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.
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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
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Le Col Pro Aqua Zero women’s long sleeved jersey – £135
Le Col’s jersey is made from Aqua Zero fabric with hydrophobic coating for protection during wet conditions.
This thermal fleeced fabric offers a form-hugging fit and breathability without being restrictive. Although ideal for temperatures around 10°C, it can last you longer into the winter season with the addition of a base layer beneath.
However, we found the sleeves a bit short, requiring a glove with a long cuff if you want to avoid an exposed wrist.
The back pockets are deep, although quite slim: it would be difficult to fit all of your tools and nutrition in. The waterproof zipped pocket is useful for storing café stop cash rather than a phone.
With its smart black design, it is stylish in its simplicity. The reflective strip at the back brings welcome visibility. However, given the ubiquity of dark kit these days it would have been nice for a dash of colour to be included.
In summary, the Le Col does very well as a jersey for autumn and spring and will allow you to ride in harsher conditions without committing to full winter attire. For certain it’s good quality kit but you pay a premium for the Le Col name.
Gore C5 Thermo women’s long sleeved jersey – £99.99
Gore’s C5 Thermo jersey works very well in its intended conditions: dry, cool, and not too windy. Although if you were to wait for these three conditions to arise, you probably won’t get out in it much.
The construction of the jersey feels robust although the stitching, specifically around the elbow panels, is noticeably less stretchy than the fabrics it combines.
The fleece-lined fabric does trap in the warmth, although without a windproof outer, this is easily lost on windier days. A base layer or gilet would be sufficient to allay this concern and would enable this jersey to serve you well down to around 6°C. Giving a little bit of extra visibility, the bright colours included are aesthetically pleasing too.
The slightly more relaxed fit could be preferential for the ‘base miles’ period of the off-season. The arms and hem are satisfyingly long, although a silicone gripper around the hem is conspicuous by its absence. The collar is a little loose but at least leaves room for a buff.
Although this jersey will serve you well in its intended operating conditions, at £99 there are more versatile jerseys for the same price.
Giro Chrono women’s long sleeved jersey – £90 BEST ON TEST
Giro has chosen brushed-back high-loft Italian fabric.
High loft means that the cloth is super soft and easily compressible, leading to a mixture of soft and stretchy that absolutely sets the garment apart.
While you’ll need a proper waterproof in a real downpour, Giro has used a water-repellent finish which effectively traps droplets on the surface, where they sit and roll off.
There’s a strip of stretchy mesh at the bottom of each pocket compartment to make them expandable. This means you can fit more in there, ideal on longer base miles. There’s a zipped compartment, too.
There’s reflective piping at the lower back and a flash of silver on the collar (not optimum placing here).
Giro’s fit is a hit with us: close to the skin and streamlined without being restrictive.
The sleeves are long enough to reach the wrists with a little excess (much better than too short), and an elasticated hem keeps the jersey down.
The finish is a basic seam with added stretch, and at the £89.99 price tag I’d prefer to see a more attractive cuff, but that’s really a minor nag. Otherwise it’s a great-fitting, well performing garment.
Liv Flara women’s long sleeved jersey – £79.99
The Liv uses ThermaTextura fleeced fabric to offer insulation, while still wicking away the sweat we all produce no matter how cold the conditions.
On warmer autumn or spring days, when temperatures sit easily in the positive figures, this jersey was ideal, allowing breathability and avoiding overheating.
The fit is described by Liv as ‘club fit’, but the size eight on test supplied a much more an aero fit. We’d view this as a positive, but if you’re looking for a casual layer it may be worth sizing up.
There’s an elastic gripper with added silicone at the bottom to keep the jersey in place as you move, plus reflective details for added visibility, and a full zip.
With the pockets Liv, like Kalf, has gone against the grain: there are two main compartments covered over with a flap of material, plus one zipped compartment overlaid on top of the right rear. The flap reduces the chance of items falling out of the top of the pocket, but it wasn’t tall enough for my pump.
The price places it at the cheaper end of the scale, and seems about right for a garment that feels performance led and high quality, without offering the bells and whistles of water resistance and windproofing.
Alé PRR Sunset women’s long sleeved jersey – £120
The PRR (pro race research) is constructed from Thermo Garzato fabric, a bi-elastic polyester designed to provide a quick moisture wick without limiting breathability. Considering its cold weather suitability and warmth, the jersey is relatively lightweight too. We’ve found it’s possible to ride comfortably on the coldest days without overheating as the intensity increased.
There’s no water-repellent treatment so you’d need to carry an additional waterproof in changeable conditions if you want to stay dry.
The fit is comfortable but close enough to remove chance of flapping; the small was perfect for UK size 8/10. The side panels help ensure the fit is spot on and a silicone gripper keeps the jersey in place on the bike. There are nicely fitted ergonomic cuffs that are longer on the tops – the area most exposed to the wind.
As per most of Alé’s women’s kit, the hem dips down at the hips creating a flattering streamline not dissimilar to that you’d find on a speedsuit or skinsuit.
You get three rear pockets with a stretch of reflective dots along the rear. There’s no zipped compartment, though, which feels like an omission at this price point.
Best men’s long sleeve jerseys for autumn
Endura Pro SL II long sleeved jersey – £89.99
This new version of the Pro SL jersey is made from a fully recycled mix of 80 per cent nylon with 20 per cent elastane.
As part of Endura’s premium range, it comes with the closer fit and features you’d expect, including hemless cuffs and bottom hem. Fortunately, the fabric is very stretchy, or we would have had difficulty getting the sleeves on.
The three capacious open rear pockets are gusseted at the bottom, so they’re easy to load up. There’s a fourth zipped valuables pocket on the right side and a large blue reflective Endura logo on the central pocket, as well as another on the back of the collar.
The tail is dropped enough to keep draughts off your lower back and overlap with tights or shorts for extra insulation and a silicone gripper prevents it from riding up while you’re cycling.
Although it has heavier fabric for a bit of extra insulation, it isn’t so warm you’ll boil if the temperature does rise, and it dries out quickly if you get caught out by a shower.
The turquoise ‘Kingfisher’ colour is bright without screaming hi-vis, but if you want something less colourful, there’s a black option too.
Triban RC100 long sleeved jersey – £20 BEST VALUE
The Triban RC100 is Decathlon’s budget long-sleeve jersey and retails for less than some brands charge for a pair of socks.
It’s made of a mid-weight, tight-knit polyester that supplies a degree of wind protection. The brushed inner traps air and is comfortable against the skin. There’s a taller collar and if it does warm up a full zip allows for temperature regulation.
The RC100 is conspicuously devoid of logos or markings besides neat reflective chevrons on the lower back and a tiny reflective logo on the side pocket. For extra visibility there are contrasting orange lower arm panels to make arm signals more visible.
You get four substantial pockets.
The Triban is comfortable and feels warm at lower temperatures but does get a little sweaty if you’re working hard, with the tight weave of the fabric reducing breathability.
However, the only area that gives it away as a budget item is the cut. The sleeves are a touch too short and the basic, non-articulated fit leads to a lot of bagginess around the upper arm in a riding position and it bunches around the midriff. However, if you try the RC100 on you might find that these niggles don’t affect you.
Pearl Izumi Pro Thermal long sleeved jersey – £149.99 BEST ON TEST
The Pro Thermal is aimed as being an outer jersey for milder spring and autumn days but is also perfect as a low-bulk mid-layer under a wind or waterproof jacket for more extreme days.
It uses a polyester based Thermal+ fabric that has a brushed wool-like appearance on the outer face and a soft, comfortable feel against the skin. It is also incredibly thin making it easy to slip a standard jacket over the top and a snug fit helps this. To reduce bulk further Pearl Izumi uses a bonding process at the hems rather than stitching. The collar is tall and stiffened – making undoing the zip one-handed easy.
There are no less than six pockets across the lower back and there are subtle reflectives front and rear.
The Pro Thermal was almost perfect for riding in temperatures between 10-20°C. It starts a little chilly but the fabric traps heat and does a good job of keeping you warm after a few minutes’ pealling. The thin and open nature of the fabric also allows it to be worn in warmer conditions without overheating too much.
This is a very impressive, well-thought-out jersey. The price, howeverm is a little steep and this prevents it from getting perfect marks.
Invani reversible long sleeved jersey – £85
Invani’s clothing is designed to be worn on both sides, each having a different colour.
There’s a heavier weight fabric for the front and rear panels. The sides are made of a lighter mesh for airflow. A
DWR coating protects from road spray and light rain.
Reversibility ups the game in terms of finish quality and this is a challenge that Invani rises to well. There are reversible zips and very neat, colour-matched flatlocked stitching on both faces. The sleeves have close fitting raw ends to the cuffs and there’s a high collar and dropped tail to keep out draughts.
The fabric is non-fleece, making it ideal for the cusp season, but once it starts to cool down a bit more you may need extra insulation, so the time window when you use it might be limited.
You get a set of pockets on both faces, which don’t sag and have a matt grey reflective logo on the middle pocket on both sides.
I was a bit sceptical about the chances of being able to ride twice without washing the Invani, but actually it works out fine. However, the main advantage of reversibility is the chance to vary your look, and the price is very reasonable for two jerseys in one.
Rapha Core long sleeved jersey – £85
Rapha’s Core jersey offers seasonal protection without the price tag. At £85 (currently on sale at £51) it’s not cheap, but in comparison to the London brand’s more dedicated training options, it’s significantly cheaper.
It also carries more subtle branding, although this hi-vis pink version should please even the biggest show-off.
Although it’s not designed for deep winter riding, the soft fleecy fabric paired with a brushed inner gives it a thicker profile and good protection.
Three pockets comfortably fit your stuff while panelling down the sides give the jersey structure and prevent pocket sag or sway.
The fit is designed to be less aggressive than Rapha’s dedicated training jerseys such as the Pro Team Aero, and we found the sleeves to be slightly short.
It did the job for recent 10°C morning rides and we’d be confident going down to 5°C with a gilet on top. A guard down the back of the zip stops the chill sneaking in at the front.
If you’re looking for a deep-winter top then the brand’s Brevet jersey or Core Winter jacket would be better suited to the very cold months, but the Core offers good protection from the autumn or spring draughts.
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.
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.
Keep checking back for more of our favourites as the season goes on…