We love these 6 men’s mountain bike jerseys

A silver lining from the past year? We all ride bikes. Much. Shops in my hometown of Asheville, North Carolina are full. Families are taking over the roads on two wheels, and cyclists are wearing off their Strava segments. Personally, my backyard pump has never been in better shape. This is the summer to get out with your friends and ride dirt – you should have a shirt that can keep up. Whether you’re looking for a stylish top to wear around town or something chunky that can handle spills, I’ve tested something for every type of rider.

Fox Racing Defend Delta ($ 100)

(Photo: Courtesy Fox)

Suitable for: Driving downhill fast

Size range: S to XXL

Point your mountain bike downhill and gravity will eventually catch up with you. The Defend is designed to protect you from the inevitable falls by incorporating a layer of Cordura fabric in high impact zones on the sleeves for added durability. I expected that The downhill-specific jersey is thick and stiff, but surprisingly comfortable and airy thanks to Polartec’s Delta material, which is excellent at wicking away moisture and promoting airflow. And when you’re sending the real Gnar, the Defend is loose enough to wear elbow pads and a back guard underneath.

POC MTB Pure ($ 80)

poc-race-jersey_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy POC Sports)

Suitable for: hot days and crop protection

Size range: XS to XXL

I drive in the southern Appalachian Mountains, which are incredibly hot in July and August and are plagued by poison ivy, briar and nettles. Short sleeve shirts may be more comfortable in the heat, but I prefer long sleeves for the protection they offer against flora that can cause itchy rashes. The Pure is the lightest and airiest long sleeve jersey in my quiver. Thanks to tiny perforations in the polyester that promote airflow, sweat disappears immediately. There is also a zipped pocket on the back that is big enough for cards and a key. The Pure will be my favorite jersey for cross-country skiing this summer.

Troy Lee designs riot ($ 65)

troy-lee-designs-jersey_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy Troy Lee Designs)

Suitable for: drivers on a budget

Size range: S to XXL

Troy Lee Designs helped shape mountain bike style, and the popular ruckus has become an industry standard for cyclists who want to look their best while shredding without breaking the bank. The Motos-inspired design is loose enough to encourage airflow and hide the pads, while a mesh liner helps wick sweat away from the body. Two zip pockets on the back are big enough for your phone and snacks. I dig the three-quarter length sleeves and the silky texture of the shirt. The budget-friendly price and thoughtful design make this one of my favorites.

7Mesh Industries Desperado ($ 80)

7-mesh-henley-biking_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy 7Mesh)

Best for: Stink Control Simplicity

Size range: S to XXL

Not all jerseys have to be aggro. The Desperado looks like a simple henley that you would wear to the store, but it’s designed to tear apart. The super soft and odorless merino-polyester blend, the flat-lock seams and the back hem keep you covered and comfortable when you bend over the bars. It’s the type of shirt I forget while driving, which is why I keep reaching for it.

Kitsbow Essplanade ($ 155)

Kitsbow-Mountain-Biking-Shirt_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy Kitsbow)

Suitable for: versatility from bikes to bars

Size range: XS to XXL

There’s a fair bit of single trail in and around my hometown, so my crew and I often drink beer after the ride. Kitsbow’s clothing isn’t cheap, but the company makes some of the best trail-to-town gear out there. The polycotton Essplanade is the perfect example. It has Jersey details such as hidden ventilation openings in the shoulders for additional breathability, sun protection with sun protection factor 50 and a rear hidden pocket with zipper. The sleek style (dig for those snaps!) Makes them easy to wear to work or on a date. It’s a relatively thick shirt so I probably won’t reach for this one in August, but I will use it a lot on social rides. I’m also a sucker for a front breast pocket. There is also a long sleeve version.

Pearl Izumi Canyon ($ 100)

pearl-biking-jersey_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy Pearl Izumi)

Suitable for: Slim breathability

Size range: S to XXL

I’m not a big fan of roadie jerseys, but Pearl Izumi gives dirt lovers a slightly looser fit with the Canyon by wrapping the elastic around the waist so you don’t feel like you’re wearing superhero spandex. I like the trio of rear stash pockets that offer enough storage space for snacks or a light tool roll. I can even put a layer of wind in the middle pocket. There’s also a smaller zipped pocket for a key, which means you can probably leave your backpack at home on short trips. This is a great jersey to use when you are pedaling in hot climates. The Canyon is perforated and has larger holes on the back and under the arms for maximum breathability.

Main photo: Isaac Lane Koval / Cavan

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