To Kit or not to Kit

This topic is purely for entertainment so I hope no one takes this too seriously, but… I’m wondering how folks generally get on with cycling kit vs. riding in non-cycling specific kit.

Personally, a few years ago I was beginning to get an itch for nicer and matching kit, but could never get past the cost so I didn’t pull the trigger on anything. I would generally ride in black bibs with a solid color jersey (Castelli or some such).

To make the jersey work (putting stuff in pockets) without sagging, I was getting more and more form-fitting jerseys which made me feel ridiculous as I wasn’t racing (then or ever), and I wasn’t shaving the pins (hairy legs and matching kit seemed stylistically contradictory).

Since, I’ve just decided to rock black bibs, black socks and whatever shirt I have that suits the weather at the time, t-shirt, long sleeve plaid button up, cotton, poly, fleece, etc., and I’m so much more comfortable than I used to be. I often see folks out riding in kit that just doesn’t even look comfortable, and I wonder if they’d find riding more enjoyable if they didn’t feel like jerseys especially were a required piece of clothing for riding.

I know this is all very subjective, and I don’t think I even have a point, but I do wonder how it all plays out for people who ride a lot, race currently, used to race, with money, no money, don’t ride that much and on and on. I’m guess I’m just being nosy.

A friend I ride with regularly used to race a fair amount and still races occasionally so he’s in matching kit for every ride, seems simple enough. Kinda funny when we show up in totally different gear for the same outing. Anyways, I hope everyone’s getting out on the bike as preferred these days, I know I’m thankful to get outside no matter the kit I have.

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I wear cycling clothing because it vastly improves the experience. It wicks sweat, prevents chafing and irritation, keeps all my stuff from bouncing around, keeps me cool/warm when needed.

I do a lot of mtb and I’m amazed that there are people who claim it’s more comfortable to wear jorts and tshirts. They also wear super badass full face helmets and ride bikes with 150mm travel on flat trails and make fun of people who wear cycling clothing. All for pride. They think they look cooler and that cycling clothing and XC bikes aren’t macho. While they are wearing jorts. :rofl::man_facepalming::man_shrugging:


No kit–am not a racer, and don’t want to pretend that I am, nor do I really want to look like a walking/riding advertising billboard–ride everyday, and choose high visibility jerseys–soccer/football jerseys in fact (no names or numbers on the back, except for a few)–bright colors, great ventilation–along with the usual bibs and such.

Cycling kit is bloody awesome. Especially the good stuff, bit even the upper end of budget Decathlon kit can be really great.

That’s a Decathlon aerosuit for a hair under 100 Euro. Looks sharp and super functional. You don’t need to spend a fortune on good stuff.

I’ve done long rides - up to 220km even - in casual clothes, mind you; it works. Cycling kit just works better in every way; it’s more comfortable, it deals with heat, sweat or rain better, it improves speed, you have pockets to carry stuff in the rear. It even looks good.

The resistance to cycling kit doesn’t make sense. People who don’t ride may think cycling kit to be weird, but they think you’re weird anyway, and at the end of the day, who cares?

Racing is also fun. You need not take it seriously - there are local guys who organize unsanctioned training races just for fun. You get a good workout and it’s fun and there’s the social aspect of it.


The clothing matches the mind state right? If I put on the serious kit then I’m going for a big ride, probably do some big efforts. If it’s shorts and t-shirt, then I’m just going to play around, won’t go too far, more inclined to stop somewhere.

Low-key though I love the kit. It’s super comfortable. It is expensive so you have to choose carefully. And fortunately these days there are great brands doing good looking stuff.


Cycling kit is an absolute must imo… many years ago, when I began riding road to build fitness for dh racing, I swore I would never wear spandex. Now, I’ll never not wear it. I don’t like the extreme compression of full race, second skin kit but a moderate compression bib and jersey combination is a requirement for me now. If I did half hour rides or less, I might be willing to roll in cargos and a t shirt but that’s about the limit I would be willing to sacrifice the comfort of proper kit for the convenience of ‘street’ clothes.


I also nearly always wear cycling kit for road rides (shorts and a jersey). Most of my stuff is fairly basic and plain, although I do have one jersey from a local century ride I did a few years back. On the rare occasions it’s cold, I’ll put on a non-cycling jacket or long sleeve shirt, but this rides are usually fairly short.

For mountain biking it’s usually a light t-shirt and shorts.

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For recreational rides (mostly on the road) I wear kit, for the reasons given in the posts above.

Haven’t turned a pedal in anger since my eldest was born but when I do get back to it then kit all the way.

For commuting or riding with the kids I wear casual clothes… but casual clothes that have been designed with cycling in mind. So tees that have some wicking ability rather than just a cotton tee and shorts with a crotch that’s compatible with sitting on a saddle.

Such clothes are compatible with doing non cycling things during the trip (pick up bread on the way home or stop at a playground) but still reasonably comfortable on the bike.

One thing I have observed: I seem to get a lot less aggro on the road when dressed in normal clothes. Same route, same behaviour on my part, similar time of day and traffic volume. No hard data so it could just be observation bias on my part, but I do wonder if drivers can emphasise more with someone who ‘looks like them’?


Kit is awesome. I agree that the prices are a bit insane but fit is pretty consistent so once you know your size you can usually order sale stuff pretty safely. Castelli goes on sale on CRC pretty consistently. Team stuff also gets blown out once it is no longer current. Who cares if you have team sky stuff from 4 years ago? Who cares if the team on your shorts matches the team on your jersey? Who cares if you don’t shave your legs?

As for MTB, I always wear kit jerseys for the pockets - usually a bit looser fit. For shorts, I’ve tried spandex but I ride a little too loose and my shorts give some much needed protection. I’d be replacing shorts every few months Without the added durability of baggies. But that’s BC North Shore for you, not the place to wear spandex - although my wife seems to get away with it!

My ex-banker riding buddy rides in tie-dyed Brooks Brothers shirts, I prefer Columbia fly fishing shirts. Both styles of shirt breathe well, have built-in arm warmers, and are decidedly non-aero. Neither of us race, we ride loads of pavement and gravel, and I personally find that all my cycling jerseys are gathering dust. I still rely on high quality bibs and maybe a light overshort, and I am starting to really like bibs with pockets. I’ll stick with being called a MAMIL for now, because MAMIFFS just doesn’t quite sound right.

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I don’t understand why people wear skinsuit tight stuff for slow rides. For some reason it sort of bothers me. And I don’t understand wearing cycling gear when it’s sub-zero and getting colder than -10 C with wind chill without moving so way more wind chill underway. Cold weather hunting boots, long underwear, jeans, layers and a ski jacket and things are toasty warm, rides can go hours without being cold. Wear cycling gear no matter how “warm” and you’re cold as soon as you get out the door.

Cycling kit is sexy.
Also, but they come second, all the technical reasons.

I wear kit, (shorts, full-zip jerseys) but pad it out with non-cycling specific kit; running tights and gloves, rugby thermal base layer and socks in winter, construction visi-vest for night time riding.

For the summer I have dedicated cycling kit which I try to match in look with the bike somewhat. Having three bikes I have jersey specific for the separate bikes (I don’t always use the “right” jersey with the “right” bike though). In the winter I mix it up with some cross-country skiing base layers and jacket. I nowadays have dedicated winter long leg bibs, but before that I used running running or cross-country skiing tights on top of short summer bibs.

I actually have an aero jersey (the cheapest way to make a significant aero upgrade), but I thought I was too fat to use it this season (corona isolation hasn’t been good for my weight). For the most extreme kits I feel that I need to have a body that at least somewhat matches.

Kit on every ride these days. Would feel like Im wearing fancy dress if I all of a sudden started riding i baggies and flanell shirts. :lying_face:

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I’m not sure I understand what is happening here. We’re on a cycling forum where 50% of the replies say they don’t understand why people wear cycling kit and that they train in street clothes. Does everyone here just ride a Walmart bike to the grocery store?


Are you sure you’ve responded to the right thread/forum/site? Something in the neighborhood of 14 out of 16 responses in this thread said that at a minimum, they usually wore bibs, with a smaller number going for the full “kit”, while the others employed reasonable alternatives to fit their circumstances for what they wore for upper body wear.

Pretty sure “Cycling Tips” refers to all types of cycling and cyclists, not just the pros–some of us enjoy reading about the higher echelons of the elite cycling events and riders of the world, without having to emulate them in what or how we ride.

And since you asked, I’ve logged in just about 13,000 kilometers so far this year on bikes that didn’t come from Walmart (I built them myself) without dropping into the local grocery store even once…


So you are doing VO2 intervals and such in football jerseys? I’m genuinely asking. I sometimes go on shop rides with dozens of people and I almost never someone in a tshirt on those rides unless they are an absolute new rider. Everyone wears a jersey, and the vast majority don’t look like billboards, btw.

Also, specifically on your reply, I thought maybe you were confused or didn’t understand the term because you said you don’t wear cycling kit and then said you wear bibs, which is cycling kit. I didn’t reply because I respect that you wear what you wear, I just don’t understand why anyone would go out and do intervals in a non-cycling jersey.

I don’t mean it as an insult to people who DO ride cheap bikes, grocery shop, or wear blue jeans while doing hill climbs. More power to them. I’m glad they’re getting exercise and not using a car. I was just surprised at how many say they don’t kit up and implied insults at those who do (YOU LOOK LIKE A BILLBOARD) since this is a cycling forum.


Ride what is comfortable for you. Don’t worry about what others wear or what they think of what you are wearing. Wave to others on bikes. Enjoy your ride.

Simple. :sunglasses:


Casual rides on the more casual bike in casual clothes. Sporty rides on sporty bikes in sporting (cycling) kit.
And cycling kit is tight: if the aim is to go (as) fast (as possible), then kit has to be tight.

Easy as pie.

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