Optimal bike clothing for men & women
Whether it’s for road cycling or for mountain biking: Find out what’s important when it comes to high-performance bike clothing for men and women!
Bike clothing for men and women: recommendations by SIMPLON
The weather, riding style and personal preferences all influence the choice of cycling outfit. But which type of clothing is best for women or men? We have done some research and are happy to share our best tips on the optimal choice of cycling gear for (e-)mountain biking and road cycling.
Sophia and Jörg – both members of our SIMPLON crew – also reveal which SIMPLON items they wear for biking and leisure.
What clothes should I wear for mountain biking?
Breathable and fast-drying textiles are key when mountain biking. They ensure that sweat is reliably wicked away from the body and that you don’t ride around completely soaked. Long or short is a matter of personal taste, both when it comes to the cycling jersey and the trousers.
Depending on the time of year and the temperature, we recommend layering your clothes. Special MTB gloves, hats, multifunctional scarves and balaclavas make your bike outfit suitable for winter.
1st layer of MTB clothing: shirt
Short- or long-sleeved shirt? That’s entirely a matter of preference. Many like to go for the short-sleeved option, as you will sweat on the way uphill anyway. On cooler days, we recommend wearing a long-sleeved shirt on top. If you get too warm or the weather gets better, you can simply take the long-sleeved shirt off.
Models with zips are popular as well. You can open the zipper during the climb and get a natural boost of freshness. Pockets are considered convenient add-ons.
Mountain bike trousers are available in short or long versions and with or without padding. The advantage of models without padding is that you can also wear them in everyday life. In spring and summer, riders usually opt for MTB shorts. And again, it’s pockets for smaller items that cleverly enhance these models. When trail biking in the woods, long MTB shorts protect you from hurting yourself on branches and protruding roots.
Have you found your favourite shorts and want to wear them in winter too? How about combining them with leg warmers? These handy accessories can simply be pulled up to the thighs and protect your legs from the cold. Elastic straps ensure a secure hold. The same principle applies to the arms, where arm warmers can be used.
2nd layer of MTB clothing: jackets
While less is more when going uphill, an additional layer of clothing is often needed when going downhill. Jackets protect you from the wind and from the body cooling down too much. Depending on the outside temperature, riders can choose between windbreakers and softshell jackets. They should be breathable, offer the best fit for maximum freedom of movement, and have a small pack size.
Vests are the option of choice for warmer days. Sleeveless tops allow for optimum ventilation. An extended back area, as found on SIMPLON models, provides optimal support and warmth even in a sporty riding position.
Hardshell jackets ensure additional protection on rainy days. They should definitely be in your backpack on multi-day MTB tours with strongly fluctuating weather conditions. For the legs, (hardshell) rain trousers are a great option as well.
MTB clothing in winter
If you also ride your mountain bike in winter, you can upgrade your layered look with warming accessories:
- MTB gloves: While gloves offer optimal grip, dampen vibrations and wick away sweat in all seasons, they also reliably keep your hands warm in winter.
- Beanies: To keep the cold away from your ears, you can wear a beanie or cap under your cycling helmet.
- Balaclavas: They provide optimal protection against the cold for sensitive parts of the face such as the nose and mouth, especially when cycling downhill.
- Multifunctional scarves: These all-rounders can be used either as a scarf or as a balaclava.
MTB shoes and socks
The right footwear is crucial for effective pedalling. MTB shoes are available for either clipless or platform pedals. Clipless shoes ensure a firm hold and thus optimise power transmission between the rider and bike. In platform shoes, the rider has sufficient space and flexibility, also due to the possibility to walk in these shoes.
To enjoy an optimal fit, finding the right size is crucial. Socks also make the shoes more comfortable to wear. Speaking of socks: Ankle-high socks can protect you from scratches and tick bites, especially when you are riding in forests and across meadows.
Jörg’s favourite MTB clothing
Anyone who has read our long-time colleague Jörg’s review of the Rapcon will know how passionate he is about biking. That’s why he also attaches particular importance to quality when it comes to his MTB clothing.
Jörg’s favourites from the SIMPLON range include:
- the breathable and fast-drying MTB Shirt in black
- the super stylish MTB Pant, which is also perfect for hiking and everyday use
- the cosy SIMPLON Hoodie with a slightly longer cut for more wearing comfort
An absolute must-have from Jörg’s point of view is the well-made and stylish Composing T-Shirt: "I wear it almost every day, and it still looks as good as it did new!"
What clothing should I wear for road cycling?
Equally advantageous for road cycling and mountain biking: layering your outfit! When it comes to road cycling clothes, weight also plays a crucial role, as every gram can be decisive in a race. A close-fitting cut is important for an aerodynamically optimal outfit.
Functional fabrics that are breathable and robust are a must for jerseys and shorts for road cycling.
1st layer of road cycling clothing: jerseys
Striking colours or a rather discreet design? When deciding on a road cycling jersey, that’s as much a matter of taste as the length. However, close-fitting, lightweight and breathable are features that all models should have. If it’s cooler or you get cold easily, you can also wear a singlet underneath as a base layer.
Road cycling shorts: (bib) shorts
A body-hugging design, flat seams, and elastic leg cuffs: That’s what high-quality road cycling shorts should look like. You can choose between models with a regular waistband and the popular bib shorts with comfortable straps. Convenient details such as pockets for small everyday items are nice to have as well.
How long your road cycling trousers should be is another decision to make when buying a new pair. In summer, of course, shorts are particularly popular. In winter, the long version protects the legs from the cold.
Tip: Like mountain bikers, road cyclists can opt for additional arm warmers or leg warmers.
2nd layer of road cycling clothing: jackets and vests
A tight-fitting shirt, body-hugging trousers … You get the idea! Of course, a form-fitting cut is also a must when it comes to your road cycling jacket or vest. The reason: Fabric flapping in the wind slows you down and should be avoided at all costs. Another important task of the second layer: to protect you from the weather.
Road cycling clothing in winter
The lower the temperatures, the more layers of clothing you need. Besides the outfit, the following accessories will help keep you warm:
- road cycling shoes with windproof overshoes
- multifunctional scarves that can be used as a balaclava or scarf
- beanies or caps to wear under your helmet
- breathable and windproof gloves that provide reliable protection from icy winds
Road cycling shoes and socks
Clipless shoes ensure optimum power transmission from your legs to the bike. At least when clipless pedals are combined with matching shoes. They can clearly be distinguished by their large cleats and stiff soles. Although it is relatively difficult to walk in clipless shoes, they’re usually the better choice in terms of power transmission.
The shape and wearing properties of road cycling shoes cannot really be changed to make them more comfortable. However, wearing suitable socks can make a big difference. Breathable materials ensure a pleasant shoe climate and keep your feet dry.
Our tip: When buying new socks, look for thin and seamless models! This prevents unnecessary friction, blisters and reduced power transmission.
Road cycling clothing à la Sophia
SIMPLON employee Sophia is a passionate road cyclist and knows how important suitable clothing is for top performances on a road bike. On the road, she prefers to wear the Race Women Jersey. Besides the design, she especially appreciates the convenient pocket on the back. There is room for both her smartphone and an energy bar. She combines it with the Classic Women Short.
When Sophia tackles the descent after a challenging climb, she always puts on the lightweight windbreaker. Thanks to its small pack size, this jacket can be quickly and easily stowed in her jersey or shorts. Also indispensable for Sophia: the casual Snap Back Cap, which she wears both to work and in her free time.
Sophia’s tip: As should be the case for road cycling gear, SIMPLON clothing is designed to be very close-fitting. For the Classic Women Short, Sophia thus recommends ordering one size up.
Cycling clothing for men and women in the SIMPLON shop
Are you in the process of buying an outfit for biking? Then head on over to our shop! That’s where you will find stylish clothes for road cycling, mountain biking and, of course, e-biking – all in excellent quality and with convenient details. From jerseys, shorts and softshell vests for men and women to a universal windbreaker and socks: The selection is huge. You can also get smart accessories like caps, beanies or our popular multifunctional scarf.