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Best Cycling Caps in 2021

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KEY
POINTS

  • A cycling cap keeps you cool in the summer by absorbing moisture and keeps you comfortable in the winter by keeping warmth inside your helmet.
  • The most breathable material for cycling caps is cotton, wool, or cotton blends.
  • The bill should move freely up and down to provide maximum protection against the sun.
  • Good wicking adds to your comfort by keeping you dry. Look for a wide inner headband and materials like cotton mesh for maximum absorbency.

The old-school cycling cap is among our favorite road bike accessories for a reason. They help us keeping sweat off your brow, preventing rain from dripping down, and from keeping your head warm enough during spring and autumn. We’ve spent tens of hours researching many caps to put together this list of the very best cycling caps you can buy right now. Our recommendation for most people is the CATEYE Cycling Cap – a good-looking lightweight cycling cap, which is easy to clean, and close-fitting.


CATEYE Cycling Cap Helmet Liner Hat


The CATEYE Cycling Cap is a great-looking lightweight option and may well be one of the best summer cycling caps around. It has a breathable and moisture-wicking mesh design that is sure to keep you cool and comfortably dry on even the hottest days. This attractive black cap has a bill that is specifically designed for cycling, and that protects from the sun’s rays. This cap will also work for you if your sport is climbing or hiking, even though it is made with riders in mind.

Read more: Rain Jackets for Road Cycling

You will like the Lycra fabric, which makes this cap simultaneously lightweight, easy to clean, and close-fitting. You will be happy to know that the CATEYE Cycling Cap can be worn with or without a helmet. Customers also report that it works for indoor and outdoor use, and wearing this cap in the rain does not seem to damage it at all. On the downside, some customers have reported that the stitching is prone to popping. Word has it, however, that the company stands by the product and will willingly send a replacement if this is necessary.


Retro Prestige Team Cycling Cap


The lively, multi-colored Retro Prestige Team Cycling Cap is imported from Italy. You will be delighted with its chic look and will appreciate the elastic closure and soft cotton blend. Customers agree that this cap has adequate sweat-absorbing abilities. Some reviews, however, cite that the inner headband is narrow and does not absorb as much moisture as is needed to obtain a truly comfortable ride in all weather conditions.

Nevertheless, the Retro Prestige cap is best suited for use under a helmet because it does seem to prevent sweat from rolling into the eyes in most situations. This is an inexpensive cap that uses some very eye-catching colors. It can withstand several trips through the washing machine, but hand washing may extend its life and keep it looking a lot nicer much longer.


Giro Peloton Cap


The Giro Peloton is made from lightweight synthetic materials to keep you dry and comfortable. Customers who bought this cap often report that they love to use it in the summer because it is light and breathable. This cap also offers protection from wind and cold during winter weather.

Many users agree that the Giro Peloton is one of the best top caps cycling has seen. It is made of anti-microbial fabrics that not only keep you dry, but that also protect against debris. This cap is constructed of a blend of polyester and high-quality synthetic materials to give you a perfect balance between lightweight construction, breathability, and custom fit.

You will love the one size fits nearly all. Also, the Giro Peloton has elastic rear panels that let you customize the fit to get the most exceptional comfort. This cap is styled with unique seams that are designed to alleviate pressure when worn under a helmet. This cap is made from breathable fabric and can be easily tucked into a pocket for storage. Customers consistently report that this cap has excellent moisture absorbency.


Giordana Brooklyn Team Cycling Cap


The Giordana Brooklyn Team Cycling Cap is a favorite among fans, who love the fact the Brooklyn is inscribed on the underside of the brim as well as on top. The cap is made of a lightweight cotton blend to keep the air circulating through the cap. This stylish cap is available in 12 different color combinations that are sure to please any taste. Primary colors like orange, beige, turquoise, purple, green, and yellow are offset by black or white accents to create a stylish look.

This traditional Italian cycling cap is available with three or six panels. It is made of 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton to give you an excellent balance between breathability and functionality. This particular blend offers great efficiency when it comes to moisture absorbency and will keep you dry even in the warmest months. The Giordana Brooklyn cap is made to fit hat sizes up to 7 1/2, so it may be one of the best big cycling caps. This one may be a good choice for you if your most comfortable fit tends to run larger.


OUYZY Cycling Balaclava Multi-function


OUYZY’s cycling balaclava is a multi-purpose product that I personally love. I’ve got the one with the dog face on it, and I have to tell you that it’s a super fun way to grab attention on the road.

The balaclava can protect you against the sun, wind, insects, and even cold and some other particles on the road.

Another great thing about this product is that it could be used as a cycling cap, beanie, necker, face mask, sun guard, balaclava, “do-rag”, pirate cap, headband, hairband, and more.

Also, you can choose between a vast variety of images that are printed on the outer layer of the balaclava.

OUYZY’s balaclava is made of 100% Polyester Microfiber which is a great choice for such product because it’s stretchable, comfortable and breathable. It has UV protection so you will be safe on the hot summer days.

In conclusion, if you want to look different, and you need a cycling balaclava with UV protection, sun protection, and wind protection then this product should be definitely considered or at least shortlisted.

I would definitely use this balaclava for my commute to college to grab some attention on the campus.


Gore Wear C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry Cap


Worth the modest investment given all the benefits this cap delivers, this Shakedry cap invites you to cycle through as much lousy weather as you can take yet it’s so lightweight, you may not feel it on your head. Tuck it into a pocket, vest, or cycling backpack.

Wear it under a helmet. Count on being noticed thanks to the reflective logo that lets vehicle drivers know you’re sharing the road.

The fabric used to craft this cap will not only keep raindrops from running into your eyes but it even lets hot air escape if you’re double-timing it to find shelter.


CASTELLI Hors Categorie Cap

You’ll save five bucks and gain a fashion-forward look on the bike path if you favor this Castelli cap over the Shakedry.

Manufactured of cotton twill and featuring an adjustable elastic back strap, this cap is awash in patterns that include bold stripes, the company’s scorpion logo and a brim that spells out the brand name in huge letters.

It won’t keep you dry if rain starts to fall but it could make you feel jaunty if you’re all about the way you look


CASTELLI Rosso Corsa

Are you man enough to wear this pink cap or will you purchase this as a gift for the female cyclist you admire?

Either way, expect comfort and maximum airflow provided by polyester mesh fabric that features an equally lightweight visor embellished with graphics.

The silhouette is a classic, the price matches the Shakedry, but a California gas been issued for materials used to make it (e.g, cadmium, phthalates, bisphenol, nickel, and di(2-Ethylhexyl)phthalate “DEHP”), so keep this in mind if you think pink.


PEARL IZUMI Merino Cycling Cap

In return for being the priciest cycling cap in this review, expect plenty of perks. The slim design means no under-helmet bulk, the fabric is a blend of wool and recycled polyester and due to the way the cap is manufactured, wearers enjoy thermal regulation for superior moisture control.

The “cycling-specific” bill offers sun and rain protection, yet visibility isn’t hindered and since those polyester fibers are derived from recycled plastic bottles, you get to be a steward of the earth. A 100-percent guarantee of satisfaction covers your return if you decide it’s not for you.


Giro SPF30 Ultralight Cap

Giro SPF30 Ultralight Cap

This Giro Ultralite cap is made for cyclists who love the simplicity and feel confident enough to wear a true-to-size white cap.

The elastic closer keeps the fit snug and because it’s crafted of 96-percent polyester and 4-percent X-static fiber, the jersey mesh top panel offers SPF 30 protection from the sun.

Sweat-wicking and designed to be worn under a helmet or solo, this cap’s brim has been shortened to improve upper peripheral vision so you’re not surprised should raindrops start falling.

Read more: Best Bike Helmets Under $100


Machines for Freedom Signature Cycling Cap


Available in black or coral plus small and medium sizing, you’ll spend a few dollars more on this MFF cap designed for superior functionality.

Hide this cap under a helmet, wear it solo on bad hair days or when it rains. Intentionally designed to appeal to men and women, this cap is fabricated of comfy, flattering cotton twill and features an interior sweatband.

This company specializes in “high-performance cycling apparel for women who put in serious miles” at the “intersection of athleticism and femininity.” If that’s you, which color will you choose?


TSH STORM CAP

If you always take your sense of humor along when you ride, put this TSH storm cap on your birthday gift wish list.

The price is competitive, one size fits all, and who can resist a product made in Italy that rebuffs rain while delivering a social statement on the brim that shouts: Merde!

Comical storm cloud art covers the cap’s dome but those clouds all feature grins, so while we are too modest to translate the word merde, it’s likely you utter it every time you’re on cycling high and the clouds let loose.


De Marchi Portofino Cap

You may need Euros rather than dollars to purchase this cap, but in either currency, this affordable Italian cap is sexy, fashionable, and tastefully made of a cotton/polyester blend treated with a water-resistant finish.

This cap’s interior is lined with high-wicking, anti-bacterial tape to absorb sweat and the elastic fastener keeps it from roaming.

The embroidered logo adds a designer touch, but don’t get too excited. Only cold water and air drying can be used to clean this cap and there’s a chance it could be out of stock when decide to order this popular product.


Rapha + Outdoor Voices Cap


If the washing and drying instructions associated with the aforementioned Portofino cap turn you off, you may wish to skip this Ralpha because cleaning and sanitizing requires similar care procedures.

Don’t care? This cotton cap meets the definition of “a cyclist’s companion through the seasons.”

Got long hair? No worries. Not afraid of the rain? Don this cap and get lost among the raindrops. Available in several colors, the Rapha brand has joined forces with Outdoor Forces to encourage cycling on both sides of the Atlantic and since this cap is available in 2 sizes, fit won’t be an issue.


Assos Assosoires GT Cap

This Assos Assosoires GT cap could come out on top of your list because it’s unique. First, the company has race-tested the cap for performance, used half-moon, breathable net insert construction to set it apart from competitors and seams are minimal so your head stays cool.

Choose solid black or 6 fashion-forward colors that coordinate with a signature ASSOS MILLEgriffe pattern. This comparably-priced cap offers you a 3-month warrantee in case you decide it’s not for you, but something tells us, you’ll agree with brand fans that it’s a keeper!

Read more: Our Favorite Shoes for Cycling


How to choose the best cycling caps

The so-called French “La casquette” is a cap made for cycling with a long history. In 1868, when the first cyclist is registered to have won a cycling race, the victor James Moore wore the first ever cycling cap.

The styles and types of hats changed a lot in the next 50-60 years until the 1920s when many teams adopted the colored cycling caps and jerseys which we know today.

As this UVoider Chief Evangelist explains, cycling caps protect you from the sun’s rays and keep insects out of your hair and ears as you ride. A cycling cap keeps you cool in the summer by absorbing moisture and keeps you comfortable in the winter by keeping warmth inside your helmet. Cycling caps extend the life of your helmet by absorbing sweat and oil that often damage the lining.

Tom Southam tells us that he never rides without a cycling cap because he likes to think it can protect his image. On a more practical note, Mr. Southam agrees that cycling caps protect a rider from the elements.

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan, in her article in London Cyclist, cites moisture-wicking and protection from the elements as two key benefits of wearing a cycling cap.

Ms. Arthurs-Brennan also refers to a cap’s hair-control benefits and its ability to prevent your tresses from becoming entangled inside the helmet.


Things to Consider When Buying a Cycling Cap

We will not go into detail about budget or style choices because these are a matter of personal consideration that may be unrelated to product quality and functionality.

We prefer to focus our discussion on factors that are more likely to impact your long-term satisfaction with your chosen product. This page from Chain Reaction Cycles will give you more details about items we summarize below.

Material

The most breathable material for cycling caps is cotton, wool, or cotton blends ( poly-cotton ). The best cycling skull caps are frequently made of Lycra to provide a snug fit. A mesh lining and some synthetic fabrics improve moisture absorbency and breathability.

Natural fibers such as cotton or wool provide excellent absorbency but may be heavy. Synthetic materials like polyester and microfiber are lightweight and also provide moisture-wicking that is at least as good as that provided by natural materials.

Season

Purchasing several caps to wear at different times of the year is likely to be not only expensive but impractical. A combination of classic cap and neck warmer, or skull cap and balaclava, can provide year-round protection and used as weather and road conditions dictate.

A classic cap may be a good solution for riding in most situations, especially if worn under a helmet.

The best winter cycling caps offer some degree of insulation to keep you warm and may also be wind or water-resistant.

Summer cycling caps are lightweight and specially designed to protect you from exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Bill

The bill should move freely up and down to provide maximum protection against the sun. The best bills stay in place without excessive movement. Bills collect much of the sweat and should have ample wicking capabilities to keep you at your best.

Wicking

Good wicking adds to your comfort by keeping you dry. Look for a wide inner headband and materials like cotton mesh for maximum absorbency. Moisture-wicking should be located throughout and not just in certain sections of the cap or bill.


Types of Cycling Caps

You may already know that there are different styles of cycling caps. In this section, we describe the four basic cycling cap styles and discuss their ideal uses.

Classic caps

This style of cycling cap looks much like a regular baseball cap. It is generally intended to be worn under a cycling helmet to protect you against sun exposure. This cap style is also sometimes worn as a helmet liner to help absorb moisture.

Skull caps

This cap style wraps closely around the head and does a great job keeping hair off the face if you ride in windy conditions. Skull caps also do a great job of keeping you dry and comfortable, providing a helmet liner that feels like a second skin.

Winter skull caps offer extra insulation and are water-resistant. Summer skull caps are designed to keep you dry and absorb moisture.

Neck warmers

This style of cap is also referred to as a neck gaiter. It resembles a balaclava but bares the entire face rather than only the eyes. The neck warmer slips over the head and acts as both a hood and a scarf, making this type of cap ideal for use in colder weather.

Balaclavas

Also known as a ski mask, the balaclava covers the entire face except for the eyes. The cover-all style of this cap makes it one of the best winter cycling caps. The balaclava is also useful in preventing injury to the face if you do a lot of off-road riding or often ride on surfaces like sand or gravel.

They’re so small and occupy so little space that you can put one inside your handlebar bag and have it always with you.

Balaclavas, however, do not give flexibility because they cannot be altered to wear during warm weather. This type of cap is ideal, however, for riding in extremely cold or subzero temperatures.

About Alek Asaduryan

Alek Asaduryan is the founder of YesCycling and has been riding bikes and in the cycling industry since 1991. Since then, his mission is to make cycling more accessible to everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people to achieve that. When he's not out riding his beloved fitness bike, Alek reports on news, gear, guides, and all things cycling related.

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