Why don’t roadies wear sleeveless jerseys?

In races. Or mountain bikers for that matter.

I’m familiar with rule #7

Asking for a friend :man_shrugging:

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As far as I know, USAC and UCI rules prohibit sleeveless jerseys for road and MTB.

Outside of racing… lack of ‘guns’ seems most likely. :stuck_out_tongue:


But why?

That I don’t know.

Because we have no arm muscles just toothpicks


Don’t wait for peer approval, ignite the trend! :fire:


Not that I know - but I’ll take a guess that it reduces the available advertising space on jerseys.


Sleeveless is just more uncomfortable for me, I don’t see why tri people wear them even.

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What are those “strings” hanging out your sleeves?! :joy:


Whole bunch of reasons:

  • Sleeves give you a little bit of extra road rash protection if you go down. Shoulder is a common impact point
  • They’re more comfortable. I’ve been a rower and a triathlete so I’ve worn more than my fair share of sleeveless lycra and it tends to chafe more
  • More sun protection. Even with sunscreen, the straps of sleeveless tops tend to rub the sunscreen off. This is one reason triathletes are increasingly moving to sleeved suits, particularly for hot races
  • More aero. Aero materials are more aero than skin. Another reason why triathletes are moving to sleeved suits, and also why TTers cover up as much skin as they’re allowed to
  • It’s cooler (part one). Modern wicking fabrics can actually cool you off better than wearing nothing as they move the sweat away from the skin
  • It’s cooler (part two). It’s a much better look IMO
  • It’s always been done that way. Never underestimate the importance of tradition in road cycling in particular.

Who says they don’t?!


Or maybe it’s just the beefy Italian riders… :thinking::man_shrugging::laughing:

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To show off our swimmers shoulders :rofl:

  1. It’s against the regulations for racing.
  2. Sleeveless is a really, REALLY, bad look.

If Mario Cipollini can’t carry it off…


Speak for yourself. I carry useless vanity muscle


I took a spill years ago, no gloves on and a singlet jersey. The road rash was a lot worse than it could have been.

Plus I got over getting sunburnt pretty quickly

I remember the days when I raced tris in only a speedo w/helmet, shoes, no socks, no jersey. I also remember showing up at a local roadie ride in shoes, bike shorts, helmet, and no shirt on a tri bike :joy:I didn’t know anyone. It could have been ugly but it turned out great! Made some great friends that I still see and communicate w/25yrs later. They also successfully converted me into a sock wearing, jersey wearing, full blown roadie after 2 race seasons. :poop:happens :man_shrugging:

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In cycling, most folks do stuff or don’t do stuff because other people tell them not to. Appeal to authority is one of the biggest driving forces in cycling. Cycling gestalt is basically 70% appeal to authority, 20% cognitive dissonance, and 5% wind tunnel data.

Same is true for the sleeveless jersey. People won’t wear them because other people tell them not to. I’ve seen local crits that had rules explicitly forbidding sleeveless jerseys. No reason for it. Just that conformity is important in cycling.


Conformity is part of any cultural subset…

As noted multiple times, sleeveless jerseys are not allowed in competition and it is primarily a safety issue (extra protection when crashing). As a result of that sensible rule, a “cultural rule” developed that you just don’t wear sleeveless. Also as noted, there are many practical reason to wear sleeves (sun protection, aero, etc)

I’ve been riding road for over 30 years and I will still sport the occasional sleeveless jersey…but it need to be hot (85*+) and I need to be riding solo.

I will also wear one regularly in Spring Break when riding just to get rid of the child-frightening pasty appearance of my skin after a winter shaving away in the basement.

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Well, like I said…appeal to authority…then cognitive dissonance. This is the cognitive dissonance part. We don’t wear sleeveless jersey’s because other people tell us not to. We like to think we are free willed so we confabulate excuses like ‘it’s for safety’ to convince ourselves of the utility of just doing what other people tell us to. ;-D Ha!

There is a trend now to leave off the cycling mitts while racing & riding. This is a far greater safety concern than sleeveless jerseys. There is no rule proscribing gloveless riding and nobody even gives it a second thought.

We’ve all had road rash on our knees. Nobody would ever think, in a million years, that it is a proper safety precaution to require all riders to wear knee sleeves. Why? Because fashion conformity is the primary concern…not road rash protection.