If you're new to cycling, purchasing just the bare essentials to get you started can be very pricey. While we do believe that often you do get what you pay for, there are some great cheap cycling clothing options out there that will get you through shorter rides without breaking the bank.
Then as you begin to up the ante with longer rides, you might identify a couple of products such as bib shorts or a light weight waterproof that you want to spend a little more on.
To help you get started we searched the market for the cheapest women's cycling gear, testing three affordable outfits from dhb, Decathlon, and, Polaris against each other. And with each garment falling under £40, our aim is to show you that there are good, affordable cycling clothing options out there!
These 10 Bike Accessories for Under £10 should also be useful!
Our first outfit test was from Dhb, Wiggle's very own cycling clothing brand, which has always been a good option for affordable cycling clothing. In fact we swear by the brand's higher end bib short the Flouro which is a fraction of the cost of other similar level shorts. They also offer some really good value merino wool baselayers, gilets and accessories across the range too, most of which are under the £40 mark.
For the purpose of this article we decided to put the brand's entry level kit to the test.
To the Test:
dhb Active Panelled Jersey
At just £14.99, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the dhb Active Women's jersey felt and performed just as well as some jerseys we have tested that are several times the price. Out of the jersey's we tried, there is no doubt that this is the winner.
Featuring a relaxed fit, half zip, silicone gripper on the rear and three good sized pockets, the jersey is a no frills affair. The jersey is fairly efficient at wicking away sweat and the mesh detailing under the armpits and down the side meant it was pretty breathable, even on a warm day.
Sizes: UK 8-16
Stockist: Wiggle - dhb Women's Active Panelled S/S Jersey
dhb Women's Active Padded Cycling Bib Short
Coming in at £17.99, there is no question this is one of the cheapest bib shorts on the market. I was pretty sceptical about a bib short at this price as I do believe bib shorts are worth the investment as it can have the biggest effect on the enjoyment of your ride.
The dhb Women's Active Padded Cycling Bib shorts were not the worst. The elastic straps was surprisingly soft and didn't dig in anywhere. The shorts feature a slightly longer length than other brands too, and the lycra was soft and comfortable.
The chamois is the downfall of these shorts, and of course the most important aspect. For a short ride of 1-2 hours they will certainly do the job, but if you are planning to be in the saddle for longer than that at any one time, I would suggest opting for one of the slightly more expensive pairs in the range. I really cannot recommend the dhb Fluro shorts enough, they offer exceptional comfort and value for money.
Sizes: UK 8 - 16
Stockist: Wiggle - dhb Women's Active Padded Cycling Bib Short
dhb Women's Verve XC Cycling Jacket
This light weight, windproof and water resistant jacket was a winner for us. Coming in at £37.99, it is a little more expensive than the other items we reviewed but we feel the price tag is justified.
This jacket is perfect for chillier days, and really versatile which we love. It will not look out of place on the trails, on the road or even out for a run. It is breathable and the ventilation under the pits was pretty effective.
The jacket is a snug fit, so fits a jersey or baselayer comfortable underneath but not much more, so if you are planning of layering up, perhaps opt for a size bigger than you would normally go for.
The zipped pocket on the rear, is the perfect size for your phone while an there's an additional hidden pocket perfect for keys or your credit card.
All in all, this jacket is a winner!
Sizes: UK 8- 16
Stockist: Wiggle - dhb Verve XC Mtb Jacket
[part title="Decathlon (B-Twin)"]
Decathlon's affordable cycle clothing brand, B-Twin was our next test.
B'TWIN 900 Women's Cycling Jersey
At £34.99, I actually think this jersey is a little on the pricey side for what it is. In a previous article we rounded up the best value cycling jerseys on the market and when compared to some of these it really highlights that this offering from B'TWIN is not really at the races at all.
Made from 100% polyester, the jersey does have some positives. The fit is flattering, the rear pockets which include a zipped pocket for valuables offer ample storage space and the thick elastic on the arms is super soft and flattering.
My major gripe with this jersey is the fabric. Next to skin, it doesn't feel great so I wouldn't really opt to wear it solo without a baselayer. Worn on a hot day, it was not efficient at wicking away sweat. I was pretty drenched by the time I got home after an hour long cycle.
Sizes: S- XL
Stockist: Decathlon - B'TWIN 900 Womens Cycling Jersey
B'TWIN 900 Women's Cycling Bib Shorts
Unlike the matching jersey, I was quite impressed with the B'TWIN 900 Bib Shorts (£34.99). Soft next to the skin, they offered a snug fit, comfortable straps and were quite flattering.
The mesh fabric down the back and sides provided made the short pretty breathable. Elsewhere the chamois performed pretty well too. Not too thick, it was pretty comfortable and more than adequate for shorter rides.
Stockist: Decathlon - B'TWIN 900 Womens Cycling Bibshorts
B'TWIN 300 Women's Cycling Gloves
These cheap and cheerful gloves come in at just £4.99. If you are just starting out, gloves are a good purchase. They not only help with grip of the handlebars, the padding will also absorb some of the shock from bumpy roads taking the pressure off your arms.
These gloves from B'TWIN are pretty basic, which is what you would expect at £4.99. The padding is pretty minimal but they do fit quite well and provide adequate grip.
Stockist: Decathlon - B'Twin 300 Women Cycling Glove
Polaris bikewear was our last on the list. This brand offers cycling gear at a range of prices and has often performed well when put to the test in the past. So we were eager to put some of its cheaper items to the test and see how they compared.
To the Test:
Polaris Ladies Adventure Short
This was the out and out winner amongst the three pairs of cycling shorts I tried. At just £24.99 this short offers exceptional value for money.
Confused about the difference between shorts and bib shorts and which to go for? Check out our article on the joys and pitfalls of bib shorts.
The Polaris Ladies Adventure Short is perfect for those doing short to medium length rides. Next to skin the shorts are supremely soft and comfortable. Reflective detailing on both sides makes them a great option for winter riding and commuting alike.
The chamois on this short is also a winner. It is not too bulky but at the same time offers ample cushioning for your backside. Silicone grippers on the legs also help the short to stay put. My only complaint about this short would be the narrow waistband which cuts in ever so slightly.
Stockist: Polaris - Polaris Ladies Adventure Short
Polaris Adventure Road Shirt:
While I did love the Polaris Adventure Short, unfortunately I was not so keen on the jersey (£24.99). I tried the size medium, in hindsight I should have opted for a size small for my UK Size 10 frame.
Performance wise the jersey was not so bad, it wicked away sweat pretty efficiently and the fabric felt soft next to skin with no irritating labels or stitching. The pockets on the rear where also of ample size, and the reflective detailing was a nice touch.
Looks wise however, I though the jersey was not the most flattering as I definitely prefer a women's specific cut. Again the jersey is available up to a size XXL making it a good option for those looking for plus size cycling clothing.
Stockist: Polaris - Adventure Road Shirt
Polaris Adventure Mitt
This mitt is more expensive than the offering from B'TWIN, but in my eyes it is money well spent. And actually for £12.99 I think this mitt offers exceptional value for money.
This mitt is super comfortable, comes with velcro adjustment to get the perfect fit and had ample padding.
Stockists: Polaris - Adventure Mitt