While mountain biking as a sport is less demanding of a ‘uniform’ than, say, road cycling, it’s definitely more fun when you’re comfortable. Loose-fitting clothing works best for riding off-road, and MTB-specific kit is designed to be comfortable enough to move around freely, and durable enough to withstand the demands of mountain biking. When it comes to the best women’s mountain bike jerseys, there are plenty of options out there, but choosing what’s right for you can be a little overwhelming.
If you’re not used to all the MTB jargon, or you’re simply unsure of what you should be looking for in the best mountain bike jerseys, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite women’s specific MTB jerseys and tops, and outlined what we think makes them great. From loose-fitting trail tees that wouldn’t look out of place off the bike, to long-sleeved jerseys that scream “mountain biker”. Whatever your style and budget, there’s bound to be something for you here.
For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.
Keep scrolling for our top picks, and if you’re after some buying advice, you’ll find that at the bottom of this article.
Meet the tester
Mildred has been riding bikes and dabbling in various disciplines since she fell in love with cycling in her mid-twenties. As a plus-size and relatively short woman, she scrutinizes cycling kit closely, favoring apparel that comes in a wide range of sizes, with a decent amount of stretch and comfort, and durability so people get a bang for their buck.
Best women’s mountain bike jerseys
Based out of Squamish, Canada, 7mesh is a brand known for its comfortable and practical cycling kit that excels in mixed-weather conditions. Admittedly its wares can sell for a premium price, but with plenty of experience riding in 7mesh gear over the years, we're confident in its durability and performance to make it worthwhile investment.
The Sight Shirt is a casual tee-style jersey that wouldn’t look out of place off the bike. It’s got a relaxed but flattering cut, lovely soft polyester fabric that’s completely opaque, but lightweight enough to stand up to summer. It’s very breathable and high wicking, stretchy to allow for easy movement, and super durable. Having exposed it to some rough overgrown trails, so far there’s been no snagged fabric and it still looks good as new.
There’s one small zippered pocket that’s large enough to store your debit card and a house key, so it’s ideal for minimalist riders who don’t need to carry much while out on a quick lap of the woods.
Machines For Freedom is one of the most progressive cycling apparel brands when it comes to size-inclusivity and its marketing, showing models of all sizes and shapes. Its clothing is excellent quality as well, so if you’re on the curvy side, I’d definitely recommend this brand.
The Short Sleeve Technical Tee is essentially a boxy t-shirt style jersey, made from buttery soft and sustainable Micromodal fabric. The shape may not be to some people’s taste, but it’s a super comfortable style that is flattering for a range of body types. The Micromodal is luxuriously soft next to the skin, and overall the jersey feels lightweight. It comes in a range of colors, though only the black colorway comes with the option of mesh sleeves, which is the version tested here. These offer some extra ventilation and do a really good job channeling airflow towards sweaty pits when it’s needed most.
First off we need to confess that the design shown here isn’t available for sale, but this is a great example of how Endura is able to create really striking custom clothing. The Scottish brand is a bit of a staple in many mountain bikers’ wardrobes by now, and its MT500 range is designed for more advanced enduro and downhill riders, and has been sported by the likes of Rachel Atherton.
I’ve gone with the long-sleeve version here because the fabric — 70 percent of which is recycled polyester — is super light and thin, so when you’re out in the blistering sun, this offers a barrier of protection for your skin without causing you to overheat.
However, whether you go for the long- or short-sleeve version, you’ll still be getting a lightweight and durable jersey that very quickly wicks sweat away from the skin and dries quickly in the heat. Meanwhile, the slim fit is still relaxed enough to allow for free and easy movement, but it won’t flap in the wind, and it’s got a pretty flattering feminine cut that works well with curves.
For something a bit more aesthetically fun, Nukeproof’s Blackline jerseys offer an injection of color and patterns into your riding wardrobe. This seasons’ Blackline jerseys come with a black-on-gray leopard print panel paired with either turquoise or pale purple, plus there’s a tie-dye version that’s bang on trend right now.
One of the great things about the Blackline jersey is it’s a proper ‘fit and forget’ type of garment. A sign of a good item of clothing is that you’re not constantly aware that you’re wearing it, and in testing this jersey I’ve found this to be exactly the case. It’s comfortable, it has a relaxed and loose fit that allows you to move around easily on the bike, and varying densities of fabric that serve different purposes. The back panel, for example, is super lightweight to help you shed heat, for example.
The fabric also has an anti-bacterial finish to prevent odor build-up, and offers UV protection, according to Nukeproof.
If you’re not so keen on the baggy, boxy jerseys that often come with mountain biking, then Machines For Freedom also offers a Henley-style jersey that comes with three-quarter sleeves, a round neck and a placket of five small snap buttons. The benefits of this style are twofold: first of all you can undo a few buttons as you heat up, but also if you need to quickly slip it off mid-ride, the opening these buttons create is large enough to fit over a helmet.
The jersey is made from 100 percent micro modal — a natural and eco-friendly fabric derived from beech trees — and has a flattering slim fit. The material is super soft and stretchy, so you’ll end up with something completely fitted and, I think, very flattering.
At the rear there are three full-sized pockets, which are ideal for carrying most of your essentials.
Another offering from 7mesh, the Elevate Tee looks similar to the Sight Shirt featured earlier in this guide. The Elevate short sleeve t-shirt is a casual tee that doubles as a mountain biking and general off-road jersey. Looks-wise, it blends in wherever you are, whether that’s the trail center or a cafe, but its blend of polyester and nature-friendly lyocell creates a soft fabric that’s both breathable and anti-bacterial.
It’s a great option for summer riding, since it’s so light and airy, has a relaxed fit that won’t restrict your movements in the slightest, and it does a really good job of wicking sweat and drying off quickly.
How to choose the best women's mountain bike jersey
If you've looked through our recommendations and still aren't sure which option to go for, then read on for some further guidance...
How do I choose a mountain biking jersey?
First consider which type of mountain biking you're doing, as that will help you establish the type of fit you need (more on this below).
Choosing a jersey doesn't have to be over-complicated, and in fact it could be as simple as choosing one that you like the look of if that's what speaks to you most. However, if you do want to invest in something that's going to help you get the most out of your riding, then here are some other things to consider.
If you're mostly riding in the summer, choose something with thin and lightweight fabrics that are good at wicking away sweat and dry quickly. Breathability is key as well. If a jersey has anti-bacterial or anti-microbial properties, then that's an extra bonus as it prevents the fabric from developing nasty smells and keeps the garment fresh for longer.
Think about how you carry what you need; do you need pockets? Are you happy to wear one of the best MTB backpacks or best MTB hip packs to carry your belongings, or would you prefer to stuff your phone, keys and snacks in your rear pockets so you can ride unladen?
How should a women's mountain bike jersey fit?
Besides checking the manufacturer's size charts to establish how tight or loose a jersey may be, there are some other considerations to take into account. For example, what kind of riding are you doing? Whether you're doing some casual loops around your local woods, or racing cross-country, will impact how you want your jersey to fit.
If you're racing XC, then you might want to choose something more close fitting, that won't flap. Many XC racers tend to choose skin-tight Lycra to gain as much aero advantage as possible.
For trail riders, you can be much more versatile. Choose whatever you're comfortable in, whether that's a loose-fitting casual t-shirt, or something a bit more technical. Look for a relatively relaxed fit, that allows you to move freely as you ride and maneuver the bike.
For downhill, you'll want a slightly baggier fit so you can fit body armor underneath, and they'll often have long or three-quarter length sleeves.
Whatever riding style you opt for, the key things to consider is comfort and maneuverability.
Should I choose long sleeves or short sleeves?
This largely comes down to preference and weather/riding conditions. MTB jerseys often come with a choice of long sleeves, short sleeves, and three-quarter length sleeves. Obviously, long sleeves are a great option in colder weather, while you might want short sleeves in the height of summer, and three-quarters in the shoulder months.
A good thing to look for is a Raglan sleeve (which starts at the collar, and has a seam running down under the arm pit) as this allows for more freedom of movement, as well as playing well with backpack straps.
Something else to consider is whether or not you're using elbow pads. If so, then three-quarter or long sleeves require enough room to fit them beneath.
Are there any particular features I should look for?
Besides the fabric properties, sleeve length and pockets, you might want to look for some further details that distinguish the best jerseys from the rest. Flatlock stitching is a good sign of a quality garment, as it keeps the seams lying flat and prevents chafing.
When it comes to pockets, a zippered pocket is always preferable, as it's a safe place to store your house key and debit card, without any risk of it falling out somewhere along the trail.
Finally, if you're riding through overgrown and thorny trails, or you know you're going to be putting your jersey through the wringer, then look for durable, reinforced fabrics. Having these situated around the shoulders should also extend the jersey's lifespan should you use with with a backpack.