Best indoor cycling clothing to keep you going nowhere in comfort

There's no denying, no matter what your set up or session, indoor cycling leads to a lot of sweat, and the best indoor cycling clothing can help make the whole experience a lot more bearable.

There has been a huge increase in indoor cycling over the past 12 months. What was once a way of delivering specific training loads and only if it snows, has now become a staple way of life for many riders.

While indoor training apps for cycling has see a swift rise of provision by different brands, specific the best indoor cycling clothing has taken a little longer to follow.

Once you're all dressed up and wondering where to go, head over to our page on indoor training apps for cycling compared: which is best for you? It's dedicated to helping you find the best virtual reality rides out there.

There is still some debate as to the need for specific indoor kit, and some riders will be just fine sticking to their standard cyclewear. Others will find that getting hot, sweaty and sitting in a static position will lead to saddle sores, unexpected friction rubs, or generally over heating, all of which can be avoided with the best indoor cycling clothing.

As former British Cycling head of physiotherapy Phil Burt put it: “If you allow the area to get hot and wet and apply pressure, you’ve got a recipe for a certain type of saddle sore."

Therefore, the best indoor cycling clothing, specifically shorts will aim to wick sweat away, allow breathability and offer a pad suited to a static indoor position.

Indeed, when Cycling Weekly compared moisture retention of a pair of indoor specific dhb Aeron Turbo Women's shorts versus standard shorts, we found a 64 per cent reduction in weight increase via sweat absorption.

If your totally new to cycling at home, you might find our Beginner's guide to indoor cycling well worth a read. Alternatively you might be debating what thebest turbo trainers are, or check out our guide on the best exercise and best smart bikes for a more permanent home set up.

We've taken a look at some of the best indoor cycling clothing options available to help you navigate this growing market.

Based upon Burt's expert opinion, the best indoor cycling clothing options will aim to keep riders as dry as possible whilst offering a pad "that doesn’t bottom out completely when you’re loading it for a sustained amount of time."

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There are also the best indoor cycling clothing specific base layers and jerseys to match.

If you don't already have a super breathable base layer, some of the options listed could be an investment both for indoor and outdoor riding, with breathable fabrics limiting the well-documented effect of heat build up on performance and sweat-wicking properties preventing a 'cool down' temperature plummet.

The best indoor cycling clothing jerseys are a great option if you are exercising outside of your immediate four walls and don't want to scare family, housemates or neighbours with your flash dance apparel.

The best indoor cycling clothing - our pick

best Indoor cycling clothing: dhb Aeron Turbo shorts

dhb Aeron Turbo Shorts

Reasons to buy
+Quick dry fabric is effective+Comfortable chamois
Reasons to avoid
-Waist band is annoying

dhb's Aeron turbo shorts are available in a men's and women's fit. Designed to be work with a base layer, the brand has decided to go without bib straps. We found that the waist on the women's model slipped down, and we'd have preferred a bib version, but those used to waist shorts might be more comfortable with the simpler option.

The shorts feature a lightweight and quick-drying fabric, which we did find held on to less moisture when compared with standard shorts making these the best indoor cycle clothing for hot sweaty rides.

The chamois in the women's shorts is Cytech Elastic Interface's Paris HP Super Air pad whilst the men's uses an Elastic Interface NICE HD Super Air pad. Both are very high density, and created to offer extra breathability.

best Indoor cycling clothing: Le Col x Wahoo shorts

Le Col x Wahoo Indoor Training Bib Shorts

Reasons to buy
+Excellent pad+Fit+Heat management
Reasons to avoid

The indoor shorts from Le Col are an adapted version of the brand's summer bib shorts, with a lightweight fabric that features laser-cut perforations through the thighs, where heat builds up and is (ideally) released.

The bib strap is light and aims to wick away sweat, and there's increased padding at the front of the chamois. The logic behind this is that that riders indoors spend more time sitting in a static position on the nose of the saddle. So this is great indoor cycling clothing option for 'on the rivet' riders who keep their indoor sessions high intensity.

best Indoor cycling clothing: Le Col x Wahoo indoor training jersey

Le Col x Wahoo Indoor Training Jersey

Reasons to buy
+Dual function+Wicking
Reasons to avoid

On top, Le Col is offering both short-sleeved jerseys and sleeveless designs, made from a mesh fabric.

Both the long and short-sleeved options come with pockets, perfect indoor cycling clothing for anyone who might want to keep their phone or energy gel handy, allowing you to also wear this smart jersey in hot conditions outside. If you're keeping it indoors, though, we reckon the vest would be the best choice because it will also be the breeziest.

best Indoor cycling clothing: Madison Turbo shorts

(Image credit: Madison)

Madison Turbo shorts

Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

Madison was one of the first players on the indoor cycling clothing market. These shorts are still only available in a men's version, though. .

The shorts use an anti-bacterial polyester fabric all over, with open mesh straps at the upper. The pad in question has been designed specifically for this short, and comes pre-curved in the riding position to offer a better fit making these the best indoor cycling clothing for anyone who tends to wriggle around on their saddle.

Commenting on the design, apparel designer Rachel Preston said: “Indoor turbo sessions are usually short – 30 to 60minutes – but we did find that our riders would shuffle around a lot in their saddles. As a result, we selected a pad that offered fantastic moisture management, and offered really good elasticity to accommodate the continual position adjustments between different types of riding efforts during their workout session.”

best Indoor cycling clothing: Madison Turbo jersey

Madison Turbo jersey

At the top half, Madison has gone for a short-sleeved jersey as opposed to the mesh base layer seen elsewhere.

The jersey uses an open mesh fabric, though, and as well as having an anti-bacterial coating to prevent bacteria from multiplying, so the ideal indoor cycling clothing option for anyone who gets a good sweat on!

No rear pockets does mean that there isn't much scope for taking the jersey for a ride outside, but inside the lack of bulk and layer makes sense.

best Indoor cycling clothing: Castelli Insider shorts

Castelli Insider bib shorts

Castelli created its Insider shorts using the 80 per cent polyester material it calls Inferno, with lightweight Giro Air elastic at the cuffs.

Interestingly, it's opted for its KISS Air2 seat pad, a lighter construction and uses a lower density foam, based on the expectation that indoor rides will be shorter and therefore require less cushioning. This approach differs from other options on the market, but could be up your street if you prefer less chamois between you and the saddle, ideal indoor cycling clothing choice for short and sharp sessions.

Again, frustratingly this is a men's short and there isn't yet a version for women.

best indoor cycling clothing: Castelli Insider jersey

If you want to go matchy-matchy, there is a jersey to match the Castelli Insider bib shorts.

This is made from a 100 per cent polyester mesh, and weighs in at a claimed 88 grams.

With two rear pockets, the idea is that you could still wear it for outdoor rides in hot weather so highly recommended indoor cycling clothing for taking outside too.

Rapha Women's Core Cargo cycling shorts

Rapha Core Cargo Shorts

Reasons to buy
+Excellent chamois+Comfortable fit+Pockets could be useful in right scenario
Reasons to avoid
-Bib option would be nice

Rapha, like Pactimo below, have taken a different approach to its indoor turbo-specific range clothing range. There are some new specific pieces, but the brand has chosen to gather many of it's existing ranges and group them under the indoor banner.

Not that it's a bad thing as we felt the Rapha Cargo shorts offered an excellent pad and a comfortable fit. Our only criticism was no bib, but now arguably the waist shorts are now a more desirable feature for indoor riding.

Rapha Indoor Training T-Shirt

Rapha Indoor Training T-Shirt

The Rapha Indoor Training T-Shirts are indoor specific pieces of cycling apparel.

Available in both female and male fits, Rapha say that the lightweight and breathable sleeveless shirt has been cut for comfort on the turbo.

Both versions are made from 100 percent polyester, known for it's sweat wicking properties, high stretch side panel and armholes cut for on-bike position.

Cut shorter at the front to avoid bunching, and longer at the back to keep you covered, the Indoor Training T-Shirt is also looser fitting than a standard bike base layer, but tighter than a regular t-shirt, Rapha say it strikes the perfect balance between airflow and sweat absorption the perfect indoor cycling clothing if you don't want a tight fit.

best Indoor cycling clothing: Pactimo shorts liner

Pactimo Apex bib short liner

Like Rapha above, Pactimo has taken a different approach to indoor cycling clothing to most. Rather than construct a specific turbo short, it's repurposed the liner shorts typically used by mountain bikers underneath their baggies.

This makes a lot of sense – this kit is designed to offer padding without any excess material. The body fabric is a stretch mesh material, with Avertini Lycra in the centre panels to make sure the chamois stays put.

The approach does mean that the chamois isn't turbo specific but it is a Cytech model created to offer comfort up to four hours.

best Indoor cycling clothing: Specialized Ultralight Liner SWAT Short

Specialized Ultralight Liner SWAT short

If you want to ditch the bib straps and really feel the breeze, a pair of Specialized Ultralight Liner SWAT shorts might just be the ticket. They are made from what the brand calls VapoRize fabric, which is an open mesh, and they feature a 3D Chamois which is on the thinner side.

Be warned, these are VERY see-through. They are not specific indoor cycling clothing; they are designed to be worn underneath baggies – so best not to wander out to check the mail straight after your session, so probably the best indoor cycling clothing for wearing on your own! 

As this is a new fast moving range of cycling apparel, keep popping back to the page for updates on the best indoor cycling clothing.

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.

A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly. 

When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.

She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6. 

Height: 166cm

Weight: 56kg

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