Chapeau! aim to create quality cycling kit, with a touch of quirky style you don’t always get to see in cycling.
Bright and bold patterns are the order of the day from this brand, and that was certainly the case with their summer 2016 range – which is still very much in stock, as well as being slightly discounted in their current summer sale.
It was difficult to select a jersey from the wide range of options on the site (first world problems), but in the end we went for the short sleeved Madeleine Jersey (was £69.95, now £52.49) and Ladies Classic Bib Shorts (£70, reduced to £34.99 in blackmint) for our test.
Both bibs and jersey were thoroughly put through their paces – I tested them riding in moderate UK temperatures as well as under near 30 degree heat whilst climbing up some mountains in France.
Here’s how they got on…
Cheapeau! Madeleine Short Sleeved Women’s Jersey
Available in three colour options: blue, coral or black – the Madeleine jersey is certainly striking. When paired with the matching polka-dot design on the Classic bib shorts, Chapeau! have created a ‘look’ that’s co-ordinated without being prudishly over matching. Perhaps it’s a little stereotypical, and my perception has slight whiffs of onion-string-necklaces and berets, but the kit also felt quintessentially French as I donned it on holiday.
The jersey has – as you’d expect – been designed to fit a female form. Wearing the Small, I found it snug enough to feel flattering, without being restrictive – it’s certainly not an ‘aero speed machine’ sort of jersey, more designed for casual rides or long days out where you’d like some breathing room and plenty of space to stuff the pockets.
The fabric is a little heavier and less flexible than some of the more racey options out there. Therefore, I was a little concerned it wouldn’t be quite as breathable. However, donning it to climb to the top of the Pyreneesian Col d’Aubisque in the August sun, I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t overheat, and sweat was sucked away from my skin as I’d expect from a quality garment, though I did make use of the full zip to cool myself down towards the summit.
The slightly heaver material wouldn’t be my first choice for a ride in blazing heat, though it’s perfect for more moderate temperatures when you don’t want ‘barely there’ material and after several washes it proved to be considerably more resilient, with no pulls or bobbling.
At the rear, there are two full sized rear pockets, as well as two slightly smaller pockets either side and a zipped compartment. The four primary pockets are angled to aid ease of use when riding, and I loved the extra height offered in the large rear pockets which meant a mini pump felt secure and never at risk of slipping out.
Having four pockets enabled me to easily carry a packable, pump, tubes, tool, food and phone. However, the smaller side pockets curve round with the hips – which meant over-stuffing them risked making me look a bit round, so I mainly took to using the rear pockets and saving the side pockets for small items.
There is a ‘Chapeau! tip of the hat’ reflective logo on the rear pocket, and reflective trim for added assurance. The sleeves are nicely hemmed, but don’t have an elasticated gripper as you might find on a top end garment. This said, the price point doesn’t call for these touches.