fox Ranger short sleeve mountain bike jersey

The middle third of the Fox Ranger is mesh, allowing for plenty of air to find its way into the shirt (Image credit: Fox Racing)

Fox Ranger Short Sleeve

Comfortable fit and quick drying fabric

Specifications

Material: Polyester
Drop tail: Yes
Pockets: No
Optics wipe: No

Reasons to buy

+
Quick dry lightweight fabric
+
Ample venting

Reasons to avoid

-
Generous fit may be cause to size down

Fox's Ranger top is one of the most comfortable jerseys we've worn, and the TruDri fabric 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 stitching. 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. 

The Ranger jersey has a looser fit and as Fox puts it 'drapes' around your body. While we found this leaves ample room for padding underneath and airflow, if you like something a bit more fitted, consider sizing down. 

8. Best casual style

Pearl Izumi Canyon jersey

The Pearl Izumi Canyon looks great for everyday wear too (Image credit: Pearl Izumi)

Pearl Izumi Canyon

Casual riding t-shirt that looks great off the bike too

Specifications

Material: Polyester
Drop tail: Yes
Pockets: No
Optics wipe: No

Reasons to buy

+
High-quality materials
+
Tailored fit
+
Simple aesthetic

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks brand cache

Pearl Izumi has completely refreshed its Canyon mountain bike jersey, transforming it from a zippered and pocketed design to a more trail, casual style t-shirt. This means it can cross over between everyday wear and on the bike without standing out as sports apparel.

The jersey uses Drirelease fabric to help deal with any moisture build-up and improve all-day comfort. The rear has a dropped hem at the back and the raglan sleeves help avoid bunching around the arm-pits when on the bike.

9. Best merino

Mons Royale Icon

The Mons Royale Icon is made from a super-soft fabric featuring 83 percent merino wool (Image credit: Mons Royale)

Mons Royale Icon

Good looks and performs even better

Specifications

Material: Merino Air-Con
Drop tail: Yes
Pockets: No
Optics wipe: No

Reasons to buy

+
Super soft material
+
Odor-resistant
+
Men and women's options

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher price than some 

Hailing from Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, Mons Royale started making merino wool underlayers for skiers, however, with the Kiwis being MTB mad it's no surprise to see them with a range of bike clothing. The Mons Royale Icon works great on the trail, in large part because Mons Royale's Merino Tencel wool feels more like a warm hug than an MTB jersey. The material does not dry as quickly as open mesh synthetic materials, but it still keeps you comfortable even in the heat and humidity of the summer. The wool also staves off smell and can be worn multiple rides without you being relegated to the back of your riding group because you stink.

At the bottom there is a stepped hem, meaning the back of the jersey extends lower to prevent riding up. It's available in a choice of pleasant colors as well as coming in two women's versions, a regular and relaxed fit.

10. Best armor compatible

100% R-Core-X DH mountain bike jersey

The 100% R-Core-X DH fit is relaxed, leaving abundant room for armor underneath (Image credit: 100%)

100% R-Core-X DH Jersey

Downhill drapery, moto style

Specifications

Material: Polyester
Drop tail: Yes
Pockets: No
Optics wipe: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Well vented
+
Room for body armor
+
Neck brace friendly seams
+
Pro look when paired with 100% bottoms

Reasons to avoid

-
Styling may be too moto for some

One of many mountain bike brands with moto roots, the 100% R-Core-X 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 armor underneath, and there’s a drop tail with a goggle wipe inside the hem. The styling is clearly aimed to look best when paired with 100%'s R-CORE X pants or shorts although the matchy factory look may not appeal to all riders.

How to choose the best mountain bike jerseys

How much should I spend on a mountain bike jersey?

There are plenty of budget models that will cost around $50. While they're great value for money and will do the job of wicking sweat away very well, they perhaps won't be as refined as more expensive models that cost in the region of $100 or more. That said, as in the fashion world, you can find yourself paying more just to have a desirable brand blazoned across your chest rather than a jersey that's actually superior to cheaper options.

How should a mountain bike jersey fit?

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 armor 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.

What should I look for in a mountain bike jersey?

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 who 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 fibers like merino wool. While synthetic fibers 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 odor 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. 

Are long or short sleeves best on a MTB jersey?

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, but it also moves the seams well clear of backpack straps that might cause chafing. 

Obviously, longer sleeves are going to be warmer than short sleeves, but the layer of material over your arms also offers added protection from spiky 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.

How can I look like a proper mountain biker?

The roots of MTB clothing come from motocross, with quite a few of the top brands making gear for both. With this, it shouldn't be a surprise that fluoro MX pajamas 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 colors. However, there is still plenty of MX steeze to go around if that's your thing – no judgment here. 

What features should I look for in a mountain bike jersey?

Beyond what we have listed above, the best mountain bike jerseys will often feature goggles 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 seams to last longer but reduce chafing too.

Finally, some jerseys will feature reinforced fabrics around high friction areas like crash points and shoulders where backpack straps sit. This should help increase the jersey's durability and extend its lifespan.

How we test the best mountain bike jerseys

Meet the testers

All the mountain bike jerseys we've tested here have been put through many hours of riding in many different conditions. We've assessed their breathability, wicking ability, mobility, comfort, style and durability, as well as extra details they may feature, such as pockets, lens wipes, and antibacterial treatments.

Rich Owen
Rich Owen

Rich has been riding mountain bikes for over 30 years and mostly likes hitting flowy yet technical trails that point downhill. A jack of many trades, he has competed in cross-country, enduro and long distance MTB races, not to mention also now adding gravel to his riding repertoire. 

Colin Levitch
Colin Levitch

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. Colin has worked at Bikeradar and is a regular contributor to Australian Mountain Bike and Cyclist magazines. 

A man washing himself in a muddy puddle
Guy Kesteven

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect's contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire, he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear.

Rich Owen
Editor, BikePerfect

Rich Owen is the editor of the Bikeperfect.com team. He's worked as a journalist and editor for over 24 years, with 12 years specializing in cycling media. Rich bought his first mountain bike (a rigid Scott Tampico) in 1995 and has been riding MTB for almost 30 years.

Current rides: Merida One-Forty 6000, Banshee Paradox, YT Jeffsy Core 3, Saracen Ariel 30 Pro

Height: 175cm

Weight: 69kg

With contributions from