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  • MTB specific tops vs just tops
  • jayx2a

    For past 2 years I have been riding in Adidas climacool polo shirts. Good fit, breathable and so far never snagged one.

    Plus I like to have tops with a slightly higher neck at the back.

    It’s time to get some more , so what am I missing with a MTB specific jersey? I know some have rear pockets but I don’t think they would be of much use as I have a hip pack – maybe for short loops but I have never found myself wishing I had a rear pocket.

    I was looking at the Endura Humvee ones in the sale but they don’t look like anything too special.

    I see a lot of riders fully branded up in my local loops but half the time it looks like a huge baggy jersey in the wrong size. Then again they probably look at me and think WTF is he wearing lol

    I wear MTB Shorts as I can see the clear benefits, but maybe having never worn MTB specific jerseys I don’t know what I’m missing!

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    I agree. My generic outdoor or running baselayers are better cut (HH, Montane, Berghaus), often better material (Patagonia an Montane) and less garish and in your face (All). They are usually far cheaper too.


    A complete mixture of cycling, running and climbing tops for me, tends to depend on what the weather is doing and what is or isn’t in the washing pile. I think I’ve one MTB jersey, a Fox branded shirt that’s about fifteen years old (at least).

    Premier Icon tomhoward

    In general, they tend to by cut slightly longer at the back, so as you lean forward onto the bars, your lower back stays covered.

    Other than that, very little difference technically.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    I ride MTB in wicking technical t-shirts. Mountain Warehouse ones are astonishingly good, and I’ve tried loads of top brands. In their recent sale I got one that is ridiculously thin and probably less than half the size and weight of a normal one when rolled up. It was easily the best thing I’ve ever worn in the recent hot weather. Highly recommended – and it only cost me £9.

    Most tech t-shirts are cut long – it’s certainly not hard to find one. Colombia, Mountain Warehouse, Rab etc are all plenty long enough. Even a running one from Sports Direct (forget what brand). The only issue with tech t-shirts is that they often come in muted natural colours which isn’t the best for visibility on roads. I often choose the Sports Direct one cos it’s bright blue – not offensively high-viz but still high visibility.

    I usually go to TK Maxx because I work near one. They’ve got a huge fitness section, especially in January. Loads of Adidas, New Balance etc… Plain t-shirts in subtle colours for £15 at the most.

    Mtb jerseys are largely gopping and 3 times the price.


    For XC I use Aldi / Lidl cycle tops that must be 10 years old now. still good. I have many cycle tops for wearing under armour. For going into town and duties I just wear normal sporty clothes ( usually t shirt jeans trainers )

    Premier Icon Akers

    I don’t think there is any real benefit over generic sports tops. The cheap tops I’ve bought in Sports Direct have been no worse the Endura or Royal Racing MTB tops I have.
    In summer, when there lots of bramble and gorse encroaching on the trails, I prefer them as I’m not bothered if a £5 top gets snagged.

    Premier Icon Painey

    You can’t go wrong with the Helly Hansen Lifa (stripey ) base layers. Not the cheapest but you can sometimes get them for £15 in a sale somewhere and they last forever. Good for any physical exercise really.

    I only ever buy tops from a cycling brand when in the sale otherwise it’s just overpriced.

    Premier Icon chakaping

    having never worn MTB specific jerseys I don’t know what I’m missing!

    Generally you’re missing being too sweaty because they’re not breathable or well vented enough, but the better ones (I have some great Dakine jerseys and some One Industries, Royal & Madison that are good) work really well and are cut so you don’t notice them.


    I used to just wear the same t-shirts for running/climbing etc but have started to prefer cycling specific ones since I have been experimenting with CX and trying to carry less kit. I now find the pockets and zip useful.

    Just bought a few of the Planet X ones, pretty damn good for £15. Quite bright as well which I thing is important in a top that will be used even occasionally on the road.


    Premier Icon DezB

    MY favourite are Salomon running tops. I wear them for MTB and commuting. Zipped front, some have teeny rear pockets (used for ipod) and they are extremely light and breathable. I only buy when on sale (last one was from Sportsdirect)

    Generally you’re missing being too sweaty because they’re not breathable or well vented enough
    Much too much generalisation there – so many different ones! I do have a long sleeve Race Face jersey that is that holey mesh stuff, so not sweaty at all. And a Sugoi top that is very light and breathable. Endura ones are usually a bit too warm for me, but I have had decent ones from them in the past.
    My son has Dakine and Ion MTB specific jerseys that are very nice fabric, soft breathable and good looking designs.


    I’d only use cycling ones as the cut is better when seated.


    I’ve bought a few cycling specific tops over the years but don’t think I’ve worn them in years (endura, mavic, TLD). Always default to favourite general outdoors wicking tops which tend to be nicer material, cut, style.

    Premier Icon chakaping

    Much too much generalisation there

    I dunno, I’ve found I need to buy carefully to get a top that’s cool enough for summer riding.

    Not saying non-cycling tops are necessarily better though, plenty of cheap polyester tat all over the place.

    Premier Icon ibnchris

    I jut wear ‘road’ tops as I rarely ride in a pack and like the back pockets…

    Premier Icon scotroutes

    Cut and pockets are often better on bike jerseys. For summer I like zips too and there are few non-bike options for decent length zips.

    Decathlon and Primark compression tops for normal riding, padded up uplift days I have a couple heavy POC dh tops, bit more protection, and less need for breathability.

    I got a couple of Dare 2 B tops from a Mountain Warehouse sale for £12 each.
    Spot on AFAIC.

    Premier Icon benp1

    I either ride in a base layer of a cycling jersey (roadie style)


    Fruit of the loom long sleeve t-shirt.

    3 for £12 I think I paid.

    They get dirty and sweaty, which is fine by me.

    I will pay good money for shorts, but not tops these days.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    there are few non-bike options for decent length zips.

    This I agree with. Back in the day there was a good choice. Not so much these days, due to fashion I think.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog

    I bought one of the Movelo Overland check long-sleeved riding jerseys when they were cheap at Wiggle. It’s stretchy technical fabric, but in shirt form. I really like it, wear it over a lightweight Movelo baselayer unless it’s very warm. Good on the mountain bike or the cross bike. Even has a couple of pockets low down at the sides.

    Oddly not looking like a hardcore mountain biker also seems to make walkers and other trail users friendlier. I wouldn’t spend £75 on one, but it was a fair bit less.

    Otherwise I mostly use outdoor tees and tops. The Rab merino / polyester blend ones are decent, or Arcteryx etc.

    In proper hot weather, the best thing I’ve found is Polartec Delta. I have a Macpac tee made from the stuff and it’s amazing, but not many brands use it. Salewa I think, not sure who else. Edit: Fox does mountain biking tees in the stuff according to Google – result 🙂

    Back Country Overland SS Shirt


    I bought a few under armour tops recently and they have been ideal. Sports direct always have a decent selection in store.

    Premier Icon rossburton

    I *love* my old Morvelo long sleeve MTB jersey from when they first introduced them. MTB-specific features include a nice low back, glasses wipe in the hem, and gripper bits on the shoulders to keep a bag where it’s put. Shame the new tops don’t have those features…

    It basically comes down to have a slightly longer back and maybe some pockets. The endura one I have also has a zip so you can take it off without taking your helmet off.

    To be honest, I usually ride in an Adidas running tshirt that’s slightly too big for me (to cover my lower back). It’s better in the warm and means I don’t need two different kinds of t shirts for biking and running/gym. Took me about 5 years to realise that biking tops are a bit pointless.

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