Wearing appropriate functional clothing when cycling clearly makes sense, because the right fabric on the skin ensures that you feel completely comfortable. Here you can find out that cycling clothing can be not only functional but also stylish, when you need which clothing and which accessories are the right ones for which purpose.
Why do I need special clothing when cycling?
As with any other sport, there are special clothes for cycling. Of course, you can sit on the saddle in jeans and a T-shirt and pedal pedals, however, there are special clothing for cyclists to buy for a reason. Especially when it comes to pants and tops, you should afford bike outfits, the reason for which is easily explained:
- Bike tops like jackets, shirts or jerseys are cut differently than everyday clothes or other sports gear. On the bike you are sitting, and you are stretching your arms forward. If tops don't give you enough room to move in the shoulder, they can, in the worst case, cut off your arms and make them fall asleep. That is why cycling tops are cut wide in the shoulder. In addition, the sleeves and the back are longer, so everything stays well packed even in a seated position.
- Bicycle pants often have a more or less pronounced padding in the seat area, which provides more comfort on the saddle. In addition, cycling shorts should not have thick, internal seams, as these would chafe with the constant pedalling motion.
- Clothes made of generously stretchy fabrics are most comfortable on the bike
But it's not just comfort that's important; cycling clothes perform - quite incidentally - other functions as well.
Of course, the most important thing is your safety. To make sure nothing happens to you in the event of a fall, there's a whole range of clothing and protectors to keep you safe. These include helmets and protectors for knees and elbows, but gloves and goggles will also ensure an injury-free ride. Even if you prefer to be discreetly dressed, road cycling or trekking clothing in particular can be a bit more colourful, as you will be seen better that way. For this reason, reflectors are often incorporated into cycling clothing to make you more visible when riding at night or at dusk. High-visibility is the newfangled buzzword here.
It's not just in winter that special clothes keep you warm. Because once you've been chilled by the wind or headwind, cycling is no longer fun. If you're an all-season cyclist, biking underwear, thermal clothing and thick cycling gloves are a must-have in your wardrobe.
Have you ever been caught in a downpour and been completely soaked afterwards? Even then, you probably didn't feel like continuing to ride your bike. There are special cycling clothes that keep you dry in such situations. But not only rainwear keeps your skin dry. Special breathable fabrics in cycling clothes keep you from sweating through your clothes and simply transport the moisture you release to the outside.
Probably no one cares entirely about how he or she looks while cycling. The various cycling apparel manufacturers know this and create all sorts of different styles. From the colorful and eye-catching look to the sleek, all-black appearance, there is a myriad of variety. This not only makes you feel comfortable while cycling, it also makes you distinctive. Moreover, you can visually adapt your clothing to your bike. Mountain bikers and road cyclists in particular are recognizable by their distinctive style, even without a bike.
A pair of jeans is probably made for many things, but when it comes to cycling, the fabric does reach its limits very quickly. Cycling clothing is designed to be extra rugged at the various contact points (the buttocks, for example). This makes things very durable and ensures carefree biking, even when the going gets a bit tough.
What special cycling clothing do I need?
As you can see, there are all sorts of reasons to buy cycling clothing. The choice of special products is even greater. This of course begs the question, what do you really need, what might be good to have, and what is truly special?
Essentials of cycling clothing
There are cycling clothes that simply everyone who likes to sit in the saddle often needs - from the toughest mountain biker to the fastest road cyclist. A suitable bicycle helmet is, of course, an absolute must. But other items of clothing will also make your life on the bike much more comfortable, this includes for example a rain and wind jacket. It should always be with you if you plan to go for a short or long ride on your bike. A rain pants is also a worthwhile purchase, especially on longer rides, but also for everyday use. Biking gloves, which will protect you in the event of a fall and also keep you more comfortable, are also highly recommended for casual biking.
Important basics for every cyclist:
- Bicycle helmet
- Biking gloves for summer and winter
- Bicycle jacket or rain jacket
- Rain pants
Good to have
In this category are items that are useful for regular cycling. These include special cycling shorts, with or without seat padding. They make longer bike rides, in particular, much more comfortable. A jersey, whether T-shirt style or classic with back pockets, is also very comfortable on the skin when you're on the bike for longer than an hour. The same goes for goggles. While everyday sunglasses will do, special sports glasses slip less and protect your eyes better from the sun and foreign objects. Special cycling sunglasses are designed so that the temples fit under a helmet without leaving pressure marks. Also, sports sunglasses are usually equipped with shatterproof glass, this protects your eyes from splinters in case of a fall. Socks that don't soak up sweat are important for good support in the shoe and thus for efficient pedalling. Lastly, arm warmers and leg warmers still fall into this category - they keep arms and legs warm in cold weather.
Bike gear for those who get on their bikes regularly:
- Padded pants
- Bike jerseys or jerseys
- Bike sunglasses
- Bike socks
- Sleeves and leg warmers
- A cap that fits under your helmet
Other cycling apparel is most in demand for frequent riders or for specific disciplines. These are for example biking shoes with or without click system, protectors for mountain bikers or underwear. If you pedal not just regularly but several times a week, or plan really long rides, these things can be extremely helpful.
- Biking shoes with or without a click system
- Protectors or pants and tops with built-in protectors
- Bike underwear
- Multi-functional scarves
Are there different cycling clothes for men and women?
Just as there are different collections for women and men when it comes to normal streetwear, the same is true when it comes to cycling apparel. Although men and women wear basically the same clothes, there are big differences in terms of style and cut. There are also different preferences between men and women when it comes to color combinations. Of course, there are also cycling clothes for kids.
It's very important that your cycling clothes actually fit you. If it pinches, chafes and pinches makes cycling little joy. Garments that are too big are also a hindrance, as they cause annoying wrinkles. To make sure you find pieces that suit your style and that you like, there's plenty of choice from a wide range of manufacturers in our brand shops.
What is the onion-layer system?
When it comes to outdoor sports, you're perfectly dressed with the onion look. This involves putting on lots of thin garments on top of each other, rather than just a few thick ones. The many small air chambers between the layers then create a cosy warmth. When you are sufficiently warmed up, you can gradually take off the layers. But be careful, you shouldn't just put any clothes on top of each other. There are basically three different layers:
- Base layer: A layer of thin textiles made of tree or merino wool; for example, an undershirt or T-shirt.
- Insulating layer: Thicker fabrics such as fleece provide warmth; for example, in the form of a sweater.
- Weather layer: Leaves weather influences such as rain and wind outside; usually in the form of a jacket.
Where is the difference between waterproof and water repellent?
When it gets wet, the fun stops, at least if you're not wearing the right outfit. Good thing there's the right clothing for rain, too. But what's the difference between a waterproof, a water-repellent and a water-resistant jacket? A waterproof jacket is absolutely waterproof. That means whether you're out in the rain for three minutes, thirty minutes, or even several hours, no moisture will get in from the outside.
With textiles that are described as waterproof or water-repellent, the wetness protection doesn't last quite as long. They can usually withstand a shower, but if it rains continuously for several hours, the wetness could slowly creep inside. The water column rating on the jacket tells you how waterproof it is. Up to 8,000 mm water column, a garment is considered water-repellent; above 8,000 mm water column, it is waterproof.Please note that waterproof garments may not tolerate frequent washing or should be re-impregnated every so often.
Of particular interest to bikers are bicycle rain jackets, bicycle rain pants and waterproof shoe covers.
What special materials are there?
Every manufacturer relies on different fabric combinations when it comes to fighting sweat, wind, rain, and for comfort, which is why some companies have even created their own textile names. Since there is the right clothing for every weather, the exact compositions of the textiles also differ according to the area of use. A jersey for summer, for example, should protect you from the sun's rays, a rain jacket from moisture penetration. As with other functional clothing, synthetic fibres are also very common in bike clothing. Very often polyester, elastane, Lycra, microfiber or even nylon are processed. Merino wool (and also other wool), is mainly used for cycling winter clothing. Either the fibers are used individually or as a combination.
Do different types of cycling clothing exist for different uses?
With bicycles, the intended use determines how the bike looks and what features it has. It's much the same with bike clothing.
Bike clothing for mountain bikers
Mountain bikers like to keep it casual, so the shorts and t-shirts are loose-fitting and the design is usually totally suitable for everyday use. You can hardly tell from the loose-fitting shorts, pants and tops that these are functional clothes, however, the hidden features of mountain bike clothing are quite practical. The materials are particularly robust and tear-resistant, and attention is paid to flat seams that do not chafe.
Garments with built-in protectors are particularly useful for the tougher disciplines such as enduro or downhill. Here you can find pants with tailbone protection, tops with back protectors or socks with thick padding protecting ankles or shins. When it comes to mountain bike gear, the boundaries between women's clothing and clothing for men are rather blurred, and the outfits actually always fit.
Race bike clothing
In racing, every gram and every millisecond counts! That's why the pants and jerseys for road cyclists are tight-fitting and smooth, they should offer as little air resistance as possible. To ensure that comfort is not neglected, particularly stretchy fabrics are required for road cycling clothing. When it comes to body-hugging bike clothing for road cyclists, a distinction between women's and men's outfits is common.
What are arm and leg warmers and what are they needed for?
Have you ever set off early on your bike and worked up a good sweat when it got warmer later on? There are arm warmers and leg warmers for just that purpose. When it's really nippy in the morning, put them on. Then when it gets warmer, you can just take them off one by one. It makes just as much sense the other way around. If you are not sure whether a short jersey is too cold, then pack some arm warmers and you are on the safe side. Arm warmers and leg warmers are very small and light, which is why they fit in any jersey pocket or backpack.
Do I need special cycling gloves and are there different varieties?
Bicycle gloves are not just any gloves. For winter, for example, cycling gloves are extra warm and windproof, because at the handlebars your hands cool down particularly quickly. Therefore, the gloves are cosy and thick or have a particularly resistant outer material. In addition, there is a layer on the inside of the hand, which improves the grip on the handlebar.
But cycling gloves also make sense in warm weather. For one thing, they're padded for comfort, and for another, they protect your hands from abrasions in the event of a fall. In addition, their grippy inside provides a good grip on the handlebars.
How do I care for my cycling clothes?
Since every piece of clothing is made from different materials, it is also important to differentiate when it comes to caring for cycling clothing. Each item will tell you exactly how to wash it, or you can find care instructions on their websites. Rainwear also needs to be re-waterproofed from time to time, so that the jackets and trousers continue to protect you from moisture from the outside.
Do I need different cycling clothes in winter than in summer?
Summer and winter basically place completely different demands on your cycling clothes. While it should protect you from too much sunlight in summer, it needs to keep you warm in winter. If you use the onion layer system, you can easily combine cycling clothes for summer and winter. For example, on a mild winter day with drizzle, you can wear your summer rain jacket as a top layer. Underneath, however, you should wear winter-specific thermal clothing in order not to freeze.
There is, however, one task that applies to both winter and summer cycling clothing.
One task, however, applies to both extremes: breathable cycling clothing should keep you dry. The textiles therefore actively transport natural perspiration and moisture to the outside. Rain or snow, however, can't get inside through the top layer.
Find bike clothing in our online shop
We have plenty of cycling outfits to choose from on Bike Mailorder. If you're not quite sure what size or fit is best for you, you can order here with no risk. You have the right to return all orders within 100 days and returns are free of charge within Germany. Take a look at our offers and discover our bike clothing for all bike disciplines! To help you find your favourite clothing brands quickly and easily, we have many Brand Stores for you, where you can find bike clothing from five-ten, iXS, Fox or Platzangst. There are also tried-and-tested outdoor outfitters like Vaude or Oneal. Whether you want to ride downhill, set new speed records on the gravel or your bike-tekking path leads through a low-pressure area - we'll pull you in!