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8 Cycling Kits You'll Actually Want to Wear
In the past, many cycling kits for women were victims of the old "shrink it and pink it" practice. Brands merely took men's apparel, made it smaller, and added pink. Sure, we can all benefit from the same functional features like pockets and a chamois pad (it saves your tush from being sore for days), but women deserve gear that's made for them. Thankfully, as more and more women start cycling (of the 104 million people who rode a bike last year, 43 percent were women, according to a study conducted by the nonprofit People for Bikes), apparel brands are finally meeting your needs and creating functional and fashionable gear. Take one (or all) of these cute kits for a spin—you'll not only feel good, but you'll look good, too.
Best for Road Cycling
NYC-based fashion designer and cyclist Lela Rose teamed up with the boundary-pushing brand Velocio to create this one-of-a-kind, limited-edition kit. The perfect marriage of technical and trendy, it features a feminine floral design with electric citrine accents.
The jersey fits like a body glove—the ultra light, stretch fabric hugs every curve in all the right ways without inhibiting your range of motion. The mesh side panels offer breathability even on the hottest of days and the hardest of climbs. Four back pockets hold your food, tools, and a tube, while the water-resistant zippered pocket keeps your phone and money dry during sweaty rides. And reflective trim keeps you safe.
The bib short is made from an Italian Lycra fabric, which feels supportive without feeling too tight and retains its shape over time. The signature Velocio silicone leg bands offer a comfy grip that doesn't create "sausage" legs (the worst!). With a top-of-the-line chamois, a tailored fit, and strategic seaming designed for women in a cycling position, these bibs are truly worth the investment. (Velocio x Lela Rose Zinnia Kit)
Best for the Weekend
Headed to brunch by bike? Say hello to your new weekend uniform. This year, iconic denim label Levi's expanded their Commuter Collection for women. Designed for and by cyclists, these pieces marry comfort with the classic style the brand is known for.
These jeans look just like your favorite pair of skinnies but feature cyclist-specific details like a higher rise in the back for more coverage in the riding position (because crack is whack), stretch fabric that moves with you and repels water and dirt, and reflective strips on the leg inseams to pick up light when cuffed.
The raglan tee is made of a merino wool blend with Thermacool fabrics to help moisture evaporate and keep you cool while riding. Toss the Commuter Wax Shell jacket on top on chilly or rainy days. Made of waxed cotton from Halley Stevensons, it repels raindrops to keep you dry and has a back vent for breathability and a zip-out hood in the collar. (Levis Commuter Skinny Jeans + Raglan Tee + Commuter Wax Shell)
Best for Trails
A spin on the classic baseball jersey, Sombrio's Pedigree Jersey features a drop back hem for extra coverage when you're in your ride posture and three-quarter sleeves that help to protect your arms from branches along tree-lined trails. The moisture-wicking fabric is has antibacterial properties to keep you cool and fresh during and after every ride.
The figure-flattering cut of the shorts was designed with a woman's body in mind. The four-way stretch fabric is durable enough to handle anything the trail throws at you and still remain comfortable in different ride positions. Special stitching and sturdy seam construction in stress zones like the seat enable these shorts to last through several seasons without breaking down. (Sombrio Pedigree Jersey + Zinnia Short)
Best for Your Office Commute
Rapha has been creating luxury cycling apparel for over a decade and the brand prides itself on representing the highest levels of quality, style, and performance. This year, they expanded their City Collection to feature more options for women who equally appreciate cycling and fashion.
Commuting by bike to work can come with some small challenges (helmet hair, anyone?), but with the right gear, your transition from the bike to the boardroom can be seamless. These black jeans look professional but are designed to allow you move on the bike—which is to say they're super stretchy and comfy. The offset seams offer additional comfort in the saddle. And the fact that they're stain-resistant and fast-drying basically makes them life-proof.
Top black jeans with a classic, sleeveless collared shirt. The business-in-the-front, bicyclist-in-the-back design means you won't show up to the office with icky back sweat thanks to the moisture-wicking merino wool. (Rapha Women's Jeans in Black+ Sleeveless Shirt)
Best for Spin Class
You already know and love Athleta for your yoga and run gear, but many of their pieces double for Spin class. The Lava Sonar Capri is made of sweat-wicking compression fabric for a slimming fit, and its ultra-wide waistband won't cut into your midsection while you're on the bike. Bonus: It has an infinity drawstring (one adjustable loop) that will never get lost in the wash.
Complete the look with the Full Force Tank. The super-breathable mesh fabric and an open keyhole back keep you cool when class gets hot—you know, mirror-fogging hot. The high neckline keeps your girls fully covered when in the chest-down riding position. (Athleta Lava Sonar Capri + Full Force Tank in Capri Blue)
Best for Triathlon
The brand Sweaty Betty is known for marrying style and performance in a sporty, feminine way. In the world of triathlon where suits and sets are generally basic, boring black, this kit will make you stand out in the crowd. The Heat Tri Short and Heat Tri Top feature a high-performance, quick-drying fabric so you'll feel less soaked soon after your first transition.
The short has a more-minimal chamois appropriate for triathlon, designed specifically for women for maximum comfort on the bike. The fashionable print panels are figure flattering and paired with functional features like the power mesh back pockets that hold your gels and fuel in an easily accessible spot. The top offers a built-in shelf bra for support, making this kit the perfect race-day pick. (Sweaty Betty Heat Tri Short + Heat Tri Top)
Best for Nighttime
As summer comes to an end, it's staying dark later in the morning and getting dark earlier at night. So swap these two hi-viz pieces into your arsenal for low-light conditions. The Pearl Izumi Bio Viz technology utilizes a combo of hi-viz neon colors for daytime that—get this—convert invisible UV rays into visible light, which results in a glow emantating from the garment to keep riders visible up to five times farther away than standard colors. Beyond that, Pearl Izumi tapped the principle of biomotion to turn reflective markers into a powerful communication tool. Based on the study from Swedish psychologist Gunnar Johansson, the concept stems from the idea that the brain is programed to notice patterns of movement. BioViz gear uses reflective materials on strategic points to create visual cues that help drivers identify cyclists more quickly. Markers placed high on the body create a steady reference point, while markers on the lower half of the body create a secondary rhythmic pattern and dynamic movement. Together, these reference points tell a driver that you are a human riding a bike, and not just another bright object at night. That'll help keep you safe when you're riding, both during the day and at night. (Pearl Izumi BioViz Elite Thermal Cycling Tight + BioViz P.R.O. Aero WxB Cycling Jacket)
Best for Long Rides and Hot Weather
Long rides and warm temps mean taking in a lot of liquids during your ride. Inevitably, nature calls—and there are few things more annoying than having to completely undress in order to take your bib shorts down. Enter: The Hookup from Specialized. Created specifically for women, these shorts feature a magnetic clasp on the back strap of the bibs so you can quickly and easy unbuckle, slide your shorts down, and make a pit stop. When you're done, you simply slide them back up and the magnet catches itself to re-connect. With the Pro Jersey, you'll benefit from VaporRize fabric (which helps sweat evaporate quickly on hot days) and Deflect UV 30 protection to shield against sunburns and keep your tan lines sharp. (Specialized Women's SL Pro Bib Shorts with Hookup + Women's SL Pro Jersey)