This post may contain affiliate links, which help to keep Discerning Cyclist rolling. Learn more.
No cycling attire is complete with the perfect T-shirt. The question is: what makes a cycling T-shirt perfect to you?
For some, it will be one made of light breathable material; for instance merino, which wicks sweat and is odour-resistant.
It may also be a reflective T-shirt, so that as you cycle through the dark hours of the day, you’re in no doubt as to how visible you are to fellow road users.
It may also be a stretchy T-shirt for that extra bit of flexibility. Or perhaps it’s the ones which provide a slimmer, trimmer fit because… well, you can probably figure that one out for yourself.
Here, you’ll find a guide consisting of all sorts of great cycling tee shirts to cater for a range of different priorities. These are high-quality, practical tops which are particularly ideal for commuting – not just funny cycling tops, or plain cotton tees with prints of bike-related stuff on them.
Breathable T-Shirts for Bike Commuters
We touched on how the best merino T-shirts offers such excellent breathability – but why is this such an important quality in bicycle T-shirts?
Well, breathable materials prevent rain from getting in and force sweat out. Not all of your sweat, of course – there’ll be far too much of that for it to contend with – but enough to stop you dripping with the stuff, at least.
Even in colder conditions, it’s once you’ve ‘warmed up’ after cycling for a while that you really reap the benefits of breathable clothing. They let air flow through them with ease, speeding up evaporation and keeping your cool as a result.
So, when you’re shopping for new cycling tshirts, always keep in mind their breathability factor, as it could be the difference between an enjoyable cycle or a tortuous sweat-infested trek.
Looking for women’s t-shirts? Click here to skip straight to them.
Why You Can Trust Us
Discerning Cyclist’s expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing cycling products so you don’t have to.
Testing stylish gear since 2012
Hundreds of hands-on product tests
Unfiltered opinions from experienced cyclists
Top 3 Men’s Bicycle Tees
Best Men’s Cycling T-Shirts
1. Rapha Men’s Commuter Reflective T-Shirt (£45 / $65)
The ultimate stylish commuter T-shirt
- Available in eight different colours and six different sizes
- Breathable and wicks sweat superbly
- Lightweight but durable
Whether in ‘carbon grey’, ‘high-vis pink’ or any of its six other available colours, this is the best Rapha T-shirt – it’s built to last, and to breathe.
Made entirely of lightweight 105gsm polyester, you may be surprised at just how durable it is, but it’s so efficient at wicking sweat that you’ll find this hard to say no to – especially if you cycle in typically warmer climates.
Indeed. it offers that little bit more in the way fluidity, keeping you cooler for longer. This hi-vis T-shirt also comes with a reflective front logo for extra visibility, stretch side panels for a close but comfortable fit, and an antibacterial treatment to prevent odours after extensive use.
You can also read our full review of the T-shirt here.
A stylish lightweight shirt from Rapha that helps you be seen at night thanks to the reflective detailing on the back of the t-shirt (as well as the logo itself).
2. Velocio Men’s Modal Tee (£70 / $79)
The softest of men’s cycling shirts
- Ultra-soft, breathable cycling tee
- Slim-fitting design
- Available in three different colours
Marketed by Velocio as the ‘softest T-shirt we’ve ever held in our hands’, this slim fit tee is about as breathable as you can get, and looks great in each of its five sizes and in either ‘celeste’, ‘dark olive’ or ‘navy’.
It’s made from modal, a textile made from cellulose of beech trees, which not only feels soft, cool and generally great, but uses up less land and water than cotton, too.
It also boasts its own Velocio screen print and trim details, as well as an inset sleeve and collar. If soft is your thing, this T-shirt should be the way to go.
A real chic t-shirt that is very breathable and feels ultra-soft against the skin. It comes in a slim-fit design, with "long" short sleeves that go down to the elbow.
3. Ministry of Supply Apollo Men’s Polo Shirt ($85)
For those who need extreme comfort in bike T-shirts
- NASA-grade temperature regulation
- 19 times more breathable than cotton
- Available in seven colours and six sizes
Whether in blue, black, ‘charcoal heather’ or its four other colours, this Apollo cycling polo shirt is based around a four-way knit structure which wicks sweat effectively and is 19 times more breathable than cotton.
Made of 57 per cent polyester and 43 per cent PCM-infused polyester, it offers a ‘modern fit’ between slim and standard cuts with a slimmer sleeve, and its NASA-developed Phase Change Materials regulate your body temperature to keep you cool whatever the weather.
If, when shopping for cycling T-shirts, retro is your thing, then this is certainly a great shout, with its simple yet classy design. And if all of that wasn’t enough to send you salivating, it’s machine-washable, too.
Pure, style. No-one would have a clue this was a "cycling t-shirt" unless you told them. But you'll feel great on the bike with this highly-breathable polo.
Top 3 Ladies’ Bike Tees
Best Women’s Cycling T-Shirts
1. Chrome Industries Women’s Merino Short Sleeve Tee (£55 / $60)
A T-shirt high on comfort and breathability
- Breathable, moisture-wicking, quick to dry
- Made primarily of merino wool – extremely comfortable
In either black or charcoal, this women’s cycling tee is made of 65 per cent merino wool and 35 per cent polyester to provide an exceptionally comfortable, semi-fitted top.
What makes it so comfortable? Well, partly the fact that it’s so breathable, so efficient to wick moisture, and so quick to dry. Plus, it’s odour-resistant, so wear as often and for as long as you like.
It also features a ‘reflective hit’, so you can wear it while riding in the dark without worrying whether you’ll still be easy to see.
A simple, lightweight merino t-shirt with short sleeves that looks good and feels great. Boasts moisture-wicking, breathable and quick-drying properties.
2. Rapha Women’s Merino T-Shirt (£60 / $80)
A crew neck T-shirt made to last
- A dream combination of merino wool with nylon
- Moisture-wicking, naturally antibacterial and robust
- Crew neck design offers a more stylish fit
Whether in black or dark navy, this merino crew neck t-shirt combines with nylon to make a design which looks superb, but is just as durable, antibacterial and effective at wicking moisture.
With this stylish tee, the merino can act as either an insulating layer, or as a means of keeping you cool and dry in warmer weather. Either way, though, it’s supremely comfortable.
What’s more, the merino fabric weighs a mere 170gsm, while the reflective rear tab offers extra visibility, its twin needle hems add more in the way of stretching. Plus, it’s shrink-resistant, too.
A chic t-shirt boasting Rapha's iconic pink armbands. The merino-nylon blend makes for a comfortable, breathable and naturally anti-bacterial tee that feels great against the skin.
3. Ministry of Supply Composite Women’s Merino Tank ($55)
Dry, soft and durable – and it looks great, too
- Made of 85 per cent polyester and 15 per cent extra-fine merino wool
- Available in navy, recycled storm blue or recycled grey heather
- Variety of sizes offer a number of different fits
Finally, we have this Composite Tank women’s cycling tee, which again blends polyester and merino wool to create a design which works well on its own or under a mid-layer.
There’s also a degree of choice over the fit – in the normal size, it offers a trimmer look, but in large sizes will provide a more relaxed, loose-fitting design.
Whatever you size you go for, though, you’ll find a supremely breathable T-shirt which is also odour-resistant and excellent at wicking moisture.
A smart ladies' tank top that boasts secret functionality so that not only does it look great, but it feels great when out on your bike. Really breathable.