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Cycling Clothing – Why is it so Expensive?

Cycling Clothing – Why is it so Expensive?

Is this something that you have wondered about?  The fabric of the clothing is not anything special; only the design makes this type of clothing differ from other types of exercise clothing.  If that is the case, what makes cycling clothing cost more?

Why is Cycling Clothing so Expensive?

Yes, other sports clothing might be cheaper, but consider this:

Cycling Clothing

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  • How many people run, do aerobics or some other type of exercise vs. the amount of people who bike?
  • Also, things like running shoes and sports bras are often worn by people who do no exercise at all.

This means that a lot more of these items are made when compared to clothing that people will only ever wear to cycle.  When you look at these things on a per item basis, it is much more cost effective to make a million pair of running shoes than it is to make only a thousand pairs of spandex shorts that are padded.  That being said, the styles and varieties of cycling clothing can be much more varied than you might imagine.

How to Choose Cycling Clothing

Yes, it is true that you can cycle in any clothing at all.  However, if you plan on being serious about cycling, you should invest in some good cycling clothing that will keep you dry and cool.  Here are some tips to choose the clothing that will be right for you.



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Look for a jersey that is cool and made from a material that will wick the moisture away from your skin. Shirts of this type are typically made from a polyester blend.  You can also look for lycra, which is a type of material that is form fitting.  This material is great for reducing wind resistance.  However, depending on your taste, it can be unstylish or even uncomfortable.  Shirts that are loose fitting can be good for people who aren’t looking for top speeds while cycling and who are looking for attire that is more comfortable and casual.

Don’t forget to take the other features of jersey into consideration too. Front zippers are great for letting in a bit of air when you get hot.  Venting is always a good thing.  Also, there are jerseys available that have back pockets for storing things like energy bars…and who couldn’t use a good energy bar while out on a long ride?  A jersey should also be cut longer in the back so that it won’t slip up when you are leaning forward on your bike.  It wouldn’t do to get a sunburn only on your lower back.

If you will be biking in the winter or in unpredictable weather, you might want to layer your clothes. The best protection when it comes to layering is to use a 3 tier system. 

  • The first layer should be your layer of moisture wicking attire.
  • The second should be a layer of insulating clothing.
  • And the third layer should be a combination of breathable yet waterproof clothing.  For each layer, look for clothing that is compactable and lightweight so that you can take it off with ease and toss it right into your bike pack.


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    On to the shorts. Lycra shorts are the ones that seem to be most popular with racers and cyclists who are looking for a way to cut down that wind resistance.  Shorts that are looser are great for those bikers who practice the sport more recreationally and are looking for something that is both casual and comfortable.  Just as with the jersey, shorts need to be able to wick moisture away from the skin so that you can stay cool and dry.

  • Many of the loose fitting cycle shorts include a padded insert made from chamois for this reason.  This padding also assists in taking some of the discomforts from the seat out of the equation.  For durability and comfort, look for shorts that have the pads laminated as opposed to being stitched.  The shorts themselves should be constructed from a material that is quick drying and lightweight.

Also, for women, they do make cycling skirts that can be found at certain athletic clothing stores.


Maintaining a grip on your handlebars for a long ride can be tough on your hands.  Gloves give you the protection that you need.  They are available in half finger, and full finger styles, and they are also available with varying levels of grip and padding.


road bike shoes

There isn’t a necessity for special biking shoes, but you at least need to have a decent pair of athletic shoes.  That being said, if you are using a clipless pedal system, then you will need clipless bike shoes.  If you do decide to get special biking shoes, you will find that they add a bit of support and stiffness, and this adds to both your comfort and performance.


You can’t leave out the socks. Your socks need to be akin to the rest of your cycling ensemble.  Cotton socks should be avoided as they can retain moisture and become heavy, damp, and cold.  Choose socks that are lightweight and made from a wicking material, such as merino wool or polyester.


  • If it is at all possible, try the clothing you are selecting on and get on a bike while wearing it. This will allow you to see if it remains comfortable while you are in a position to ride.  Also, don’t forget the all – important accessories such as sunglasses and a helmet.
  • Even if you are not looking for cycling specific clothing, try to avoid cotton clothing because of its poor qualities for outdoor sports.

What Cycling Clothing do I Need?

The main thing to remember here is to get clothing that is lightweight and made from good wicking materials.  Remember that cycling will make you hot and uncomfortable, so materials that will keep you dry and comfortable will be best.

You will need a pair of biking shorts along with a shirt or jersey.  Socks and shoes are also highly recommended.  You might even want to get a good pair of biking gloves if you want to make sure that your hands are protected.

Accessories are also important.  Think about things like a helmet and sunglasses for starters.  Some people also opt for things like elbow and knee pads if they have an accident.  Safety accessories are always a good idea.

Cycling Clothing Brands

Just as with everything else, there are loads of brands for cycling clothing.  Some of the best ones include:

  • Asics
  • Adidas
  • Club Ride Apparel
  • Pearl Izumi
  • Louis Garneau
  • 7mesh Industries
  • Yeti Cycles
  • Castelli
  • SUGOi
  • Mavic

Where to Buy Cheap Cycling Clothing ?

You can find cycling clothing in any sporting goods store worth their salt, but if you are looking for great price, you might want to try doing your shopping online.  Here is a look at 10 of the top online retailers for cycling clothing and a bit of what they have to offer.

This is a great site for anyone who is looking for anything related to cycling. They not only have cycling clothes for both men and women, they also have bikes, Garmin, tires, and other related gear.  When you order more than $50 you get free shipping and everything you order is returnable if you aren’t satisfied with it.

If you are looking for cycling clothes for any size: big & tall men and full-figured women included, this is the place for you. They even have cycling gear and clothing for children.  Their clothing is made using technology that is cutting edge and they can even make custom clothing and gear for you.

This particular retailer has brick and mortar stores as well as offering you the opportunity to shop online. Just like with the brick and mortar stores, they have special offers that run at various times.  Check to make sure whether the ones at the top of the page are good for online or in-store use though before shopping.  While you are there, you can shop for any cycling clothing you may need as well as shoes and even bikes and other biking gear.

If you are looking for innovations in cycling clothing, this is where to find it. From the latest in sun sleeves, cycling skorts and more, they have it all.  The thing is, this isn’t a store that specializes only in cycling clothing.  They offer clothing and gear for all sorts of sporting activities; including hiking and camping, climbing, paddling, running, snow sports, travel, yoga and more.  It is one of your all in one sport clothing stores.

This is also a great place for low-cost cycling clothing. They have a deal of the day plus other great specials running at various times.  They also offer novelty cycling clothing such as mystery men’s cycling jerseys and American flag cycling socks.  On top of the specials and deals, they also offer free shipping on orders over $50.  The clothing they sell comes in sizes from XS to XXXL for both men and women.

Yes, Amazon even sells cycling clothing. From Santic cycling shorts to Boodun gloves and everything in between, they have it all…and this includes cycling clothing for children too.  Also, if you have Amazon Prime, shipping is always free.


Surely you are familiar with eBay. Well, they have cycling clothing along with everything else imaginable.  The cool thing about eBay is that you can find individual stores on that site that have some great stuff at fantastic prices.  Just search for cycling clothes and refine it to the “Buy It Now” option and you will instantly have access to all kinds of great cycling clothing options…without the hassle of having to go through an auction for them.

If you are in the market for cycling clothing specifically for girls or women, this is the place to shop. From top notch cycling shoes to the jerseys and shorts you expect to see, they have everything you need to outfit a female for cycling.

Rapha logo

For the serious biker, there is Rapha. They have everything that anyone could ever dream of needing when it comes to clothing for cycling.  If your order is more than $75, they offer free shipping.  They also offer returns and exchanges for 90 days.  The thing about Rapha is that they don’t just sell cycling clothes.  They also have a cycling team that goes and cycles all over the place.  What this means for you is that the clothing items they sell have been tested by them and they know that they are great options.

From complete bikes to bike parts, anti – pollution masks and arm warmers to cycle caps, gilets and gloves, to footwear and more, Chain Reaction Cycles is the go-to place for all of your cycling needs. They have sales all year long and they always have a clearance section where you can find some amazing deals.  They don’t charge for sales tax and if your order comes to more than $99, shipping is free.

You can also go to any of your local sporting goods stores to check out their selection of cycling clothes.  If you do though, you will not have the same selection and might not get the deals that you can find online.

As you can see, when it comes to clothing for cycling, not only does it not need to be as expensive as you might think, there are also loads of places to get it as well as nearly unlimited options when it comes to styles and types.  The most important thing is to make sure that whatever you get is comfortable because if it is not, you will not want to wear it for very long at all.

About the Author Nick Soros

Hi, I'm Nick Soros. I have been an cycling enthusiast from 2006. is my personal blog where I share my pedaling experience. No matter you are a new cyclist or skillful one, you would find useful topics in my site. Have a great cycling...