Advertisement

Sign up for our newsletter

Advertisement

Indoor cycling kit: What to wear on the turbo

Get dressed up for staying in with our selection of the best jerseys and bibshorts for cycling indoors

Whether by choice or circumstance, indoor cycling has experienced a huge boom. From spin classes to online platforms like Zwift, the past couple of years have seen many of us spending more time pedalling in one place. By consequence, then, this means new things to buy!

So while indoor cycling doesn’t really require more than a set of bib shorts to cushion your soft bits and a pair of cycling shoes to clip into the pedals, it's now possible to buy clothing and footwear designed never to be sullied by the splash of a puddle or brushed by the passing of a spring breeze.

Mild cynicism aside, indoor cycling is invariably a sweaty affair, so having a separate set of lightweight kit will help you stay more comfortable. And while your regular summer kit will transfer indoors with little issue, there's no reason not to treat yourself to something more specific.

Some of it will even work outdoors too...

Indoor cycling clothing: what to wear on the turbo

Castelli

Castelli Insider Jersey

Billed as one of the lightest jerseys Castelli has ever made, the Insider top uses incredibly light 3D mesh fabric to allow for maximum airflow. Certainly, it's see-through enough you'd have to be quite brave to wear it outdoors.

Cut with a low collar and high front, there's as little of it as possible, with the racy trim of the jersey being suited to aggressive training rather than upright gym-style spinning.

At the same time, its skin-tight shape and typically tight Castelli sizing mean this is probably best suited to slimmer users. With two easily accessible rear pockets, these have also been adapted specifically for use indoors.

Marketed as equally usable outdoors, it'll serve in the hottest conditions, assuming you're not too bashful about revealing what's underneath.

Castelli Insider Bib Short

This is Castelli's road-going knowhow transferred to the indoor arena. With a range of established fabrics and pads, the Italian brand has picked the lightest and most airy bits and assembled them into the Insider bib short.

Going in a different direction from the other brands shown here, Castelli reckons an indoor-specific bib short actually wants a lighter pad. To this end, the Insider short borrows the brand's well-known Kiss Air2 pad which is fairly thin in the interests of breathability.

For the fabric, Castelli employs its Inferno summer-weight material, while raw cuts to the cuffs aim to ease any restriction, a feature expanded upon by the soft Doppio waistband.

With no real reason not to wear them outside too, you even get a pro pocket for stashing your race radio – or more likely a phone for accessing your playlist. 

Le Col

Le Col × Wahoo Indoor Training Jersey

Employing a race-style cut, this smart-looking mesh-like jersey aims for maximum breathability. For situations where it's necessary, like going to the gym, it'll also prevent upper body nakedness.

Just masking enough for the unselfconscious to also wear outdoors in hot weather, it even has four separate rear pockets, three of normal size, plus a more secure stash space.

With a low collar, flat raw-edged sleeves and full zip, it's designed for temperatures between 20 to 40 degrees, either indoors or out. However, it'll require washing at a cooler 30°C, which might require you to turn down your machine a notch if it's to go in with your regular load.

  • Buy the men's or women's Le Col × Wahoo Indoor Training Jersey from Le Col (£70)

Le Col x Wahoo Indoor Training Bib Shorts

Made in conjunction with turbo trainer brand Wahoo, Le Col's indoor cycling kit is both lovely looking and has been designed from the ground up for indoor use.

Key to this is being as breezy as possible. From fast-wicking straps to laser cut incisions down its somewhat revealing side panels, it aims to be as barely-there as possible.

Nicking features from Le Col’s WorldTour-tested lightweight Summer Pro Bib Shorts, the adapted Dolomiti Pro Gel chamois features increased padding to compensate for the lack of movement found when riding indoors. Preventing the saddle causing undue pressure on soft parts, thankfully it’s matched by more opaque fabric across the front and back.

Properly premium in price, it's up to you if you want to spend so much on something that might not ever see the sun. Also, having to wash at 30°C is a bit of a drag for something that'll get very sweaty and require regular laundering. 

  • Buy the men's or women's Le Col x Wahoo Indoor Training Bib Shorts from Le Col (£150)

Madison 

Madison Turbo Jersey

Available in loud or muted colourways, this mesh-type jersey does a good job of endearing itself to the indoor cyclist. For one it's low in overall weight and doesn't cost too much.

Taking its indoor billing seriously, it does away with any pockets, potentially resulting in a marginally less sweaty back. With very little in the way of cuffs or collar, these areas too should be nicely unrestricted.

Yet perhaps even smarter than either of these features is the fact you can chuck it in a 60°C wash. Good news for anyone used to dealing with rank gym kit, the garment itself is infused with an anti-bacterial coating that should stop anything nasty breeding in the first place.

With a full-length zip, you'll also still able to do your best Iban Mayo impression while climbing Alpe du Zwift.

Madison Turbo Bib Shorts

Using a lightweight fabric coupled to a thicker-than-average chamois, these indoor-specific shorts aim to provide comfort and heat management. Using soft upper straps and cut slightly lower on the front, there's little to be of irritation when riding in a static position.

Composed of fabric treated to be anti-bacterial, this should help them stay fresh for longer, while unusually, they can be thrown in a comparatively warm 60°C wash.

With standard leg grippers, despite being quite slight, they could probably be pushed into service outdoors on hot days too.

Dhb

Dhb Aeron Turbo Shorts

These shorts are designed specifically for those intense turbo sessions, mixing lightweight breathable side and rear panels with a silicone gripper to keep them in place.

They also have an Elastic Interface NICE HD Super Air pad chamois which Dhb says has been tested by riders of all levels, and redeveloped specifically for indoor sessions.

The pad's upper fabric is said to have natural antistatic and bacteriostatic properties that make them quick drying and eco-friendly.

• Buy the men's Dhb Aeron Turbo shorts from Wiggle (£60)
• Buy the women's Dhb Aeron Turbo shorts from Wiggle (£60)

Assos

Assos labelled its Superléger collection 'the lightest and most breathable' it has ever created.

Not only did they include bib shorts and a jersey, but they went the extra mile and threw a pair of socks and a sweat blocker in there too.

Assos Superléger Short Sleeve Cycling Base Layer

Their short sleeve base layer is designed for both wearing on its own while indoors and as a layer for outdoor training.

Two types of open mesh allow for airflow and moisture management. The Circular Seamless tubular knit technology aims to provide a second-skin fit, but set-in sleeves are said to allow for optimal level movement.

  • Buy the Assos Superléger Short Sleeve Cycling Base Layer from Wiggle (£75)

Assos EQUIPE RSR Cycling Bib Shorts Superléger S9

A-Lock Engineering technology, compressive OSSIDIA warp-knit, ErgoBox construction. As one of the more pricier pairs of bib shorts, the Superléger bib shorts entail components that sound as if they belong in a Marvel film.

But Assos have adapted their previous RS and RSR Bib Shorts S9 fabrics, providing extra layers of ventilation and shedding weight. Assos' EQUIPE RSR Cycling Bib Shorts Superléger S9 comes in at just 120 grams claimed.

  • Buy the Assos EQUIPE RSR Cycling Bib Shorts Superléger S9 from Wiggle (£220)

Assos RS Superléger Cycling Socks

Who doesn't love a pair of socks? Especially the lightest ones in the Assos line dubbed the colour 'Holy White.'

Suitable for both outdoor and indoor riding, the 15 grams socks are made with InfraRed yarns that contain a high percentage of elastomer for compressive support, as well as being blended with Lycra for support.

Assos Assosoires RS Superléger Sweat Blockers

To be worn around the forearms, Assos' Sweat Blockers absorb and dissipate sweat so you can avoid perspiring onto your hands mid-session. No-one wants that, after all.

These are specifically designed to be worn indoors to help you maintain good grip on your bars, although Assos allows for the possibility that fashion forward types will don them outdoors. One size fits all, apparently.

Rapha

A staple brand of the fashion-conscious roadie, Rapha is another one to launch a dedicated indoor training collection, one comprising sleeveless training T-shirts, Core cargo shorts and a sweat cap.

Indoor Training T-Shirt

With no sleeves, Rapha's lightweight T-shirt uses a knit construction designed to help sweat evaporate rapidly.

The stretchy side panels mean it should fit tighter than your regular t-shirts but looser than a base layer, to balance between airflow and sweat absorption.

• Buy the men's Rapha Indoor Training T-Shirt from Rapha (£35)
• Buy the women's Rapha Indoor Training T-Shirt from Rapha (£35)

Core Cargo Shorts

Rapha notes that having no bib straps means no sweaty fabric next to your skin, and these shorts' two mesh pockets allow for all you need on your efforts – so you can wear whatever you please on your top half.

Just don't forget your orange and your knife, objects universally recognised as indoor training essentials.

Indoor Training Cap

The lightweight spacer mesh on the indoor Training Cap absorbs moisture and dissipates heat away from the head while you're on the turbo.

The caps's bound seams mean it should hold its shape too, so you can wear it with Maximum Luft™ if you're so moved. 

Alternative solutions 

Traditionally, older kit would get relegated to use on the turbo. Hunting down the most lurid of the previous season's pro-kit at knockdown prices is another popular choice.

Liner shorts or those without bib straps are also cheaper and therefore a hit with some riders.

  • Buy the Rapha Women's Pro Team Mesh Base Layer from Rapha (£50)

Equally, while it might soak up some sweat, it's worth noting that you don’t actually need to wear a top while cycling indoors.

Of course, you might live in a flatshare and have housemates that don't want to see you semi-naked and heaving. A sad waste of your twenties perhaps, but just about understandable.

Either way, we reckon the ideal jersey for indoor cycling is breathable, can be easily washed, and doesn't cost too much. Or, more likely, is actually just a lightweight base layer...

Washing and care

Given how sweaty indoor cycling kit gets, plus the frequent recommendation to wash at low temperature, we're not fans of letting ours linger.

However, instead of bashing the planet by sticking on a hardly occupied machine wash, a good alternative is to employ the old cycle tourist's trick of washing your kit in the shower with you immediately after your session.

Hang it up somewhere warm and you'll be good to go again the next day.