Several bike shop owners have told me that a cycling jersey is one of the last purchases most people make when they start biking. It appears as though newcomers to the sport settle for riding in cut-off pants and a T-shirt, then buy a pair of cycling shorts a few weeks later, but put off buying a cycling jersey for a long time.
If you don’t know why you need a cycling jersey, let me quickly explain. A good cycling jersey will keep you cooler in the summer because it is designed the breathe by moving moisture away from your skin. In addition, the pockets on the back of the jersey allow you to keep your carbohydrate gels and cell phone close (you will need the gels on longer rides). Another benefit of a good jersey is that they are designed to fit snugly to cut down wind resistance (drag). For the past few years I have worn hi-vis yellow jerseys while I am on my road bike so motorists can see me better (riding in Ninja mode is really not a great idea). Since I do most of my off-road cycling in Wisconsin I often wear a blaze orange jersey on the trails during the fall (Wisconsin folks have profound reverence for four things: blaze orange, bratwurst, beer, and the Green Bay Packers).
For several years I’ve worn the Performance Classic Short Sleeve Jersey, which is an acceptable (but not great) jersey. The Performance Classic Jersey has a relaxed fit (something I don’t need as much now) and a retail price of $35, though it is often on sale for just $20. A few months ago I found a Nishiki Men’s Core Jersey on sale at Dick’s Sporting Goods and decided to give it a try. This jersey has a retail price of just $30. It appears that Dick’s Sporting Goods is the only major chain to carry this jersey in the United States.
The Nishiki Men’s Core Jersey is very breathable and will keep you dry on even the hottest (and most humid) of days. The fit is a bit relaxed and the fabric is very stretchable. I did find it to be a bit longer than any of the other jerseys I own, which is fine for me but could be a problem for vertically challenged people. The jersey also has a very small reflective stripe on the neck, but because of its location it doesn’t really serve any purpose. One nice thing about this jersey is that has a gripper strip along the hem to keep it in place (something not mentioned on the Website for Dick’s Sporting Goods).
The only thing I did not like about the jersey is that it has a black panel that goes down the middle of the back. When the temps are in the high 90’s the last thing you want on your jersey is a panel that draws heat. All things considered, this is an excellent “middle of the road” jersey. It is better than the Performance Classic Jersey, but not as well designed as the much more expensive Pearl Izumi Attack Jersey. If you are in the market for a reasonably priced cycling jersey, the Nishiki Men’s Core Jersey is a great place to start. This jersey is only available in two colors: blue and a hi-vis yellow.