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Best summer cycling kits for warm weather riding

Cyclist magazine
4 Aug 2021

Here is a roundup of the best warm-weather cycling kits for you to ride in this summer

Ah, summer! Is there anything finer than a summer’s day in Great Britain? Probably, so let’s not go there, but those days when it’s shorts and jerseys alone are the ones we all hanker for.

These days, warm weather clothing comes with mesh fabrics, coatings to reflect UV rays and treatments that enhance the body’s ability to cool itself.

In fact, there are so many treatments available that it’s worth reading the label to learn more – some stop you from getting so hot in the sun, others help transfer sweat or otherwise make cooling more effective.

So why do you need all this technology? Simply put, the more comfortable you are, the sooner you’ll get to your destination or the harder you’ll be able to push yourself on those glorious summer days.

A good fit is key to comfort, so look for shorts and jerseys in cuts that suit your physique, and try several brands and sizes before buying.

Below is the Cyclist guide to the best summer kits on the market right now.

The best summer cycling kits for warm weather riding

Le Col Hors Categorie

While Le Col also has an out-and-out hot weather collection in the form of its Pro Air kit, the slightly heavier and less see-through Hors Categorie range is likely to be the best option for summer riding in the UK. That’s if you can deal with its somewhat altitudinal pricetag.

Made of luxurious medium thickness fabrics, the block colour men’s and women’s jerseys are good at keeping you cool but also better protected from any unexpected changes in weather. The sleeves are constructed from multiple panels that perfectly follow the shapes of your arms, while the overall cut is slightly more on the relaxed side of racy.

Matching top and bottom, the recently updated Hors Categorie II bibshorts are Le Col’s poshest option and clock in at a cool £180. With an endurance-focussed chamois, they’re also a little denser than some models, making them a great option for UK use.

Arriving without any logos or colour splashed on to them they're great looking in black, but perhaps even better in navy, which makes a nice extra option.

Shop Le Col Hors Categorie 

Rapha Flyweight

Long established as the most breezy of Rapha’s three-tier jersey hierarchy, the Flyweight is designed for the hottest, most humid conditions. Using a minimalist fabric, a low-cut collar allows for better airflow through the jersey while the use of fewer seems is said to improve sweat-wicking. Great for blazing days, they nevertheless leave less to the imagination than the brand’s heavier weight options.

Assuming you care about your top and bottom sharing matching branding, you’ll be free to choose from Rapha’s large range of shorts, with the lightweight and fast-wicking Pro Team bibs being a good option if you can stomach their price.

Alternatively, go full matchy-matchy with the Flyweight Shorts. These feature both a mesh upper and a slightly more relaxed fit for training or general riding. Using the same excellent chamois and treated with Coldblack technology to reduces the build-up of heat, they also come in a rather lurid green colour.

Shop Rapha Flyweight

Assos Mille GT C2

Swiss firm Assos’ Mille range isn’t quite as expensive as its famous Equipe RS line but benefits from much of the same tech and similarly excellent tailoring. Designed specifically for summer, it employs the brand’s exclusive bespoke fabrics along with an aerodynamic cut. Made to excel in the heat of summer, it focuses on providing quick-drying properties for the rider while also imparting UPF 50+ UV protection for the bits you haven’t slathered in sunscreen.

With mid-length laser edged sleeves and ramped pockets to stop your items bouncing out of the jersey, despite being described by Assos as a ‘classic cut’, the entire piece is extremely flush. Now available in three to black colour fade options, these latest versions look particularly nice.

Probably the most famous bib short maker globally, the Mille jersey pairs perfectly with Assos’ Mille GTS Bib Shorts. A step up from the firm’s most budget options, they include similar straps and plush double-layer insert to those found on the brand's much lusted-after GTO models. Very high-tech without being too obvious about it in their styling, both top and bottoms benefit from Assos’ ability to make riders both look and feel their best.

Shop Assos Mille GT C2

Isadore Climbers 

Created by former WorldTour racing twins Martin and Peter Velits, Isadore is a brand that builds its garments with the demands and expectations of professional cycling firmly in mind.

The ‘Climbers’ range has been designed for those hot, summer days where you find yourself constantly in the red. Coming in a huge range of both men’s and women’s designs, the jersey utilises a soft merino fabric blend that helps absorb sweat from your body, in turn regulating your body temperature, yet without retaining any odours.

As for the bibshorts, they’re constructed with ColdBlack UV sun treatment protector that helps to ward off sunburn and a high back strap that is not only there for comfort but also to keep the shorts held securely in place. Designed for temperatures between 24-32°C – that’s a couple of weeks a year in the UK or a whole summer season plus a chunk of the autumn should you relocate to southern Spain.

And with four colourways to pick from in the jersey too, it’s also a pretty stylish option.

Read our full review of both top and bibs here

Shop Isadore's Climbers range

Endura Pro SL

Proper ergonomics, bright colours and not too expensive. Endura’s longstanding Pro SL range of race-ready clothing has had a few recent tweaks, leaving it even better value. Key among these is the totally redesigned women’s bibshort.

Like the men’s short, this is available with a choice of three different width pads. Unlike the men’s, it’s been designed to fit women, with a lot of research going into making sure it provides the ideal support.

Matching your top and bottom half, both men’s and women’s Pro SL jerseys come in at under £80. Lightweight, well-cut and with all the features you’d expect of a performance jersey, plenty of other brands seem to think they’re worth half that price again.

Pleasingly free from obtrusive logos and now coming in bright shades of pumpkin and teal, we’d probably take one of these instead and save our money for ice lollies.

Part of a wide, race-orientated range, Pro SL items cover everything from high summer to the depths of winter. Meaning you can find matching items from gilets and waterproofs to socks and warmers, most share the same understated look and above-average performance.

Shop Endura Pro SL

Void Granite

Trend alert: coloured bibshorts. Everyone is doing them, from Rapha and Ashmei to Maap and La Passione. Along with black and navy, Void’s lightweight new Granite shorts also come in a more divisive khaki colour. We think it’s rather nice, although there are perhaps many thousands that won’t.

Anyway, whether you're fashion-forward or fashion-hesitant, Void’s range has plenty to interest the hot-weather cyclist.

Being firmly in the first camp, we’re also very keen on the brand’s Abstract print tops which Void describes fairly accurately as an ‘Arty Premium Jersey’. Using a 130gsm fabric, this promises to be quick-drying and breathable. Made from recycled materials, like the shorts, its cut is fairly racy.

Shop Void Cycling 

Castelli Free Aero 

A kit developed in collaboration with Team Ineos, the aim of the Castelli Free Aero bibshorts was to give the likes of Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas as much advantage as possible.

This has been done by developing an aerodynamically efficient fit on the leg of the shorts which is kept locked in place by large, vertical silicone grippers that contort with the movement of the leg. The straps have been re-engineered to sit flatter on the shoulder and there is also a pouch for a radio on the back, too – if that’s your thing.

As for the jersey, it’s a snug fit so consider sizing up. Once you’ve got that sussed, you’ll be rewarded with a breathable and comfortable jersey that also aids aerodynamic efficiency at speeds between 30 and 55kmh.

Shop the Castelli Free Aero range at Wiggle 

Hackney GT 

Inspired by London and custom produced in the UK, Hackney GT is a riotously colourful alternative to the average po-faced cycling brand. Run by cyclocross race promoter and DJ Russ Jones, the design of its jerseys nab their influences from everything from motocross to samba.

With tops retailing from £65 and matching shorts featuring Elastic Interface’s performance Space pad clocking in at £95, its wares won’t break the bank either.

Lightweight enough for summer, most of the brand’s jerseys nevertheless come with matching armwarmers because even August in the UK doesn’t necessarily always mean arms out.

Ditto the fourth waterproof pocket found on the back of this urban beach-inspired number. Fitted but not skin tight, it’s ideal for tooling around in, while its design guarantees a degree of sunshine even if the weather doesn’t play ball.

Shop Hackney GT

Albion

The biggest thing to shout about regarding Albion’s summer cycling kit is its fantastic bibshorts. Honestly, there are some of the best we have ever tested.

The chamois is soothingly comfortable without being obstructive, the compression fit legs help to keep you feeling fresh on longer days in the saddle and the straps are cut wider to prevent digging on the shoulders.

The jersey is good too, plenty light for those ultra-warm days, effective at wicking away sweat and with large pockets for your snacks. But, seriously, those bibshorts, damn near perfect.

And to round things off, Albion sells this as part of a bundle saving you a total of £20 when bought together.

Shop Albion

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