Here's all you need to know about winter cycling jackets to keep you out on your bike this winter
Long-sleeved jersey’s are designed to cater for the shoulder seasons between summer and deep winter: offering protection from the chill of autumn without causing you to overheat on milder days.
Often ‘thermal’ and made from a Roubaix-style soft, fleece-backed fabric, long-sleeved jerseys may come with a reinforced windstopper front, with a more breathable fabric at the back to allow for heat dissipation.
Waterproofing is rare – this is something you’d usually find in a much more winter-ready jacket. In an autumn weight winter jersey, you may find pockets lined with a waterproof fabric, and these will often be deeper – designed for stowing packable waterproofs and gilets.
There are often reflective details since low-light riding is more likely as we head into autumn.
We’ve tested five men’s and five women’s autumn weight long sleeved jerseys. If you’re looking for a more heavy weight deep winter option, read on further down the page – or see our waterproof jackets page for advice on staying dry.
Best women’s long-sleeved jerseys for autumn
With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.
Rapha Brevet women’s long-sleeved jersey £140: BEST ON TEST
Rapha’s Brevet-long sleeved jersey, developed with the Paris-Brest-Paris randonnée in mind, is designed to offer the technical fabric a rider needs for a very serious outing – but without the restrictive ‘pro fit’ that no one wants for hours on end. The Sportwool fabric is made up of a merino/polyester mix – the former of which is known for its warmth, breathability and a lack of whiffiness.
Wearing the jersey at around 10°C, initially it felt a tad too warm – but once the wind was rushing past me and the fabric could get to work it breathed well.
Only when we stopped were we reminded of the then much appreciated radiator-like features. There’s two reflective chest straps, as well as more than the average number of pockets – three standard at the rear, plus one zipped, and one mesh lined ‘gilet’ zip pocket.
The extra compartments are ideal for long winter rides when you just need to carry more. The Brevet jersey’s styling is incredibly relaxed – we tested a small but an extra-small would suit our size 8-10 tester, likely still with room to spare. There’s two drawstring pull chords at the sides which can size it down – but it will always have a classily relaxed fit.
Proviz Sportive long-sleeved jersey £44.99
Proviz is most well known for its metallic silver jackets which pick riders out like beacons on the road but the Sportive jersey represents somewhat of a departure with a significantly less standout aesthetic. There’s still a yellow stripe on each arm, plus reflective logos in nods to visibility.
The fabric is warm and wicks well but won’t be suitable long past autumn unless paired with further layers. Also the ‘soft-touch polyester mesh’ which is UPF 40+, isn’t actually the softest – it feels a bit scratchy and the comparatively low RRP feels justified.
There’s elasticated grippers at the hem, and at the sleeves – the latter being quite tight at the wrists, which keeps the breeze out but feels a little restrictive.
The fit is relaxed, which can be welcome in the off-season months, but is not the most flattering. If you’re in need of a basic extra layer to keep the wind off without collecting sweat, it will absolutely do the job. However, there are brands able to offer a softer fabric mix and greater fit for not an awful lot more money.
Castelli Nel Mezzo RoS long-sleeved jersey £170
Castelli does winter wear well – and its new women’s Nelmezzo is no exception. This jersey is much closer to a ‘winter jacket’ than the others on test here, you could wear it well into winter.
From the ‘Rain-or-Shine’ (ROS) collection, it’s designed to excel in cool and dry conditions as well as light rain. The fabric is a tight weave Nano Flex Xtra Dry, with quick drying and fleece like polyester on the inner and nylon on the outside. It keeps a fair amount of water out and straddles the jersey/jacket divide, sitting closer the latter yet without feeling restrictive.
Castelli states a temperature rating of 12˚-20˚C – but that’s an Italian range. This jersey doesn’t sit equal to the others in this test: UK riders won’t want to wear anything this heavy until winter is here.
The fit is spot on, form fitting without being restrictive. Sizing isn’t particularly ‘Italian’ and a small was perfect for our size 8-10 tester. There’s three rear pockets, plus a zipped side pocket. This isn’t a cheap jersey, but its versatility means that it should wear well from late October to the dawn of spring, and from experience if washed and looked after should last several seasons.
Kalf Club Thermal long-sleeved jersey £75 (now £52.49) BEST VALUE
Italian thermal Roubiax fabric is the base material for this reasonably priced jersey, which also comes in a men’s fit.
The relatively high Elastane content makes for a close fit and the upper back, front panels and backs of the arms feature a thicker, brushed material for additional warmth. Although this is a great idea, the extra layer sewn into the back/inside of the arm is not flat stitched and presents a very slight nuisance.
The fit is quite short – long enough that you’re never in danger of exposing flesh but it is nice to have a little extra length in winter sometimes.
Closure comes from a notably chunky full length zip, and there are three rear pockets plus one zipped valuables keeper. The Kalf is breathable enough to allow you to work hard, while feeling well cocooned and cosy.
The fabric is relatively light, so would need to be paired with a gilet beyond October. At £75, the Club Thermal jersey from Kalf carries a price tag that sits below the premium fit it offers. Jerseys that offer similar levels of warmth and breathability are available at a similar price tag, but the fabric used sets it ahead of most.
Altura Thermo Flock Womens long-sleeved jersey £54.99
Altura’s Thermo Flock jersey is constructed from a soft brushed thermal fabric with a fleece style inner which feels kind against the skin and provides a high degree of insulation.
The material breathes well, but it’s more suited to colder conditions than those you’d find in traditional September climates – this is one to save for the later months of the year.
The fit is fairly relaxed but flowed well against our tester’s form, offering a flattering but comfortable option and sizes are well spaced, denoted via the familiar UK system of 8, 10, 12 and so on.
There’s a traditional layout at the rear, with three pockets plus one zipped valuables compartment, and a dropped tail to keep the worst of the spray off. Two reflective stripes add to visibility, too.
The silicone gripper at the hem keeps the jersey in place, though it’s a fairly basic style – whilst wide bands at the wrists hold the sleeves down but add a nod to luxury.
At £54.99, this jersey represents good value for money – and the bold pattern will brighten up the black bibs of winter.
Best men’s long sleeve jerseys for autumn
Endura Pro SL long-sleeved jersey £84.99
Made from a lightweight knitted material, which adds enough warmth over a summer jersey to cope with cooler starts, this non-fleeced fabric can be worn up to the low 20s.
Without technical coatings there’s none of the boil in a bag feel that you can get if you’re overdressed. Fit is close, without being at all tight and there’s plenty of stretch in the fabric. In drizzly conditions, although the fabric gets a bit damp, it doesn’t wet out and doesn’t leave you feeling clammy either. It soon dries when the drizzle stops.
There’s a high collar to keep your neck warm too. The tail is slightly dropped to ensure that your back is always fully covered, and there are the usual three open pockets, plus a zipped valuables pocket.
The tops of the pockets are quite loose and we did suffer a bit of pocket sag. There was also some bouncing of the contents when climbing out of the saddle or riding over bumpy surfaces. We really liked the light blue colour; it’s bright enough to be seen without screaming hi viz. If you want something less colourful, there’s a black option too.
Santini Colle long-sleeved jersey £100
Although the Santini is only very lightly fleece backed and not windproof, it’s a more dense and wind resistant fabric than the knitted type. This makes it a tad warmer than many early autumn pieces.
Not being windproof, there’s adequate airflow to keep you from overheating in milder conditions. But add a suitable baselayer underneath and the Santini Colle will trap plenty of warmth.
Detailing includes a wide bottom hem with two silicone bands that keeps the jacket close. There are stretchy cuffs to keep out cold breezes and a high, stretchy collar. But there’s no backing layer behind the full front zip, so draughts can get in there.
In bright orange and red, the Colle provides plenty of visibility, augmented by the reflective strip across the top of the three open rear pockets. The pockets themselves are commodious enough to load up for longer rides, including a waterproof shell if it looks like rain – the Santini wets out quickly in the rain.
Fit is quite generous – but not prone to windflap – so you can get a thickish baselayer underneath, and with 13% Elastane, the Colle will stretch to accommodate extra layers.
Available to buy soon
Café du Cycliste Daphné long-sleeved jersey £155: BEST ON TEST
The Daphné is made of a really stretchy fabric, lightly fleeced inside. It doesn’t stop the air from passing through though, so you don’t get uncomfortable or damp, even in temperatures a bit above its target range.
The fit is excellent with its 20% Elastane content. There’s really no excess fabric, but the stretch means the Daphné should cope with a thicker baselayer when the weather does start to cool.
The close cuffs keep the arms in place well. There’s a very wide elastic waist gripper with silicone detailing. But with such a close fit, we did find the waistband could ride up a when riding out of the saddle.
There are three open rear pockets, equally close fitting, with a wide, reinforcing band of elastic across their tops inside the jersey to stop pocket sag. You get a pair of zipped pockets at either end too and there’s a small reflective dart in the middle rear.
The collar is quite low cut: you might need a neckwarmer for early starts later in the autumn. The Daphné is expensive but its comfort, style and superb cut might justify the expense.
Assos Mille GT long-sleeved jersey £120
With Assos’s Mille cut, unlike the traditional race cut, you get something more relaxed, a regular fit for regular cyclists.
The fit is good and thanks to the RX fabric the Assos Mille GT jersey feels comfortable against the skin. However, the fit isn’t perfect and we found that the Mille GT was tight across the front, resulting in a fold of fabric across the chest when in the riding position.
Elsewhere the fit was spot on: around the shoulders, waist and arms the Mille GT felt great.
In terms of style this jersey won’t be for everyone. We liked the pattern running down the insides of the arms but the block red colour revealed the details of the stomach underneath too readily. However, a black version is also available.
Technically the jersey works very, very well, excelling between 8-15°C and even up to 19°C. Breathability is helped by the full back coverage of the Type.157 Stripe Tex fabric that allows for heat expulsion. It is UPF35 protected too. £120 is very reasonable, especially as the quality is one of the best on the market.
Dhb Aeron Equinox long-sleeved jersey £75: BEST VALUE
The neatly named Equinox has a two-fabric build made of fast-wicking polyester while the internal is a light brushed fleece.
The main body is woven, which helps with breathability. It’s soft but not as thick as a full on-winter jersey, but on morning commutes at around 10°C we’ve paired it with just a mesh base layer and it has been very insulating, with wind-proofing too.
The sleeves are a touch thicker than the material used for the main body and have a fleecy lining that sits very comfortably against the skin. A high neck helps keep any draughts out and differentiates it from other autumn jerseys such as the Café du Cycliste with their low cut necklines.
The Equinox has three deep rear pockets although we’d like to see these shrunk a little bit as they sag when filled.
There’s also a storm flap behind the zip and an additional fourth zipped pocket for valuables. At £75, Equinox long sleeve jersey is typically good value for a very versatile and well performing piece of kit that we would wear beyond the autumnal months that it’s designed for.
Lusso Leggero long-sleeved jersey £59.99
The Leggero is a little thicker than its name might suggest, but not so thick that you can’t wear it on a slightly iffy-looking summer evening
It is made of a very stretchy, fleece-backed fabric called MT-1, which is very breathable and although not claiming to be windproof is actually pretty good at keeping air that’s on the chilly side at bay. It’s not at all water resistant, not does it claim to be.
The fit is great – nice and snug on the body with long sleeves that don’t ride up when you stretch over the bars thanks to wide, close-fitting cuffs. The collar is good and high with a chunky zip garage.
The rear has a silicon-dotted strip of elastic sewn in to keep it in place, and the three pockets are deep but are sited relatively high up the back so they don’t sag below the waistline.
There’s also a zipped valuables pocket and a reflective tag below the centre pocket. The Leggero’s cut and performance are excellent, especially for its low price. We just feel it could be a little subtler in its design: all three colour ways are on the lairy side, especially the lime and blue we tested.
The best jerseys and jackets for winter
Once we get into the colder months of November and December, through to February, you’ll likely need more warmth than the jerseys above are able to offer – with the exception of the Castelli Nel Mezzo which would be well suited to deep winter.
In this case, greater thermal protection will be a high order of the day. Some winter jackets come with inbuilt wind protection, and it’s a good idea to look for something with waterproofing – or at least resistance from the wet stuff.
The ‘all-rounder’: Castello Perfetto
The Castelli Perfetto which gained a high score of 9/10 in Cycling Weekly’s last test.
This garment is effectively the highly acclaimed Gabba reborn, offering warmth, breathability and protection from the rain – all in one package that fits closely and is flexible without rustling excess fabric.
The ‘very warm’: Assos iJ.Bonka.6 Cento jacket
At £330, it’s not cheap – but the Bonka is built to last, and we gave it a 10/10. We can expect an Assos item to last for years, it’s incredibly warm and breathable to boot and even comes with an integrated buff.
The women’s warmest: Castelli Alpha Ros Jacket
Most of those above are available in a women’s fit (and if they’re not, they should be) – but our female tester loved the Alpha Ros, giving it 9/10 for warmth, water resistance, windproofing and breathability. The only thing that let it down was a lack of visibility and a slightly undersized zip pocket.
This one should keep you warm and dry through the worst weather.
Soft and warm: Santini H-Way Windstopper jacket
Though the fabric is water resistant, the focus is less on rain protection and more on warmth with this soft-shell style jacket which offers a fleece-backed lining.
We praised it for its ‘industrial strength winter protection’ – so expect to stay comfortable as temperatures drop close to the minuses.
Keep checking back for more of our favourites as the season goes on…