We like to think of ourselves as pretty style-conscious cyclists here at Cycling Weekly. Of course, we're not infallibile, but are still well placed to offer advice on the kit choices that should be avoided at all costs.

1. White shorts

FDJ-BigMat chase, Criterium du Dauphine 2012, stage three

Let’s hope it doesn’t rain

Let’s start with the cardinal sin of cycling kit: white shorts. Although no one seems to have told the designers of FDJ’s team kit, there is simply no excuse for white shorts. Yes they might be a little cooler in hot weather, or could look better with your white jersey, but the fundamental problem is that white lycra is see-though.

>>> Buyer’s guide to cycling shorts

Get caught in wet weather on the club run and your mates will be given a close-up view of your derriere, and you’ll be swiftly dispatched to the back of the group where you will at least serve a purpose by forcing drivers to give you a wide berth.

Put simply black shorts are the ideal option – and used to be the only option allowed in races, with riders being fined for wearing Castelli’s green ones in the 1981 Giro. Add a splash of colour to match jersey or club kit as required.

2. Let’s talk about socks

Scotland shoes and socks, Commonwealth Games 2014, day one

In dangerous territory

Nothing divides cyclists quite like the controversial issue of sock length. In this stylish cyclist’s opinion, high 12cm cuffs are the ideal option, although shorter options can be acceptable if you happen to be a diminutive Colombian climber who eats cols for breakfast.

The main thing to avoid in the ankle area is trainer socks, i.e socks with a cuff that sits below the ankle. You are not a female tennis player, nor are you a triathlete (unless actually competing in a triathlon), so ditch the short socks and get the pro look with a glistening pair of long, white socks.

But wait! Where are you going? Not that long! Don’t go as far as knee high compression socks please. Again, you’re not a triathlete, and although there may be some performance benefits, it’s a scientific fact that they look awful.

3. Compression clothing

Compression socks - tech intro-1

Not a good look

Putting aside the question of whether compression clothing actually works or not (and the jury is still very much out on the matter), one thing I hope we can all agree upon is the fact that compression clothing looks pretty ridiculous.

Unless your a 12-year-old girl, there’s no excuse to be wearing knee high socks, especially in search of gains that might be as much psychological and physiological. And after all, if you’ve been training hard enough, shouldn’t you be taking every opportunity to show off your tanned, bulging calves?

4. Pro Kit

10-blenheim-palace-sportive-123

A former GB cyclist? We sure don’t recognise him

In the past, the wearing of pro team kit would have been roundly condemned in the Cycling Weekly office, but with so many riders now showing their support for their favourite team in this way, it would seem harsh to be completely dismissive.

>>> Seven essentials you need to take on every ride

However, if you must wear pro kit, stick to a single team. Don’t go combining your Team Sky jersey with your Astana shorts and Cannondale-Garmin socks – not only will the colours not match but you might find your mates trying to disassociate themselves from you as you stand in line at the cafe stop.

On the subject of kit combinations, if you’re going to wear a single piece of team kit make it the jersey. Pro shorts won’t look pro with a plain jersey.

5. Leaders’ jerseys

Vincenzo Nibali celebrates during the final stage of the 2014 Tour de France

He’s earned it, you haven’t (Photo: Watson)

One area where we’re not going to cave in to popular opinion is with leaders’ jerseys. While the wearing of pro kit can be interpreted as a show of support for your favourite team, buying a leaders’ jersey, be it yellow, green, polka dot, or white, cannot be justified.

>>> Buyer’s guide to summer cycling jerseys

These are jerseys which have to be earned through years of training, sacrifice and suffering all leading up to heroic exploits on the roads of France, Italy, or Spain that will have your mother weeping with joy in front of the TV. Does your mum ring you up to congratulate you every time you spend 30 quid at Wiggle? I hope not.

6. Sleeveless jerseys

Mario Cipollini and Serafin Martinez

Winning 12 Tour stages, 42 Giro stages, and one World Championship buys you exemption from this rule

Tan lines might not look good on the beach, but nice clean lines around your biceps will be enough to unnerve your rivals before you even turn a pedal in anger. With this in mind sleeveless jerseys should be avoided, as should the rolling up of short sleeves to rid oneself of tan lines.

>>> The six sexiest bikes of 2015 so far

The other reason for this is that, let’s face it, cyclists are generally a weedy bunch, so frankly you’re not going to be showing off by wearing a sleeveless jersey, and will only encourage snide comments when you get stuck at the traffic lights outside the local gym.

7. Clip-On Aerobars

Richie Porte on his way to victory on Col d'Eze. Photo: Graham Watson

An example of acceptable use of clip-on aerobars (Photo: Watson)

Moving on to criticising your bike rather than you, aerobars and road cycling are best kept apart. Triathletes may think it acceptable to use aerobars while riding in the middle of a group, but then triathletes also have a notorious reputation for bad bike handling.

Turn up to a club run with aero bars and expect to be given a very wide berth as you sit in the middle of the group unable to reach the brakes and react to changes in pace.

The only acceptable situation in which aerobars should be attached to a road bike is when being used in a time trial. Ideally an uphill one. And ideally up the Col d’Eze.

8. Aero helmets

miguel indurain

Big Mig on his way to Olympic gold: an acceptable deployment of an aero helmet (Photo: Watson)

If you’re racing then, OK, wear an aero helmet. But if you’re not, and are just out for a cruise around the lanes with your mates, why bother? Putting aside the fact that aero helmets don’t offer the same ventilation as standard helmets, aero lids generally look pretty silly, and your use of one (especially when combined with other aero kit) gives you no excuse for not tidying up all the sign sprints.

9. Leg warmers without arm warmers

Best to get the leg warmers on before starting out Geraint

You’re doing it right, Geraint

Contrary to what you might first think, this is a piece of practical advice rather than fashion advice. Unless you’re doing something seriously wrong, your legs are going to be working much hard than your arms when cycling, therefore generating more heat.

This means that while your arms are doing little more than getting cold from the wind, your legs are spinning around and getting hot, meaning that there’s no situation where you would need more protection on your arms than on your legs.

10. Reflectors

Reflector

Just because your bike comes with them, doesn’t mean you have to keep them (Photo: Neal Fowler, Flickr)

Just because a bike is sold with something, it doesn’t mean you have to keep it. For example, even if you drop seven grand on the latest Cervélo or Merida, the law dictates that it must be sold with a bell, which might be practical, but certainly isn’t aero.

>>> Eight reasons why we started cycling, and why we should never forget them

The most common faux-pas here is leaving the reflectors on your wheels. They may offer a modicum of extra visibility for vehicles emerging from side roads, but if it’s after dark you should be using lights, and if a driver can’t see you during the day then reflectors won’t help much anyway.

We don’t think British Cycling is investigating the aero benefits of wheel reflectors, so if their only effect is to make your bike look cheap they must to be ditched ASAP.

11. High-vis clothing

high viz

Not a good look…

If you’re wearing hi-vis clothing to help keep you safe when riding in the dark, then fair enough, but surely there’s no excuse for wearing it in daylight hours, especially when some studies suggest the the safety benefits may not be as clear cut as you might think.

The worst thing is that is that fluoro colours are now being increasingly seen in performance cycling kit, which really isn’t a good look even when combined with tanned skin and bulging muscle.

  • Dubya

    Drop the hi-viz?! I cycle on country lanes on my cummute. In twilight hi viz is the only thing that gets noticed, not Rapha.

  • CyberTonTo72

    UK base mag telling cyclists to ditch wheel reflectors…. highway code

    Rule 59 (highway code not ‘the rules’)

    Clothing. You should wear

    a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened

    appropriate clothes for cycling. Avoid clothes which may get tangled in the chain, or in a wheel or may obscure your lights

    light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in daylight and poor light

    reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) in the dark.

  • A mí no me pagan por opinar

    But some people did. They said that outfit looked like as they were naked…

  • A mí no me pagan por opinar

    Liking your comment just because your Wilber.

  • Cameron

    They forgot the BIGGEST cycling faux pas ever. WHITE SHORTS! Not only are they dirt magnets, but they turn translucent with sweat, and transparent if it rains. I did a charity century a few years ago where I was behind someone with white shorts and a very hairy rear end. I NEVER had so much motivation to ramp up to race speed in my life!

  • Been There

    Completely inexcusable for CW to dump on hi-viz. What if one more youngster goes out wearing black because of CW… and doesn’t come home? Post ought to be pulled.

  • Dan Vogel

    Agree with all your comments on pro kits
    with one exception. The current crop of 2014-2015 Giro de Italia jerseys by Santini are very stylish. This includes the white, red, and pink versions. They all look great with black bibs. Throw in some matching red color accents with gloves socks or glasses 🙂

  • Fang Qi

    What your guys in Cycling Weekly said here may apply to most cyclists in Europe. However, to those in Asia often confronted by rainy days and messy traffic, and those who have to commute in early morning/dark, as well as those who participate in 24HR nonstop endurance challenge, those unprofessional looking gadgets appear to be essential though, such as the caps and the reflectors, etc. The idea to look good on the bike is important, and so is the idea of safe ride. After all, we’ve gotta stay on the bike/road before we look good on the bike.

  • David Farmer

    Shallow. Exercise your neurotic, over-compesating, self esteem issues with the other solipsistic losers at the disco of the moment. The bike is for riding. It’s not a girly man fetro sexual fashion show. It is about riding, period. Ffs. The only kit consideration that matters is if it serves your ride. Not your ego. Everything about this piece is pathetic.

  • Ron

    Totally agree!

  • Ron

    Hi-vis are important when you’re riding at night like many of us have to do because we have day jobs. Drivers need to see you – sometimes looking a little geeky is worth your life.

  • Johnny_Alpha

    I haven’t read so much drivel in ages. Can’t we just enjoy cycling without joining a cult or having a pissing contest? I don’t care if you don’t like my socks, jersey (t-shirt actually) or my spoke reflectors. I ride a bicycle on the road, not my ego on a catwalk.

  • Brendan Power

    As a cyclist who drives a car I find it incredible that you should recommend dropping hi-viz clothing. Let’s hope you misguided vanity doesn’t result in a fatality.

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    It’s hard to fight off the women and ride the bike safely.

  • Anon Ymous

    I see no problem here.

  • Anon Ymous

    A kilt would surely air the netters better?

  • Anon Ymous

    Its a bit of fun. At the same time we’re laughing at the DO NOTS, we’re also all laughing at ourselves. The naive will learn, like we all did.

  • Anon Ymous

    Still the guy in the sleeveless jersey.

  • Storris

    “The eight worst cycling kit style faux pas”

    Sounds slightly more ridiculous as an idea for an article now doesn’t it?

    Real kit blunders:
    Nappy rash from damp shorts.
    Turning up to a race realising you’ve left your pedals on your training bike.
    etc…

  • John D.

    This IS meant to be comedy….right?

  • Velvet Donkey

    It’s just pish journalism, really – yet another lazy list to fill space, all it lacks is a headline that says ‘Number 6 will make your jaw drop!’. The sad thing is, it’s now permanently part of a cycle mag advice thread and might be taken seriously by some naive readers. For shame, CW, for shame. You should aim to be better than this.

  • Velvet Donkey

    How about “No-one with a hipster beard should be allowed on a bike”? Except I suspect the author already has one. I bet he also only frequents bike shops that double up as coffee shops.

  • Jon

    I think it’s more about SEO & banner ad revenue than journalism with these filler articles (notice the way paragraphs are interspersed with cross links), and writing about stuff they know people are going to disagree about results in more responses here. This improves the search rank and generates more clickthroughs on the banner ads, so even by criticising the article you’re giving them an incentive to write more along the same lines.

  • Locrian Gray

    As do I.

  • Vespertine

    What is with this watered down version of “The Rules” CW? This is not your style nor is it your original thought? Worrying journalism.

  • Julian Gee

    That doesn’t make it right though Nick. One has a certainly sympathy for fashion victims .

  • Nicholas Vicari

    He’s got a point

  • Nick Howarth

    Looks like nobody in this picture agrees with you

  • Nick Howarth

    Who is the critical twit who wrote this article. People can wear whatever they like. You are not that important that they need your approval. Destructive piece of writing.

  • SER

    Well said!

  • Richard Hudson

    Yet more retarded snobbery that keeps ordinary people from riding. What other people wear or ride is totally up to them. Shame on you for promoting bike snobbery.

  • J.r. Bomber

    RUBBISH! Entirely too many fashionistas in cycling. I also disagree about High Vis. High-vis is a good idea from the optimist and pessimist/realist points of view. Optimistically speaking, your neon yellow jersey/jacket will be visible to the motorist long before they get to you and they can slow and or adjust. Pessimistically speaking, should something happen and you have demonstrated your intent to be seen and the driver’s standard excuse of “I didn’t see him” is even less valid than usual. The police are more likely to site the bad driver if it is obvious the cyclist can be well seen. I log about 4000 miles on the bike and about 12000 miles behind the wheel every year. I’ve observed the difference in seeing cyclists in high-vis from ¾ mile away and also observed bicyclists in black or muted clothing that you don’t spot until much closer. High-Vis works on two fronts. I’d rather look like a rolling traffic cone than an
    advertisement for some bike gear company that you pay through the
    nose for the privilege. Sponsored riders wearing the stuff…I get that.

  • Bob

    cycling fashion faux-pa’s – who would ever have thought it possible?

  • Ed

    Team jerseys are perfectly fine just NO World/National Champion Stripes….unless you are the World/National champion

  • K Corder

    Almost all the riders I saw today (Costa Blanca North) were wearing bright colours and looked extremely stylish,dark colours are just boring.

  • Julian Gee

    What about the current fad for black team kit? In this Eamonn Deane picture taken at an event in Dorset, 5 riders are all wearing very similar, predominantly black kit. There used to be a rule that registered kit had to be distinctive to help the judges. Shows a lack of imagination if nothing else.

  • Dan TD5

    Not sure if getting rid of the high viz is the right message from cycling weekly

    Or reflectors I dumped them on my road bike but

    They have a place on a winter or commuter hack

  • Morten Neve

    Henry, how insecure are you? If you spend less time worrying about what you’re wearing you might get some enjoyment out of your riding. And if your mates won’t get a coffee with you because of the kit you’re wearing they are not your mates.

  • Ben Crossley

    I hold HC records from a few events close to where I live, I took them 10 years ago and received a KOM jersey as first prize, they still stand does that entitle me to continue to wear my polka-dot jersey? too right it does I worked hard for them and suffered in the process!! I also wear a white Legalize My Cannondale kit, which I bought for the controversial Six13, and ankle length socks!! does it really matter what you wear so long as you feel comfortable and at ease on your bike

  • Roger

    The one who talks to imaginary rivals and calls them names on the internet?

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    I have a pair of white shorts for exceptionally hot days, when they do make a difference. Unfortunately, up here in Scotland they sometimes wait three or four years for an outing.

  • RH

    I agree. It’s sad. Of all the riders I have known who rode internationally as amateurs or professionally, not one would have been interested in silly rules like these. They all looked good on the bike, but that was because they were fit, knew how to ride, and had equipment and clothes (sometimes pretty clapped out) that fit them and were appropriate for conditions.

  • blemcooper

    You also said “even yellow in general is questionable”.

  • Tony Camilli

    One caveat to team kit – If the kit prominently features a bike manufacturer (e.g. BMC), you need to be riding that brand.

  • James

    It’s a good thing I don’t ride to impress others I ride for me. I’ll wear what I want to wear and not judge others. I will agree on the white shorts, no one wants to see anything I got to show.

  • Adam Edwards

    Makes me cringe reading articles such as this, so pretentious. it’s much more satisfying turning up like a scruff and dropping everyone who goes for the ‘pro’ look.

  • Sorry, but you’ve almost endorsed the PKW?!?!

  • lee

    I said tdf yellow jersey

  • blemcooper

    Plain yellow is fine for a jersey as long as it’s not covered in sponsor logos.

    Otherwise, are the style police going to ban red jerseys too since that’s the Vuelta’s leader jersey color? Sounds like a conspiracy to further entrench the senselessness (except maybe during snowy winter rides) of black cycling jerseys and jackets to the benefit of certain vested interests :-/.

  • Bob Loblaw

    The worst is sleeveless jerseys with arm-warmers. “My arms are cold, but my shoulders are hot-hot-hot!”

  • Tim Newland

    Not entirely convinced about the ditching of fluo. It may not look cool, but Highways and the Emergency Services et al prove that it is of use. I’d rather be uncool than squashed!

  • lee

    On another level: i wear a yellow helmet to be noticed..

  • lee

    NEVER EVER !!!!!!!!!! – shall you wear the (hallowed) TDF yellow jersey…even yellow in general is questionable…!

  • FT Davidsson

    ankle socks FTW

  • Katie S

    I’m sure the suggestion that only cyclists who happen to work as lollipop ladies should wear hi-vis is largely tongue-in-cheek, but I’m disturbed that CW is really saying ditch the fluoro.

    Whilst it’s not terribly useful in daylight, as in the accompanying photo, I shudder at the idea of cyclists not wearing bright colours at night (as a non-motorist, even – I’ve had my fair share of near-misses, suddenly finding myself on the tail of a rider with no/poor lights and wearing all black).

    (I too feel a pang of disappointment covering my favourite jerseys with a yellow jacket on cold/wet winter nights – but with all the reflectivity worn off my inherited Foska bones jacket, and a bank balance that can’t justify £110 for a new one, I’m left with no choice. It bothers me that others would simply not wear fluoro at all for fear of looking uncool!)

  • blemcooper

    “fluoro look was a misguided excursion” – was?

    Tinkoff is still hi-viz, Lampre has a much reduced presence but still has good patches of hot pink among WorldTeams. Among ProConti, Bardiani and CCC are flying the electric green and traffic cone orange flags.

  • Dirk

    you missed the ‘dork disc’.

  • “Unless you’re cycling to your job as a lollipop lady then it’s time to ditch the hi-vis” made me chuckle!

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    If you’ve arms like Cippo’s you’re going to want to show them off.