Written by: Cameron Vigliotta
TL;DR - Here's a summary of our recommended summer cycling gear:
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Blistering temps are no reason to hide in the freezer and throw your cycling season out the window.
As exhausting as it seems, donning the proper apparel. And carrying a few tools can turn any hot summer ride into a memorable spin session.
With the development of cooling fabrics and specifically designed hydration equipment, it has never been so easy to hit the streets or the singletrack when the temperature climbs.
No matter where your wheels may take you, bring these pieces of gear along to beat the heat.
What to Look For When Shopping for Summer Cycling Gear
As you begin your search for the latest and greatest summer cycling gear, it’s worth your time (and money) to consider what you’ll need to survive the ride.
From fabrics to functionality, these are a few things you should look for as you narrow down your options.
Think of your body as a house with the windows closed on a hot summer day. As the sun rises and the heat continues to build inside, the only way to find relief is to open every window.
Much like that house, your active body is producing and storing heat. That heat needs the opportunity to escape through the pores of your skin. Dress in clothes that trap or absorb moisture, and this is an impossible task.
When shopping for jerseys, shorts, socks, or other cycling apparel, look for natural and synthetic fabrics.
Natural fabrics, such as merino wool or bamboo, are tried-and-tested materials as they offer lightweight, breathable properties.
If you prefer synthetics, choose options that incorporate strategic ventilation pockets and mesh. These materials will keep the skin cool and dry faster should they get wet.
Built-in Sun Protection
Besides coating your exposed skin with sunblock, look for apparel that features built-in sun protection with a rating of SPF 30 or more.
The best way to avoid sunburn while riding is to protect your skin from getting burnt in the first place.
Embrace New Technologies
New technologies are commonly found in cycling fabrics, light sets, hydration systems, and even helmets.
Though it’s best to approach such developments cautiously, don’t be afraid to learn more by speaking with professionals at your local bike shop or online forum.
These advancements have gained broader attention and acceptance because they work.
The Best Summer Cycling Gear
The following products have been evaluated and chosen based on the set of principles outlined above.
They are lightweight, breathable, sun-protecting, and they incorporate the latest in cycling technology.
Here are the eight suggestions — and a few alternatives — to help you build your ideal summer cycling kit.
Giro Synthe MIPS Helmet
With 19 vents and an aerodynamic, low-profile design, the Synthe offers superior airflow. Keeping your head cool on the hottest of summer rides.
The Synthe utilizes MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) technology. It is designed to reduce rotational forces occurring due to angled impacts.
Spend the extra $20 for MIPS technology, and you’ll buy not only added safety features but peace of mind as well.
Also Check Out: Giro Agilis MIPS
At 336 grams, the Agilis is slightly heavier, and it offers less ventilation than the Synthe. However, with features such as MIPS technology and 32 air vents, this a worthy, affordable alternative.
Pearl Izumi Short Sleeve Quest Jersey
Also Check Out: Castelli Gabba 2 Jersey.
Although more expensive than Pearl Izumi’s Quest. The Castelli Gabba 2's integrated Gore-X fabric offers windproof and water repellent features. It is optimally suited for riding in harsh conditions.
CamelBak Podium Chill Water Bottle
Also Check Out: Elite Fly Water Bottle.
Elite’s Fly water bottle is a cheaper option. But it does lack the insulated and pliant materials found in the Podium Chill. For thirstier riders, we recommend the larger 750ml and 950ml versions.
Castelli Arenberg Gel 2 Gloves
Pearl Izumi Elite Escape Bike Shorts
Also Check Out: Pearl Izumi Escape Quest Shorts.
Think of Pearl Izumi’s Escape Quest shorts as the cheaper cousin to the Elite Escape shorts.
The same 1:1 chamois provides chafe-free comfort, and reflective elements enhance low-light visibility. But these shorts won’t burn a hole in your pocket if you’re just getting into the sport.
Oakley Radar EV Path Sunglasses
Also Check Out: X-Tiger Polarized Sports Sunglasses.
If expensive sunglasses don’t sound like a worthy investment, keep things simple with X-Tiger’s Polarized Sports Sunglasses.
The modern design still offers UV protection and interchangeable lenses. But the price tag won’t have you sweating with anxiety as you confirm your purchase online.
Shimano S-Phyre RC9 Road Cycling Shoes
Check out more of our gear guides:
Finding the perfect summer cycling gear is a balancing act that has no right or wrong answers.
From breathability and budgeting to sun protection and cycling technology, deciding what gear to use comes down to personal preference.
No matter what you choose to bring on your next summer ride. Buy the best gear that you can afford, and your body will thank you for the rest of the riding season.
About the Author
Cameron Vigliotta is a freelance journalist and copywriter whose work explores the people, activities, politics, art, and literature of the outdoors. His writing has been featured in by REI Co-op's Journal, Stay Wild Magazine, and Active Interest Media among others. A Massachusetts native, he enjoys running up steep hills until everything hurts, and he doesn’t own a TV.
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