The Chapeau! Classic bib shorts are designed to be everyday shorts. A little less technical than the Pave offering which comes in at a higher price point, these are created to live up to daily use - commuting, coffee shop rides and the such.
If these are the 'everyday' shorts, I can't imagine the comfort of the Pave version. These shorts slipped straight on and felt like a second skin on the bike.
Chapeau! have used a multi-panel design, which means that the material fits to the contours of your body better than a single panel, stretched around each thigh (one can only imagine...). They've also listened to women's concerns and used a wide, elasticated cuff with light silicone printing to keep sausage legs at bay.
The pad is fairly thin, banishing nappy-itis when you get off the bike, but I felt perfectly protected during rides. Chapeau! have opted for the Fiandre pad, which features a "unique channel which guides and supports your pelvis through a full pedal stroke". I didn't feel unsupported at any point in the stroke, but I can't say I've ever had a problem with this.
These bibs feature a standard 'y' shaped body, with stretchy mesh straps. I certainly didn't feel any overheating around the back when testing these, and the straps sat comfortably on my chest without any irritation. If course, there's no pee-mechanism but that's fairly standard on entry level bibs.
A few sweet added features mean these bibs seem to really punch above their price tag. For example, these's a carefully sewn in care label on the bib shoulder and a cute little 'Chapeau!' logo on the right hip providing a tip of the hat for wheel suckers.
My only slight reservation with these bibs is the very fetching polka-dot design.
[PSST: See the edit below for an update on this!]
I have absolutely nothing against the design itself, in fact I think it's really fetching - but without a matching jersey on offer, those of us who like to co-ordinate might feel a little at a loss. Especially when there is an oh-so-tempting matching cap on offer...
[EDIT: Chapeau! got in touch with us via Twitter to show us their NEW Madeleine Jersey. The Madeleine will be available soon - and the prototype suggests we won't be worrying about what to wear these bibs with for long... See, ask, and it will be delivered!]
Chapeau! Classic Bib Shots - £69.99 here
Sizes available: XS - XL, Size reviewed: Small
Colours available: Black and White 0r Black and Mint