A high-quality cycling jacket is a must-have for people, who like to ride their bikes in all weather conditions. If you’re planning to buy one, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the best road cycling jackets and tips for what to look for before buying.
Cold weather cycling is generally safe and enjoyable, if you come well-prepared. And one of the most important pieces of equipment you need to keep you warm and dry is a jacket. A good all-weather cycling jacket should be made from breathable, water-resistant, and windproof fabric.
But just like any purchases, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the wealth of choices and confusing technical terminologies. To help you out, we’ve gathered nine of our favorite road bike jackets.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Cycling Jackets Review
- 1.1 Castelli Men’s Alpha ROS 2 Cycling Jacket
- 1.2 ARSUXEO Winter Warm UP Thermal Softshell Cycling Jacket Windproof Waterproof
- 1.3 Przewalski Cycling Jackets for Men
- 1.4 BALEAF Men’s Cycling Running Jacket Waterproof
- 1.5 Souke Sports Men’s Winter Cycling Jacket, Windproof Water Resistant Thermal Windbreaker
- 1.6 BALEAF Men’s Cycling Jacket Running Vest
- 1.7 Mens Long Hooded Safety Rain Jacket Waterproof Emergency Raincoat Poncho
- 1.8 ROCK BROS Winter Cycling Jacket for Men Thermal Fleece Windproof
- 1.9 Running Jacket for Men, Long Sleeve Shirt Hooded Track Top Reflective
- 2 How to Choose Good Cycling Jackets
Best Cycling Jackets Review
Castelli Men’s Alpha ROS 2 Cycling Jacket
The Castelli Men’s Alpha ROS 2 Cycling Jacket has the essential features of an all-weather biking jacket: good insulation, protection from the rain, good ventilation, and a soft and comfortable fit. And, it’s thin enough that you can use it as a mid-layer under a hardshell jacket or a puffy coat.
For superior wind protection, the Castelli Men’s Alpha ROS 2 uses the Gore-Tex Infinium™ Windstopper® 150 fabric. The waist has a raw edge with a silicone gripper and double-layer cuffs to provide additional protection against the cold wind and water.
The Alpha ROS 2 doesn’t provide 100 percent rain protection. But along with the Gore-Tex Infinium™ Windstopper® 150 and a waterproof seam taping (around the shoulders), it makes sure you stay dry during those long rides in the rain.
In addition, it features a double-layer construction for better ventilation and wind protection. If you’re looking for one of the best warm winter jackets on the market, this is a great option.
Another thing you’ll love about this jacket is its innovative cuffs that complement most gloves and are great at keeping the wind out. It also has roomy hip pockets and a zippered side pocket for storing your valuables.
- Guaranteed to keep you warm in freezing temperatures
- Fits perfectly (if you choose the correct size)
- Comes with elastic cuffs that prevent heat from escaping and keep the wind out
- Has spacious hip pockets and a side pocket with zipper for storing your valuables
- Fits smaller to size
- Not cheap (but quality is great)
ARSUXEO Winter Warm UP Thermal Softshell Cycling Jacket Windproof Waterproof
Is the Castelli Men’s Alpha ROS 2 Cycling Jacket beyond your budget? The ARSUXEO Winter Warm UP Thermal Softshell Cycling Jacket Windproof Waterproof is a cheaper alternative.
It’s the perfect jacket to wear while biking in cold weather—even in sub-zero temperatures—for hours. It’s made of fabric that has three layers that work together to keep you warm and dry.
- The outer layer serves as a barrier against the wind and rain.
- The middle layer allows proper air flow, including under the arms.
- The interior layer is lined with soft and warm fleece.
The ARSUXEO is made from a fabric that’s a combination of polyester (85 percent) and Spandex (15 percent). The result is a jacket that’s stretchable, resistant to abrasion and wrinkling, durable, lightweight, and quick to dry.
The high-cut collar and longer sleeves keep your neck and arms warm and protected from different weather elements. It has a rounded and a bit longer hem on the back—also called a drop-tail hem—to add a bit of style. The reflective logo and stripes make sure that you stay safe when riding in darkness.
The ARSUXEO is available in seven colors:
- Light blue
- Mi Gray
- Fits snugly, so it doesn’t “ride up” on you
- Keeps you warm in record-breaking low temperatures
- Good wind protection and breathable arm sleeves
- Spacious chest pocket with zipper
- Slightly tight around the waist
- Fits smaller to size
Przewalski Cycling Jackets for Men
Another mens winter cycling clothing that you can add to your to-consider list is the Przewalski Cycling Jackets for Men. The manufacturer suggests wearing it in weather temperatures ranging from 45ºF to 70ºF. But other cyclists claim that it kept them warm even in 20-degree weather, with only a shirt under it.
The Przewalski cycling jacket is warm and comfy, without being heavy and thick. It’s made from a lightweight and thin material that can keep winds at bay. The two-layer cuffs fit snugly around the wrist to provide extra wind protection.
Unlike the previous two cycling jackets (ARSUXEO and Catelli ROS 2), the Przewalski Cycling Jackets for Men isn’t fully waterproof. You can wear it for light rain. But for moderate to heavy rain, you’ll need to wear a professional raincoat over it.
It’s made up of 90 percent polyester, which is quick drying and resistant to premature wearing. To make it stretchy and fit your body shape well, Przewalski added 10 percent elastane (also known as Spandex).
It has three pockets (one zippered chest pocket and two back pockets) to keep your smartphone and other essentials. It also has two large pockets with zippers, so you can keep your hands warm whenever you need to.
Night cycling is an exciting experience, as long as you’re equipped with good lights and other safety gear. To help keep you visible at night, the Przewalski cycling jacket has a reflective logo and stripe at the back.
- Offers great wind and cold weather (20°F weather) protection
- Made of lightweight material
- Allows you to move freely, thanks to its stretchable fabric
- Has elastic cuffs that seal around your gloves
- Doesn’t breathe well (not suitable for hot-weather riding)
- Could have slightly longer sleeves
BALEAF Men’s Cycling Running Jacket Waterproof
If you’re looking for a packable cycling jacket, try the BALEAF Men’s Cycling Running Jacket Waterproof, which folds into its own back pocket for easy storage. It even has multiple pockets—six to be exact—to keep your small items secure and your hands warm.
The BALEAF is waterproof, but it’s only good for light to average rainfall. It’s one of those water proof winter jackets that you’ll probably wear as an outer garment when you plan to ride around the city or go for a weekend adventure in the mountains, where the weather is harsher.
Not everyone loves a hooded jacket. But if you do, it’s good to know that this cycling jacket is hooded to keep your head dry and warm all the time.
It’s 100-percent polyester, which can soak up large amounts of water and resist wind chill. The downside is it’s not as breathable as fleece jackets. To make up for it, it has a single vent in its center back to help release excess heat and sweat.
- Helps you weather the cold weather
- Has a lot of pockets
- Does a solid job of breaking the wind
- Made of good-quality materials
- Can’t loosen or tighten the elastic cuffs
- A zippered hood compartment in the collar would be a nice addition
Souke Sports Men’s Winter Cycling Jacket, Windproof Water Resistant Thermal Windbreaker
Coming from a brand with more than a decade of experience, the Souke Sports Men’s Winter Cycling Jacket is probably one of the best winter cycling clothes for the low price. The two-layered construction consists of a soft thermal fleece inner layer that keeps you warm even under freezing temperatures and a polyester outer layer for superior wind protection.
The material used for this jacket has a good balance between breathability and water resistance (suitable for light to average rain). On the chest area of the jacket, the breathable material keeps sweat away from your body and allows great air flow, without causing you to lose too much heat.
The Souke Sports Men’s Winter Cycling Jacket offers other good features that you would expect at this price range. The three back pockets and two side pockets provide plenty of storage for your small personal items. The elongated and long tail protects your back from dirt, mud, and other road debris. It also has flatlock seams that eliminate skin chafing and irritation.
- Keeps you warm the whole time you’re wearing it (as it should)
- Has a good number of pockets
- Seems well-made for the price
- Doesn’t make you feel too hot
- Sleeves might be too long and restrictive
- Can feel damp because sweat stays inside the jacket
BALEAF Men’s Cycling Jacket Running Vest
The BALEAF Men’s Cycling Jacket Running Vest offers a great solution to cyclists who can’t decide whether to get a vest or a full-sleeve jacket. The two-piece design features zip-off sleeves, so you can keep cycling fast, without overheating.
It’s compact and only weighs less than a pound, so you can easily carry it around or slip it into your cycling backpack. Similar to the BALEAF Men’s Cycling Running Jacket Waterproof, this thermal cycling vest can be folded into a smaller shape to be stored in the back pocket.
It has an impressive UPF50+ rating, which blocks over 98 percent of harmful ultraviolet radiation. So, for the affordable price, you’re getting unbeatable sun protection.
Of course, BALEAF took your safety into consideration. It’s available in fluorescent yellow, complete with reflective elements on the front and back, to make sure other people will notice you to avoid accidents.
- Breathable fabric that doesn’t let wind go through it
- Zippers and jacket material are of good quality
- Zippers glides smoothly
- Has spacious pockets with zippers
- Not resistant to water
- Not high-end zippers
Mens Long Hooded Safety Rain Jacket Waterproof Emergency Raincoat Poncho
With the Mens Long Hooded Safety Rain Jacket Waterproof Emergency Raincoat Poncho, you don’t have to worry about heavy downpours of rain or overnight cycling trips. The extra length doesn’t just cover more of your body, but it can also keep your bicycle’s saddle, handlebars, and even carrier dry.
The length of the sleeves is an important consideration when buying a rain poncho. The sleeves of the Mens Long Hooded Safety Rain Jacket Waterproof Emergency Raincoat Poncho have adjustable button cuffs and are long enough to protect your arms and wrists from the weather elements.
Convenience is another key benefit of this rain poncho. You can wear it over your cycling clothes, so you don’t need to waste your energy and time on changing into or out of anything. It’s also light and foldable, making it easy to carry around or store in tight-fitting spaces.
Let’s not forget about the pockets. This one has two side pockets, which offer enough room for your smart phone, keys, and other small personal belongings.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Can keep you dry even during heavy rain
- Doesn’t retain too much heat
- High-quality and long-lasting material
- Could’ve made the sleeves longer by around 2 to 3 inches
- Can be difficult to open because of the two-way zippers
ROCK BROS Winter Cycling Jacket for Men Thermal Fleece Windproof
Why trade style with functionality when you can have both? The ROCK BROS Winter Cycling Jacket for Men features an all-black, minimalist design that’s truly eye-catching. Not only that, the figure-flattering jacket accommodates a variety of body sizes.
This road bike winter clothing is made from fleece, which keeps you warm in cold weather (20°F to 50°F), while allowing a little wind to pass through it. It also incorporates multiple vents to further evaporate heat generated by your body.
You can wear this jacket in the rain. The material used for it has some water resistance. It also has an elasticized toggle drawstring hem to help keep you warm and protected from the rain and strong winds. However, it’s not a good option if you plan to wear it in the heavy rain for prolonged periods.
- Made of quality material (i.e. thick but not too heavy)
- Fleece-lined to keep you warm despite the wind and cold air
- A water-resistant, cool weather cycling gear
- Has thumb holes for keeping your hands warm
- Strange fitting (i.e. too wide shoulders, while the sleeves are the right size)
- Has issues with its zipper latch
Running Jacket for Men, Long Sleeve Shirt Hooded Track Top Reflective
This hooded jacket isn’t built for the extreme cold weather. But if you love doing outdoor sports (e.g., cycling and running) in warm to cool weather (80°F-90°F), this is for you.
This lightweight fleece jacket is largely made of moisture-wicking polyester and stretchable Spandex. It has a thermal lining, which keeps you comfortable and warm in all kinds of weather all the time.
One downside of this jacket is it only has two pockets. But they’re spacious, so you can use them to store many of your essential items or warm your hands.
Like most cycling jackets, it has safety reflective strips—beside the full zipper and on the back of the jacket.
- Absorbs sweat really well
- Made of lightweight material
- Good-fitting hood
- Washes well
- No metal ring, so the hoodie string comes out when washing the jacket
- Not a suitable jacket in weather below 50 degrees
How to Choose Good Cycling Jackets
The truth is there’s no single best biking jacket. If you mostly ride in mixed conditions, you’ll most likely need different types of jackets. But if your budget doesn’t allow you to buy more, it’s okay. This part of our guide will help you determine the right one for your unique needs.
Three of the most common types of jackets for cycling are fleece cycling jacket, soft shell cycling jacket, and hardshell cycling jacket. Let’s go through each one of them.
Cycling Fleece Jacket
If keeping warm is your top priority, a fleece jacket is for you. It’s not only warm, but it’s also really soft and light.
Unfortunately, it does little to keep wind and water out. And since it’s relatively thick, you need a pannier or any bag to store and transport it.
Softshell Cycling Jacket
A softshell jacket can keep you drier longer and prevent wind from reaching your body. It’s usually stretchy for full freedom of movement.
Although it can keep you warm (in less extreme weather conditions), a softshell still needs a little help to make sure you stay warm and dry. It can be worn as a midlayer when you’re layering for cycling in cold, snowy weather. And since it’s considered water-resistant, not waterproof, it’s not going to withstand heavy rains for prolonged periods.
Hardshell Cycling Jacket
Hardshell cycling jackets are best for extreme weather conditions. What’s great about them is they prevent water or the rain from seeping into the fabric, while allowing the water vapor produced by your sweat to escape. They also don’t let the wind through to keep you warm and comfortable.
However, unlike softshells, hardshells can be rigid and stiff. They also tend to trap body heat during rigorous activities (e.g., cycling, hiking, and running), which causes unpleasant smell and hypothermia (because of your sweat freezing).
Think about the kind of cycling you usually do. The fit or cut of a good jacket for cycling should reflect the ergonomics of your on-bike positioning and your riding style.
For instance, a cycling jacket for racing is going to be close-fitting to improve the aerodynamics. Thus, there’s a better chance of increasing your speed and enhancing your overall performance.
Meanwhile, jackets for mountain biking and commuting have more casual cuts. They’re usually slightly looser than road bike jerseys to allow you to breathe and move properly. But if they’re too loose, they could reduce your speed and increase the amount of energy you spend.
Most cycling jackets are made of a blend of natural and synthetic fabrics, including LYCRA®, nylon, and polyester. Here are the advantages of each fabric:
- LYCRA® – Aside from being stretchy, it also retains its original shape and size, fits the body better, doesn’t wrinkle, and allows freedom of movement.
- Nylon – Nylon jackets are great to wear on a rainy day because they’re resistant to penetration by water. When your body starts to sweat, it keeps it dry through its wicking action. Nylon is also light and breathable.
- Polyester – If you don’t want any moisture against your skin when riding in cold weather, look for this material. It dries quickly, resists wrinkling and shrinking, and has good flexibility.
Number and Size of Pockets
Choose a jacket with pockets that suit your needs. Most cycling jackets come with three to four pockets, or even six. They could be waterproof to protect your electronic devices, like a smartphone. Some jackets may also have hidden pockets to keep your valuables secure.
Pockets could serve a double purpose. Some jackets can be stuffed into a zippered pocket at the back, so it’s a lot easier to carry them around. Those that are used for mountain biking or recreation may also come with hand warmer pockets.
The best waterproof softshell jacket has a layer of membrane that’s sandwiched between two layers of fabric or placed inside a fabric. Because the pores of the membrane are too small, water can’t pass through it from the outside. It does this while allowing moisture or heat from the inside of the jacket to escape, so you don’t sweat a lot when riding.
Waterproof cycling jackets are usually rated for their ability to repel rain (or other liquids). If you usually ride your bike during a very light rain shower, look for a jacket with a 0 to 1,500-millimeter rating. If you expect to ride in moderate to heavy rain all the time, a jacket with a 5,000-millimeter to 10,000-millimeter rating is a better choice for you.
Breathable and Ventilation
It’s important to choose a cycling jacket that’s not only waterproof, but also highly breathable. If it doesn’t breathe, the trapped sweat and moisture can feel unpleasant. When cold winds brush your skin, sweat could quickly evaporate, making you feel cold.
Look for cycling jackets that are made from Gore-Tex Active and Hydroshell Air. Both have excellent breathability ratings, while maintaining a high level of waterproofness.
Remember: The more waterproof, the less breathable, and vice versa.
Other jackets, especially those that are made from less breathable materials, offer other features that allow you to adjust the ventilation on the fly. Most of them have vents at the back that are covered by a flap. Some have a full-front zipper, underarm zippered vents, or even mesh pockets to easily allow air in.
There’s nothing more unbearable than cycling while cold and wet, unless you find the best biking jacket with excellent waterproofing material and exceptional warmth. One of these thermal insulation materials is made by PrimaLoft®. Jackets insulated with PrimaLoft provide a good balance of warmth, breathability and water resistance.
Don’t let these technical terms confuse you. Just remember the first rule to staying warm when cold-weather cycling: layer your clothing. Make sure to wear a middle layer with heat-retention properties, an outer layer with windproofing, and an inner clothing with waterproof and moisture-resistant properties.
Windproof doesn’t mean the same thing as wind-resistant. A windproof material simply means it doesn’t let wind through, regardless of how hard it blows. A good example of this are softshell and fleece jackets that are made with Gore-Tex® Windstopper® technology.
On the other hand, a material is wind-resistant if it allows light to moderate-strong winds to pass through. So, it’s not totally impervious to wind.
A windstopper cycling jacket that has a 1 or 0 CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating will completely stop the wind in its tracks. Most softshells will have a 10 or 5 CFM rating, which means they’re wind-resistant. If you really don’t care about this feature, a 60 CFM fleece cycling jacket should be enough for your needs.
Zippers are important considerations because many manufacturers try to reduce their cost by using poor-quality zippers. And, they can be tough to replace since most manufacturers make them specifically for their cycling jackets.
Other things you need to scrutinize are the zipper garage and pull tab. A zipper garage saves your skin from chaffing or abrasion, while a pull tab makes it easier to open and close the zipper jacket.
The hood is a matter of personal preference. Some don’t like it, some do.
Others feel they could live without it because of different reasons. The concern of most cyclists is a hood could easily block their peripheral vision. That’s why it’s mostly found in commuter cycling jackets and mountain bike (MTB) jackets.
Still, a hooded bicycle jacket comes in handy, especially during an unexpected heavy rain. You could choose a jacket with a single-pull drawcord for the hood, so it fits snugly over your helmet, cycling cap, or head. You could also stow it away inside a hidden pocket when you’re not using it.
It’s possible to ride a bike without wearing any cycling-specific clothing, like cycling jackets, Lycra shorts, and tight-fit jerseys—that is, if the weather is fine and you’re only traveling short distances. But if you want to be comfortable when the weather turns nasty, you might consider at least wearing a good-quality cycling jacket.
Cycling jackets differ quite considerably in terms of their cuts, designs, materials, and other special features. So, while the nine best cycling jackets in this article are great, it’s still important to think hard about your budget and features that you’re not willing to compromise to avoid buying on impulse and overspending.