I’ve got everything from a looser fit jersey (two) to a pro fit full kit (two) to a normal fit road cycling kit (three sets). I ride in shorts or bibs, though bibs are vastly more comfortable and enjoyable to wear over a long ride.
Pro fit kits are not for the faint of heart. My friends, they’re tight-fitting, aerodynamically sound, fast and for the high-end clothing, exceptionally comfortable over a long haul.
The trick is getting the fit right. Typically speaking they run a lot smaller than a normal kit would. My favorite cycling shorts are made by Specialized. I enjoy Specialized jerseys as well, but I also like Pearl Izumi and Cavalo.
There is one incredibly important, simple thing one must know about pro fit kits before ordering online: They run small.
In the photos above, I’m 6’0″ tall and maybe 168-170 pounds In the second photo my Specialized RBX Pro (standard fit) shorts and Pearl Izumi jersey are both medium. In the first photo, the pro fit kit’s bibs and jersey are both large. I also have a second pro fit kit though, same as the first, for early in the season when I’m packing a few more pounds, that has a large pair of bibs and an extra-large jersey. On the other hand, I don’t need special “early season” sizes for the standard cycling kit. Pro fit is that tight, but this is as it’s meant to be.
Now, we were lucky when we purchased out club kit. We were given a full range of sizes to try on before we ordered. This meant we were able to pick the perfect size.
When ordering cycling clothing on line, it is imperative to look for the words “Pro Fit” somewhere in the item’s description. If this appears in the description, a general rule is to order one size larger than I normally would but I still check out the sizing chart to make certain I’m only looking one size.
As far as I’m concerned, for jerseys, too loose is just as bad as too tight. Bibs and shorts must be right, period. I’ve seen plenty of old-timers riding around in baggy cycling shorts and it drives me nuts. First, loose chafes. Second, well it’s off-putting when it comes to how it looks. If I’m going to spend the kind of money good cycling kit costs, it’s going to fit right – none of those jerseys that droop down over my ass when I stuff the pockets and no cycling shorts that don’t fit tightly around my legs.
The best way I know to avoid sizing problems when ordering online is not only to know my American sizing but my European sizes as well. In fact, if I’m offered both, I always go with the European sizing for jerseys. European sizing is superior as far as I’m concerned. It’s easier to get a perfect fit.
Just my two cents. Everyone wants to ride their best. I like looking good while I’m doing that. As the saying goes, “If the $#!+ fits, wear it”… You can’t look your best if it don’t.