"Style is no guarantee of success, although it is always a sign of talent," once quipped Cycling Weekly's Chris Sidewells, highlighting the important role wearing the right gear plays in cycling.
Emulating the pro look is a big part of every sport, and the same is true of cycling as we watch inspirational figures push the boundaries during the world’s biggest bike races.
Cycling has a long and rich tradition, and the sport has produced many of the most exceptional exponents of any physical pursuit in the world.
The legends of cycling and the gruelling nature of their efforts is worth honouring, as is the sense of style they created over many years and miles.
It is out of respect for this impressive heritage that the wearing of pro-inspired clothing celebrates today.
So, if you want to pay homage to those towering figures of fitness and finesse and you’re not sure how, then our guide to pro-clothing should put you on the right path.
Looking good on the road
Getting that pro-inspired style isn’t as easy as picking the most expensive gear at random. A bit of planning and good taste is necessary to ensure your pro-style keeps cadence with your technique and performance.
It’s also important to note that quality gear provides a number of significant benefits in terms of performance, practicality, and – quite significantly - how they make you feel on the bike.
Attempt to compete in a race in tracksuit bottoms, a polyester t-shirt, and football socks, and you’ll soon appreciate the full benefits of lightweight, breathable gear.
Flattened seams and a race ready-fits offer significant aerodynamic advantages, while specialist materials ensure warmth without the weight or the bulk.
Sweat-wicking properties will also keep you dry and protect against nasty chaffing, while the benefits of a quality chamois during long miles are beyond dispute.
There are practical advantages too. Thin fabrics allow you freedom of movement for an efficient technique, while pockets on the back of pro-level jerseys provide the perfect storage place for energy gels.
But look beyond the tangible benefits and there are many mental advantages too. Having that pro-style helps make you feel part of the community and part of cycling heritage, which has benefits not only for you but the wider cycling community and its proud contingent.
And when you feel good on the bike, there’s no doubt that you perform better too.
Top tips for choosing pro-issue cycling gear
Here are some of our top tips to help you emulate the pros:
- Express yourself: While there are pitfalls to avoid, there is a world of classy, vibrant, and eccentric cycling gear with which to explore and experiment. Whether you want ultra-cool and understated, or big, bold and attention-grabbing, expressing your personality is part of enjoying being a cyclist.
- Go for quality: Shabby gear can be a false economy. Unlike big brand fashion clothing, which is rarely built to last, cycling gear is tested literally to destruction by cyclists every day. Poor workmanship gets found out very quickly on the bike, so premium gear must produce the goods in terms of performance and durability.
- Go retro: Retro gear is classy and always gets the nod of approval from fellow cyclists.
The jersey is where you can fully channel your inner Fabian Cancellara. Go wild with colour and design, or stay conservative for a cool, sleek look. A pro-standard jersey is also lightweight and ensures you stay cool and fresh.
The Bodyfit jersey has evolved with a new multi-fabric construction and fresh new look, making the BodyFit Pro Evo Jersey the best yet for fast training and racing.
Filled with tech to help keep your cool on the road, the Movistar Team Short Sleeve Jersey from Endura offers the perfect fit.
The pinnacle of Etxeondo's jersey range, the Attaque Jersey combines the finest tailoring and materials to create a jersey with an incredible aero fit and performance.
Fingerless gloves add pro-flare to your cycling garb, and reduce the windchill on your knuckles as you descend.
The Castelli Team SKY TDF Tour Race Gloves use a lightly padded palm and a smooth and comfortable Lycra back, giving you the perfect level of protection, grip and breath-ability.
Offering luxury comfort for your hands, the Pro SL Mitts from Endura mean maximum grip and maximum style.
Pro-issue cycling caps
Cycling caps are really a matter of personal choice, but a well chosen model can really take your pro style up a notch. Handy too in the descents or the cold weather when those helmet vents start blasting your bonce with a bitter breeze.
Castelli's Team Sky Cycling TDF Cap has a classic four-panel construction in a cotton twill fabric for comfort in all weathers. Use it all year round to protect the head from all weathers.
For the most extreme riding conditions, the Castelli Team Sky Difesa Cap is the item you'll reach for to make riding a bit more bearable. With full windproof coverage on top of the head and ear flaps, it traps warmth and doesn't let it go.
Pro-issue eyewear adds class to complete your cycling look, plus aids visibility so you can really take in those views.
The Sapphire lens is built for bright lighting conditions and comes with a light transmission of 12%. The lens comes with Prizm lens technology which improves how light is transmitted through the lens to improve contrast and clarity to ensure that you can see every detail of your surroundings.
Embrace all your senses and react faster than ever with the 6th Sense glasses from Bolle that boost your performance by providing the best levels of optical precision in a race-ready design
Pro-issue bib shorts
Never underestimate the benefits of a quality chamois. Pro-issue bib shorts should be at the top of your list and will repay your investment in double quick time.
Comfortable on a wide range of body shapes, the Castelli Volo bib shorts are highly breathable, aerodynamic and lightweight with all day comfort via a KISS Air seat pad. They're a true race winning short for when you're sponsoring your own passion
Sportful's renowned Women's BodyFit Pro Bib Shorts were developed and refined over many seasons with feedback from Women pro riders, creating the ultimate in great fitting and exceptionally comfortable cycling shorts.
Quality shoes deliver a power and performance upgrade, as well as looking sensational.
The Giro Factor Techlace Road Shoe is designed especially for the road cyclist who wants lightweight performance combined with great looks. Featuring one of the thinnest and lightest outsoles on the market you can be sure of maximum power transfer.
When it's time to put space between you and your opponents, the unrivalled power transfers and comfort of the Fizik R1 Infinito Road Shoe will give you an unassailable lead both in the footwear and racing department.
Don't undermine your surgically-selected cycling outfit with a pair of saggy old soccer socks. Plus your feet will thank you for the sweat-wicking tech and breath-ability.
These technical Sportful Peter Sagan World Champion Team Race Socks are the ideal choice for training and racing, with fabrics that wick sweat to keep feet dry and comfortable.
Keep your feet drier for longer, no matter how hard you push yourself thanks to the Podio Doppio 13 Socks from Castelli.