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 which set them apart.
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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.
In our round-up of the best mountain bike jerseys, you'll find the very best options for all types of riding disciplines. At the bottom is further buying advice on things like fit and materials.
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 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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Launched earlier this year in a new MTB line from high-end bike wear specialists, Rapha, comes the Trail Lightweight T-Shirt. Released as part of their 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, Polyester yarn on the front panel, and sleeve fronts, the Rapha jersey wicks 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 our tester found the medium size came up pretty big on him.
If you're looking for a summer jersey that won't break the bank, Endura's Singletrack Core T is a top option. Made entirely from a checkered, wicking, and lightweight fabric, it does a great job of removing sweat away from your skin whether you're bike park shuttling or riding dusty loops. The 95 percent recycled, polyester fabric feels light to wear and resists snags on passing foliage.
With Raglan sleeves and a nicely cut V-neck (with small mesh panels just below), the fit is great and the close-ish cut is bang on for size. Our test jersey has a limited edition print, but there are four other color options to choose from.
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 cut well and there are 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.
In an unusually warm and dry British early summer, the Celium quickly became one of our favorite riding jerseys. It looks great, feels really good, minimized riding moisture, and comes with an optics wipe. 100% offer a one-year manufacturing warranty, should you have a problem during that time, they'll replace your jersey.
Long sleeves might seem like an odd option on a summer day 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 is 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 it also drys quickly should you build up a bit of a sweat or get caught in a summer shower. This moisture-wicking ability also means it's suitable as part of a layering system in colder weather too.
For more, check out our full review of the Scott Trail Vertic LS Jersey.
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 Long Sleeve (opens in new tab) is a great alternative for those looking for a light jersey with full arm coverage.
If you want more details, check out our Velocio Micromodal Trail Tee and kit review.
This jersey from Leatt is a thermal, windproof top for aggressive enduro or downhill riders. Even though this jersey is somewhat more heavyweight, 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.
This jersey will hold up to lots of use in changeable weather conditions and keep you riding for longer without having to reach for a shell jacket. There is 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.
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.
The latest Gore C5 short sleeve Trail 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.
The multi-panel cut also means that mobility isn't an issue, plus there's a women's version as well. You can match the C5 jersey with Gore's C5 shorts, which have received good reviews from our testers as well, although our test samples didn't have a perfect color match.
To find out more, be sure to read our Gore C5 Trail mountain bike shirt and shorts review(opens in new tab)
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 this leaves ample room for padding underneath and airflow, if you like something a bit more fitted, consider sizing down.(opens in new tab)
Peral 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 should help avoid bunching around the arm-pits when on the bike.(opens in new tab)
Sitting at the top of Nukeproof's clothing range is the Blackline collection. Even though it's labeled as 'premium' the price sure doesn't reflect it. The majority of the Blackline short sleeve is made from 100% recycled S.Cafe Polyester (said to be UV rated), while under the arms and the majority of the back panel are made from mesh (not recycled). This is not only to keep you fresh but also to limit sweat from your backpack - the panel is also black so nobody can see if your back gets a bit swampy.
There's also a sizable stash pocket - more than large enough for a phone. The Blackline short sleeve is also available in men's cuts, with the women's version showing a more tapered fit. Even better, with a long list of features, it's also one of the cheaper jerseys on our list and is available in men's and women's fit.(opens in new tab)
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.(opens in new tab)
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
What you need to know about the best mountain bike jerseys
How much should I spend on a mountain bike jersey?
There's plenty of budget models that will cost around $50 / £35. 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 / £75 or more. That said, as in the fashion world, you can find yourself paying more just to have a more 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 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 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 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.
How can I look like a proper mountain biker?
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 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 reduces 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 jerseys durability and extend its life span.