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A Guide to the Best Shirts for Mountain Biking

A Guide to the Best Shirts for Mountain Biking

As any avid mountain biker knows, having the proper apparel is essential for a safe and enjoyable ride. Unfortunately, the wide array of options can make finding the best biking shirts a challenge. From merino wool vs polyester, zippered stash pocket or a tighter race fit, it can be difficult to find the right jersey that works for you. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about choosing the right shirt for your mountain bike adventures.

About Mountain Bike Shirts

Mountain bike shirts are designed specifically for the unique requirements of mountain bikers, taking into consideration the various conditions, terrain and physical demands that these athletes encounter on the trails. Wearing the right MTB clothing can greatly enhance a rider's comfort, safety and performance.

The Importance of Proper Apparel for Mountain Bikers

Mountain biking is an intense sport that requires the right apparel to handle rugged trails and ever-changing environments. Choosing a specialized trail short sleeve jersey or a long sleeve trail tee, for example, ensures you can focus on your ride rather than being distracted by uncomfortable clothing. A high-quality bike shirt will be breathable and keep you dry, offer protection from the elements and provide enough room for elbow pads and a neck brace if needed.

Characteristics of Good Mountain Bike Shirts

There are several key features that good mountain bike apparel should possess. These include durability, comfort, versatility, style and functionality. High-quality mountain bike shirts also have features like mesh panels for ventilation to keep you cool on hot days, and the right balance of materials to create a well-rounded performance piece of clothing.

What to Look for in MTB Shirts

Material and Fabric

The material of your mountain bike apparel should be chosen based on your specific needs and preferences. Whether you're a casual bike park rider or a serious bike buyer, you want durable and comfortable clothes that perform well in various conditions. And since mountain biking is a high intensity sport, you'll want to pick a merino wool mountain bike jersey, or one made with polyester, to wick sweat away as you heat up.

Breathability and Proper Ventilation

A breathable option is essential for mountain bike apparel, as it helps regulate body temperature and prevent excessive sweating. Mesh panels are a great feature for enhancing ventilation and breathability, allowing air to circulate and keep you cool during your ride.

Moisture-Wicking Properties

Another important characteristic of your mountain bike shirt is moisture management. Mountain biking can be an intense and sweaty activity, especially during the warmer months. A good MTB shirt should quickly wick away moisture, ensuring you stay dry and comfortable throughout your ride. The materials you should look for are polyester or merino wool, and try to avoid jerseys made of cotton.


Depending on your local climate and riding preferences, a waterproof or water-resistant mountain bike shirt might be an important consideration. Although waterproofing usually comes with more specialized jackets, a light water-resistant coating on your MTB jersey or shirt can come in handy during light drizzles or damp conditions.

Examples of Ideal Materials

The ideal materials for mountain bike shirts are lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking and provide the ultimate comfort on the trail.

  • Polyester: A popular choice for many mountain bike jerseys due to its lightweight, moisture-wicking and quick-drying capabilities.
  • Nylon: Known for its durability and water resistance, nylon makes for a great option for mountain bikers who require added toughness, long-lasting quality in their attire.
  • Merino wool: A natural, breathable and odor-resistant fiber known for its excellent temperature-regulating properties, making it a great option for mountain bike apparel in varying weather conditions.
  • Spandex/elastane: Elastane, also known as Spandex, provides excellent stretch and flexibility, allowing for a comfortable and unrestricted range of motion during rides.

Mountain bike apparel companies like Stio often use a blend of fabrics to offer riders the best of both worlds.


Mountain biking can put a lot of wear and tear on your gear, so selecting a shirt with quality seams, stitching and materials is essential. Well-made clothing will hold up better in the long run, protecting your investment and ensuring you are comfortable and properly equipped for all of your biking adventures.

Quality Seams and Stitching

The seams and stitching of your mountain bike shirt should be robust and resilient, able to withstand the rigors of the sport. Reinforced stitching and flatlock seams can add durability, while seamless designs can reduce irritation and provide a smoother, more comfortable riding experience.

Fit and Comfort

The fit of your mountain bike apparel is crucial for overall comfort and performance. A well-fitting trail shirt will allow for freedom of movement, wick away moisture efficiently and provide ample ventilation without being too tight or restrictive. The more comfortable you are, the longer you can stay out on the trails.

Snug vs. Loose-Fit Shirts

When it comes to mountain bike shirts, there are generally two main fit styles: snug and loose. Snug-fitting shirts are more aerodynamic and offer a close-to-body feel, while loose-fitting shirts provide greater freedom of movement and a baggier, more casual style.

Personal Preference and Riding Style

For cross-country riders and racers, a snug-fitting shirt may be more appropriate due to its streamlined design. On the other hand, downhill and recreational riders might prefer a looser-fitting DH jersey or shirt for their added mobility and laid-back style. Ultimately, the best fit will depend on your personal preferences, riding style and what feels most comfortable to you.

Additional Essential Features

In addition to the right fit, MTB jerseys often include valuable features like non-slip silicone or gel grippers to hold the jersey in place, zippered pockets for secure storage of personal items and stretchy materials that further enhance the overall comfort and performance of the garment.

Style and Functionality

In addition to comfort and performance, mountain bike shirts should also cater to your personal style preferences and function well on the trail. Find a style that can easily transition from trail to tap house. Many companies offer a wide range of options for bike jerseys, from minimalist colors to more bold, vibrant designs. Find one that suits your rider style, and hit the trails with confidence.

Short Sleeve vs. Long Sleeve

The choice between short and long sleeve mountain bike shirts depends on factors like weather conditions, sun protection and riding style. In hotter climates, a short-sleeve trail shirt can provide a cooler, more breathable option. Long-sleeved bike shirts offer added protection from the sun, branches and other hazards on the trail.

Weather Considerations and Sun Protection

Riding in harsh sunlight or unpredictable weather calls for a versatile mountain bike shirt. Look for UPF protection ratings in the material to shield your skin from harmful UV rays. Long-sleeved shirts can provide added sun protection and coverage during cooler months or at higher elevations.

Layering Options

Having the option to layer is essential for off-road biking, as weather conditions can change rapidly on the trails. Consider layering a sleeveless or short-sleeved bike shirt over a base layer for added warmth, or wearing a breathable, moisture-wicking layer under a long-sleeved jersey to adapt to changing conditions. It is also a good idea to stash a light rain jacket in a zippered pocket or bike kit, just in case the weather turns on you.

Additional Features

Beyond the basic elements of a mountain bike shirt, there are additional features that can level up your riding experience. These can include UPF protection ratings, pockets and storage options and reflective elements for increased visibility.

UPF Protection

Many mountain bike shirts are designed with UPF protection to shield your skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. This is especially important for riders who spend long hours on the trails, as consistent sun exposure can lead to skin damage and an increased risk of skin cancer.

Zippered Pockets and Storage Options

Having zippered pockets and storage options in your mountain bike apparel can provide added convenience for storing essential items like energy gels, keys or a small multitool. Rear jersey pockets or zippered stash pockets can be especially handy for longer rides or when you want to keep items within reach. You never know when you'll need some extra fuel for your climb, or your phone to snap a picture of perfect sunset, so zippered stash pockets are an important feature to look for.

Reflective Elements for Visibility

Reflective elements on mountain bike clothing are essential for increasing visibility during low-light conditions or when riding on roads with vehicle traffic. These elements can improve the safety of your ride by making you more visible to other riders, hikers and motorists.

A Mountain Biking Apparel Brand You Can Trust: Stio

When it comes to mountain bike attire, it's essential to find a brand that offers durability, comfort and style. One such brand that has steadily gained recognition within the mountain biker community is Stio. Known for our top-quality mountain bike jerseys and shirts, we are a prime choice for mountain bikers looking for the best shirts for their outdoor excursions.

The main factors that set Stio apart are our exceptional manufacturing quality and attention to detail. Our apparel includes specific features that cater to the needs of mountain bikers, including lightweight, breathable materials with moisture-wicking properties and a comfortable fit. We offer a wide selection of mountain bike apparel and gear, with choices varying from sleek short-sleeve jerseys and bike bibs to MTB socks and backpacks. With our commitment to providing high-performance biking gear, you can confidently take on any trail sporting our gear.

Find Quality Mountain Bike Shirts at Stio

If you seek high-performance biking shirts, Stio has got you covered. Our inventory includes a range of MTB jerseys and shirts that suit riders with different preferences. Here are some excellent examples of our bike apparel offerings:

  1. Stio Specialized Trail Short Sleeve Jersey - This short sleeve trail jersey is the perfect combination of function and style. With a stretchy polyester/elastane blend fabric for a flexible and comfortable fit and fabric designed to wick away sweat, our Team Bike Jersey SS is a favorite among mountain bikers.
  2. Stio Long Sleeve Bike Shirt - A classic option for those looking for added protection and coverage. Stio's Crester Trail Tee LS features a relaxed yet functional fit, perfect for layering during cooler days in the bike park. We also offer a short sleeve Crester Trail Tee for the rider who wants improved breathability.
  3. Stio Short Sleeve Tech Shirt - The Stio Shifter Shirt is a lightweight, moisture-wicking and UPF 50+ shirt that is perfect for sunny days and long outings. This shirt features a relaxed fit, two-way stretch and a sunglasses loop, making it a comfortable and stylish choice for any ride.

Take a look at our men's and women's mountain bike gear and apparel collections to find the right shirts for your ride.

FAQs About Shirts for Mountain Biking

What makes a mountain bike jersey different from a regular sports shirt?

Mountain bike jerseys are specifically designed to cater to the intense requirements of off-road biking. They often feature moisture-wicking and quick-drying materials, mesh panels for breathability and a more relaxed fit to accommodate padding and provide better comfort.

Should I choose a short sleeve or long sleeve biking shirt?

The choice of the right bike shirt varies depending on your preferences and the type of biking you engage in. Short sleeve shirts offer more breathability and are ideal for hot weather conditions, while long sleeve shirts provide extra coverage and protection against scrapes and scratches.

What materials should I look for in a good biking shirt?

Polyester and nylon are ideal materials for mountain bike jerseys and shirts, as they are lightweight, moisture-wicking and dry quickly. Some jerseys may also incorporate additional features like stretchy elastane for flexibility and mesh fabric for enhanced breathability.

How important is the fit of a mountain bike jersey?

The fit of your mountain bike jersey should not be overlooked, as it can greatly impact your comfort and performance. Choose an MTB jersey with a relaxed fit, allowing for ease of movement and layering if needed. It's essential to ensure the jersey isn't too tight or too loose so that you can enjoy the ultimate biking experience.

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