Are Cycling Jerseys Supposed to Be Tight? [Fit Guide for Jerseys]

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I remember getting my first cycling jersey and thinking that I could not believe that people wear this at this as the sport. As my closet has built out, I have found myself with different jersey’s that have different fits and for different weather. When I want to have more of a tighter feel, I will break out one of my racing jerseys. While when I want to have a feel that is more relaxed for a Saturday morning ride, I have a couple of loose fitting jerseys that I look to put on. All in all I have a small quiver of choices to choose from depending on how I feel and what I want out of the ride. When you get your first in the mail from a shop and put it on, you may wonder are cycling jerseys supposed to be tight? And if so, exactly how tight? 

In this post, I’ll give you a bit of my knowledge that I have on jerseys. I’ll discuss jersey fit, how it should feel, different terms that you’ll see at shops, and I’ll also give some suggestions of my favorite jerseys that I have in my closet right now. At the end of this post, you should be on equal footing with any in person shop keeper at a bike shop so you are able to make the most educated decision there, or if you make a decision to make a purchase online.

For reference, here are the cycling jerseys that are in my closet and detailed in this post:

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Are Cycling Jerseys Supposed to Be Tight?

In general, a bicycle jersey is going to be slightly tighter than your favorite t-shirt that you wear with your best fitting jeans. Although, it will be looser than your classic Under Armor Cold Gear. The purpose of the tightness is to resist the drag effect that you would get from wearing clothing that does not grip the skin as tight. And we do understand that if you would like to go faster, then increasing your aerodynamics is incredibly important.

In the world of cycling jerseys though, this still provides a very large range for fit. Here is a good question to ask your local shop-keeper or look at your online product description for. What type of fit is the jersey? The terms that you are looking for are one of two options:

  • Sport or Club Fit
  • Pro or Race Fit

Sport Fit & Club Fit

These fits are more casual. Along the spectrum of what tight means, this is closer to a tight t-shirt. There is still some fabric hanging off of you and you will feel the air going through the fabric. It is great for a Sunday morning ride, and you receive the same benefits of going downhill to reach top speed while not increasing the drag effect.

The main drawback of sport and club fit is that you simply can’t reach a top performance speed of a pro or race fit jersey. Air will get caught in the pockets of fabric around your jersey and that does create significant drag effect.

This is not a problem though, if you are not looking for a high performance ride or sprinting. These jerseys are perfectly suitable for any cyclist that wants to be comfortable while still experiencing the positives of being aerodynamic. The main goal of this fit is to be perfect for the all-around and beginner cyclist. There are some great examples of sport and club fit jerseys below.

Pro Fit & Race Fit

Pro Fit and Race Fit Jerseys are great when you have a brevet that you are looking forward to, a 10 mile 5% grade downhill that you are excited for, or want to make sure that you are getting every ounce of performance possible out of the stitching of your gear set-up. The Pro and race fit are similar to the fit of Under Armor Cold Gear. Yes, this cycling jersey is meant to be tight. The draft effect is minimized throughout the body, and therefore you can achieve top speeds when using your big gear. The fit should be tight but not so tight that it is restricting movements of your arms, and you should not feel any pinching anywhere in the legs or torso.

The one drawback of the pro and race fit is that you may not find it comfortable in comparison to the sport and club fit. It also takes an extra beat to take off. These are all questions of preference though because that is precisely the point that you choose to get the pro and race fit – to go fast and these fits are great. I personally have a handful of both fits and its nice to choose different colors for each ride.


Typically most Jerseys will be true to size. If you are shopping online, you should know two things. The first is that almost every single reputable dealer will give you a free return – no questions asked if you size incorrectly. They will also typically pay for shipping. So there is no fear with making a mistake with sizing. 

cycling jersey

When it comes to the sizing, you need to make sure that you look at their sizing chart and look at the scale that is provided to see how the fit typically fits on other people.

how to fit

Do These Cycling Jersey’s Stretch Out?

Cycling jersey’s just like a high quality shirt will stretch out a touch, but after the initial small amount of stretch, it will maintain its shape for the life of the jersey. As long as you get a high quality jersey and treat it well, it will last for years.

Should You Wear Anything Under Cycling Jersey?

There is no need to wear anything underneath your jersey. Whether you choose to or not is all preference. Typically I wear nothing underneath my jersey to make sure nothing chafes while cycling.

Best Cycling Jerseys

These are my favorites that I have in my closet right now. The main thing that I look for when I wear my jerseys are that their stitching stays in place well with all of the mileage that I put down, and also they remain as tight or loose as they were from the day that I bought them.

Top Overall Choice – Rapha Men’s Pro Team Jersey

Best Runner Up – Rapha Men’s Brevet Jersey

Cycling Jersey For Beginners – Castelli Cycling Jersey

Best For Spring and Summer Riding – Men’s Core Lightweight Jersey

Best for Cold Riding – Castelli Cycling Pro 3


Are cycling jerseys supposed to be tight? Yes, they are supposed to be tight. The fit should be somewhere in between a your favorite t-shirt but a bit tighter and looser than under armor cold gear. If you are any tighter or looser than that, you are outside of the spectrum of how a cycling jersey ought to fit. 

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