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Chapeau! Cafe Jersey



Brilliant all-weather jersey for more sedate rides, but tauter pockets would be nice

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Café jersey from UK brand Chapeau! is perfect for those hot summer day rides and commutes thanks to the use of bamboo fibre in its construction. Its breathability and wicking performance are absolutely stunning.

Chapeau! Cafe Jersey - riding.jpg

This is a heavy jersey compared to the usual lightweight lycra outfits we are given to test this time of year; a lot of the mesh style jerseys that are touted for maximum cooling on a scorching mountain ascent weigh getting on for half of this 220g heft.

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Because of its weight I was hanging back on testing it considering the temperatures were exceeding 30°C for more than a week. But after a bit of research into the benefits of using bamboo fibres in clothing (the Café jersey is 64% made of the stuff) there was plenty of blurb quoting its impressive sweat wicking properties and high breathability.

Chapeau! Cafe Jersey - sleeve.jpg

What a perfect time to get testing then. With the Garmin showing temperatures in the high twenties at 9am I knew I was going to be in for a hot ride but the Café jersey didn't feel overly clammy or heavy when I was wearing it. It wasn't noticeably cooler than any other summer jersey but definitely nowhere near the sweatbox I was expecting.

Read more: The best casual cycling commuter wear

The biggest surprise was just how dry you remain even when you are really pushing it. Perspiration was pouring from my head on every climb and sprint of the 50-mile loop and the jersey never got more than slightly damp.

Chapeau! Cafe Jersey - pocket.jpg

It remained smelling okay too if you were to ride in it day after day. That makes it perfect for daily commuting or touring which is good as that's exactly how Chapeau! Intend the Café jersey to be used. It's perfect for those rides where it's not all about speed but where you want to have a decent fitting, high performing jersey that doesn't scream racer.

You still look like a cyclist when you are wearing the Café jersey but it'll pair up with a pair of casual shorts just as well as a pair of lycra bibs. The fit is relaxed. It's no figure hugger but it has been cut to offer a flattering look and reduce bagginess. The small size here fit me a treat all over and the range goes up to a 46' + chest size.

Chapeau! Cafe Jersey - chest.jpg

You get a dropped tail for when you are in the saddle plus some roomy sleeves with a bit of give in the cuff. At the front there is only a seven inch zip but given the cool nature of the jersey it is all you need really. You get a total of four pockets, three in a traditional setup across the lower back plus a zipped valuables one.

These pockets are the only thing about the whole jersey to really irk me because they aren't very supportive. I'd like a bit more elastane in the mix to add a bit of tightness to them as carrying something like a phone or even an inner tube can really make them sag and bounce about when you are on the bike.

Chapeau! Cafe Jersey - gripper.jpg

I think that £49.99 is a pretty sensible asking price for this style of jersey when you take everything into account. It's well made, well designed, very comfortable and let's not forget about its performance. Included in that price is Chapeau!'s crash replacement policy which will replace the garment if you have a spill and damage it. You can't say fairer than that.

On the whole the Café jersey is a classy bit of bike wear which looks pretty cool in each of the three colours, blue, white or striped.


Brilliant all weather jersey for those more sedate rides, but tauter pockets would be nice

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Make and model: Chapeau! Cafe Jersey

Size tested: Small

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Chapeau say, "In the golden age of the Campionissimi cycling jerseys were beautiful things, heavyweight wool, casual tailoring and limited, if any, sponsor logos. Coppi, Bartali and Anquetil looked like film stars with their sunglasses and brylcreemed hair and the sun always seemed to shine.

Sometimes we want to ride our bikes without worrying about being aero, going deep or – frankly – being seen in figure hugging lycra. Our answer is the Café Jersey, technical enough to be practical and stylish enough to be proud of off the bike and in public!"

The Cafe jersey is brilliant for the style of riding it is designed for although my only criticism is it could do with some more taut pockets.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Relaxed Fit

64% Bamboo

32% Polyester

4% Elastane

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
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Rate the product for fit:
Rate the product for sizing:

Nicely shaped for a relaxed fit jersey as it is cut to flatter.

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How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Washed up clean every time even with sticking to the 30 degree recommendation.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

As far as breathability and wicking is concerned you cannot knock the Cafe jersey at all.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

How dry you remain on hot rides

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Saggy pockets

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

The Cafe jersey certainly exceeded my expectations in terms of dealing with the summer heat plus the fit is an excellent balance of relaxed and fitted to flatter the body. It's a shame the pockets aren't a little more taut.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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