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Choosing your cycling clothing for spring rides can often be more art than science. If you ride early, you could be facing chilly temps, but as your ride progresses, things could heat up, or conditions could change for the worse. Versatility is key.
For our roundup below, our expert testers have chosen jerseys, bibs, outerwear, and accessories that will work in a variety of conditions ranging from chilly (but not sub-zero) to mild to warm—with a little bit of precipitation thrown in. While none of the gear below is intended for riding in flat-out winter conditions (check out this guide for our more hardcore winter cycling gear), when layered properly, you can tackle almost anything you’d find out on the roads—even as things change.
So read on for our top picks with the below seven-point rating system across a wide variety of price points.
Editor’s Note: While the gear below was loaned out by the brands represented, all choices were selected independently by the tester without any promotional consideration or brand input. Also, unlike other “best triathlon cycling shoes review” websites, our testers actually wear and try the gear ourselves—no glancing at spec sheets and rewording marketing terms! For more on how we review gear, click here.
2022 Spring Cycling Clothing – The Ratings, Explained
|Fit||Notes on Sizing|
|Overall Comfort||Scale from 1-5 on overall comfort—this can include construction and materials, but cycling pad is separate below.|
|Pad Thickness||Scale from 1-5 on pad thickness with 1 being minimal and 5 being very thick.|
|Moisture Control||Scale of 1-5, this is overall moisture control; 1 indicates that it gets soggy/wet and stays that way, 5 indicates excellent dissipation and evaporation.|
|Durability||Scale of 1-5 with 5 being the most durable, this rates how tough the materials appear and roughly how many seasons the clothing might last.|
|Saddle Relief||Scale of 1-5 that specifically looks at the construction of cycling shorts and whether they chafe and/or give a reasonable amount of cushion for the normal rider. 1 indicates poor relief/lots of chafing, 5 means excellent relief with absolutely no chafing.|
|Value||Scale of 1-5, this is not just the price itself from low to high, but how much bang you get for your buck.|
Castelli Men’s A Blocco Jersey
|Fit||A great blend of a performance fit along the shoulders and chest while maintaining a little bit more generous cut through the midsection.|
Basics: This is a great midweight jersey for “shoulder seasons” with features such as a high collar that keeps out the chill when the jersey is zipped up, while still being light enough to be used for all but the coldest of days.
What I Liked: The front panels of the jersey do an excellent job at cutting down the chill while ventilation panels along the entire length of the side help with thermoregulation. The seamless ends to the sleeves make this a very comfortable jersey and gives this otherwise “training” jersey a race jersey-like feel.
What I Didn’t Like: The droptail is unnecessary and detracts from the overall styling. Also, the reflective piping for safety is only a small stitching section along the bottom of the droptail only under the middle pocket.Section divider
Castelli Men’s Competizione Kit Bibshort
|Fit||A great fitting bib short that can be used for training or racing. It has a comfortable amount of compression, a mid-height front panel that strikes a balance between core support and ease for “nature breaks”. However, the legs are slightly on the shorter side which may affect your crisp tan lines.|
Basics: This is a great example of trickle-down technology from Castelli’s top-of-the-line bib shorts at a more approachable price point.
What I Liked: The chamois is excellent and leg grippers work well with a unique silicone dashed pattern that is comfortable without the typical band-type “squeeze” created with other leg grippers.
What I Didn’t Like: Many manufacturers are going to more comfortable bib straps that lack stitching and are wide for comfort and support. Castelli makes premium fabric-only bib straps for their Premio Black bib shorts and this small change would have made a significant improvement in overall comfort.Section divider
Velocio Women’s Luxe Bib Short
|Fit||Compressive and form-fitting—definitely designed to be snug and tight—so bear that in mind when looking at the (very helpful and thorough) sizing guide.|
Basics: A high-end, performance-oriented pair of bib shorts that are extremely comfortable and can be worn in the saddle for hours. Intelligently designed with the female rider in mind.
What I Liked: From the moment you pull these bib shorts from their packaging you know you’re dealing with a top-of-the-range product. These bibs look, feel, and are a superb choice for women looking to put in high mileage and wanting assurances on comfort and performance. The “FlyFree” functionality is particularly impressive, so that when nature calls you no longer need to battle to get out of your jersey to get your bibs off. As you bend down to pee you can simply pull the shorts down (as you would with a regular pair of shorts) and the elasticated straps stretch to allow this. This is a game changer for female riders!
What I Didn’t Like: The only initial hesitation is the price tag. At close to $300, these bibs are definitely an investment, but having now ridden many miles in them, I’d say they’re worth every cent. And if you’re a woman putting in three-plus hour rides, then in my opinion, these shorts are a no-brainer.Section divider
Velocio Women’s Signature Long Sleeve Jersey
|Fit||Tight and form-fitting with tapered sleeves and dropped waist. Stylish design, look, and feel—you’ll enjoy wearing this jersey.|
Basics: A thoughtfully-designed jersey that’s ideal for spring riding when you want options that are as variable as the weather.
What I Liked: This jersey ticks both boxes when it comes to form and function: It looks and feels great, while also offering a ton of premium features, such as the micro fleece-lined sleeve cuffs and collar and the tapered cuffs. Despite its lightweight feel, it does a great job of keeping you warm and snug in cold winds. It has a very soft-on-skin feel, and the stretchy fabric matches your every move. Three roomy pockets in the rear, as well as a water-resistant zippered pocket for valuables let you carry plenty of gear without hassle.
What I Didn’t Like: You’re not getting much change from $200 with this jersey, so the price tag is the first (and really only) fly in the ointment here. As with the Luxe Bibs, you are making an investment, but it’s one that should last you for many seasons.Section divider
Gore Ambient Vest
|Fit||Best described as a “roomy” form-fitting vest with a cycling-specific cut featuring a dropped tail and mesh insert in the back.|
Basics: A durable and reliable vest that’s lightweight and breathable—and easy to pack away in a rear jersey pocket when the temperature begins to rise.
What I Liked: It’s extremely lightweight and easy to carry when you’re not wearing it. There’s nothing more annoying than removing a vest that’s then bulky and cumbersome to carry, but Gore has done an excellent job of making this vest weatherproof yet athlete-friendly. I also liked the simple-yet-thoughtful features, such as the high-neck collar and rear mesh insert, making this a vest you’ll want with you on most springtime rides.
What I Didn’t Like: It’s certainly a little roomier than some form-fitting gear we’ve ridden in, so if you’re looking for a tight, snug fit then consider sizing down.Section divider
Bontrager Circuit Windshield Jacket
|Fit||A loose-fitting windbreaker, bordering on baggy, with a long tail and relatively short sleeve length. This would best fit a rider with a longer torso to limb length ratio.|
Basics: A lightweight windbreaker that packs into an included bag slightly smaller than a water bottle making this a convenient jacket to carry along for an “insurance policy” for rapidly changing weather.
What I Liked: It’s very lightweight and packs down easily and compact—a great jacket to keep in your jersey pocket and donned for chilly descents. It would also be a good windbreaker for jogging due to its lightweight construction that does a good job at drying quickly.
What I Didn’t Like: The ventilation slots are on the front of the shoulders creating a ballooning jacket that fills with air when riding. Not only does this create aerodynamic drag (which should not be a major issue during training), but creates noise and slapping as this is a baggy garment that also lacks any cinching drawstrings to snug it up. Additionally, the elastic wrist cuffs are underwhelming and allow the sleeves to slide up, reducing protection from the cold.Section divider
|Fit||This is a snug-fitting base layer due to its soft and stretchy fabric|
Basics: A very lightweight and form-fitting base layer designed for fall, spring, and summer.
What I Liked: Exceptionally comfortable fabric that wicks sweat away efficiently. Key features are a low neckline, sleeves that do not creep up, and a base layer that stays in place resulting in zero chafing.
What I Didn’t Like: A steep price tag for a base layer.Section divider
Specialized Therminal Engineered Arm Warmers
|Fit||Tight and snug, easy to pull on and take off, and they stay in position well throughout your ride.|
Basics: A durable set of arm warmers that help protect you from the wind and cooler temps, while staying perfectly in place as you ride. Lightweight and easy to fold up and stash away in a rear pocket if/when needed.
What I Liked: Although “engineered” arm warmers sound a little much, these are exactly that: They’re durable while being lightweight, and breathable while also offering a good amount of insulation and protection from the elements. They’re designed to align with your elbow joint, so once you’ve pulled them on and got them in place they really do stay there—and we loved that.
What I Didn’t Like: It’s actually hard to find a fault with these arm warmers; no negatives to report.Section divider
Specialized Knee Warmers
|Fit||As with the arm warmers, these are tight and compressive with grippers that keep them in place well.|
Basics: A springtime riding essential that offers easy warmth, durability, and comfort. These are a hassle-free addition to any ride and give peace of mind that you’ve got a little extra warmth if you need it. They’re easy to take on and off and tuck away.
What I Liked: These knee warmers keep all the promises they make to you: They’re breathable, warm, comfortable, durable, well-fitting—so there’s plenty to like here. The silicone grippers that sit around your thigh ensure these knee warmers stay exactly where you want them as you ride.
What I Didn’t Like: As with the arm warmers, it’s tough to find any negatives, although those who aren’t into compressive fitting gear might find them a fraction too tight.Section divider
C3 Gore Infinium Stretch Mid Gloves
|Fit||Slim and snug but comfortably so; consider sizing up if you prefer a little wiggle room.|
Basics: A windproof and water-resistant glove that is great on cooler spring days. The brushed interior has a very soft-on-skin, almost luxurious feel to it, and the fact the fingertips are optimized for use with touchscreen devices means you can keep your gloves on while using your phone, which is a good bonus feature.
What I Liked: These gloves are very warm and comfortable, in fact, you could use them on milder winter days and still feel protected against the elements. They stretch and move with your hands, offering great flexibility and tactility. They also feel super durable: These are gloves that’ll likely be in your riding wardrobe for some time.
What I Didn’t Like: If you have bigger hands (as I do!) then be sure to check the size guide carefully and, if in doubt, size up, as these are quite snug. They’re also on the pricier side for a pair of gloves, but they do feel like they’ll last a long time.