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picture of red bike jerseyBike Jerseys – The Basics

Bike Jersey Vocabulary

  • Wicking – The word comes from the ability of a wick in an oil lamp to pick up oil and move it up to the flame. In cycling (and other sporting activity) it’s the ability of a fabric to move sweat away from your body to the outside of the garment and then to release it to the air as quickly as possible. An absorbent fabric, by itself, isn’t enough. You know those Bounty paper towel commercials? Well that ain’t what you want. A fabric that soaks up moisture but then retains it doesn’t really accomplish wicking.
  • Breathability – Ok, I hate the way that word sounds, but everyone uses it, so I have to as well. Breathable means (at least in the context of bicycle jerseys) that it allows air to pass easily through it. Obviously there are degrees of this. The ultimate in non-breathable fabric might be something like vinyl. Most of our fabrics tend toward the opposite end of the scale. ‘nuff said.
  • Full-length zipper – It’s a zipper that unzips the full length of the jersey. Boy, that’s a tough one to figure out.
  • Hidden or invisible zipper – A zipper placed in the garment in such a way that the fabric covers it when closed.  The only thing visible is a line where the zipper would be.
  • Rear pockets – Another self-explanatory feature. But the why, for those of you who don’t ride much, is because pockets on the back of your jersey are a life-saver for things like snacks, cell-phones, kleenex, maps, dog biscuits, etc.
  • Anatomical cut – A good bicycle jersey is cut in such a way that it fits right when you’re in your normal riding position. So for road riding the cut means the jersey fits right when your bent forward over the bars. Mountain bike jerseys typically can allow for a more upright position.

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