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The Chapeau! Dry Tech Tee is a stylish, gravel-oriented casual top that wicks and cools very well. The barely dropped tail and stitching issues undercut both its on-bike performance and cafe-stop looks, though.
Chapeau! describes the fit as 'loose but not baggy,' and that's as good a description as any. It hangs slightly away from your body, though is nowhere near loose enough for the relatively thick fabric to flap.
I find the fit pleasingly close and almost tailored, though the short sleeves are on the verge of being tight – they leave little extra room at the hems, which is fine when standing, but can pull ever so slightly when I'm stretched to the handlebar.
There's little stretch in the fabric, too, so if you've any sort of paunch (or big upper arms) you might want to size up to maintain that slight looseness all over.
Despite its middling thickness – it should survive the odd gravel crash pretty well – the fabric breathes quite impressively. If you do get very sweaty it gets a slippery, slimy feel I didn't personally love, but it wicks efficiently and dries fairly fast. Once back to merely damp it feels normal again.
The biggest issue for me with this tee is the rear hem, which is only very slightly dropped. I found it barely overlapped the waistband of my shorts, even in a relatively relaxed riding position, which can feel draughty and leave a gap for groundwater to be fired through.
I also found the finishing a bit disappointing, with several loose ends of thread that needed snipping away and the chest pocket being sewn in a way that permanently scrunches the main fabric.
Okay, the pricing is hardly premium, but it's a little disappointing all the same. On the upside, the seams are all solidly joined and it feels built to last – these are purely cosmetic issues.
At £34.99, the Dry Tech Tee is relatively cheap. The Endura GV500 Foyle T is a similarly relaxed, gravel-orientated top and is £59.99, for instance, while the 7mesh Desperado Merino Henley is £70. The Chapeau! is more comfortable to wear than the 7mesh, too.
Overall, the Dry Tech Tee is a good-looking top that performs pretty well from a fabric point of view, but it needs a longer tail to do it justice on the bike. If the pocket was sewn on more neatly it would score a little higher in the style stakes, too.
Performance fabric combined with casual looks, but the cut and finish could be better
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Chapeau Dry Tech Tee
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Chapeau! says: 'A regular fit technical shirt, the Chapeau! Dry Tech Tee is for when you need a more relaxed style.
'Looser than lycra, but not "baggy", the Tech Tee is cut for comfort and speed on all terrains. It's quick to dry, lightweight and super breathable to keep you comfortable when you're on the bars, whilst a subtle chest pocket and logo adds a dash of style.
'Whether you're on gravel, dirt or tarmac the Tech Tee is the perfect pairing of high-performance tech and casual style. Made to be worn with our Gravel Shorts.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Quality fabric, but the stitching leaves a little to be desired.
Effective wicking and cooling despite the relatively thick fabric, but the short back can ride up and feel breezy.
Comes up loose but pretty close – it feels quite nicely tailored.
Just right if you're slim, but close fit and lack of stretch means you may want to size up otherwise.
Fine for the style.
Pleasingly cool (temperature-wise), but the short rear can be draughty.
Cheaper than many casual technical tops, if not quite as effective.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The fabric performs really well and the casual fit is mostly really good, but the only gently dropped tail can be an issue in all but the most upright positions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The close fit, the cooling fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The stitching quality of the pocket, which scrunches the front up, and the tail isn't dropped enough.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £34.99, the Dry Tech Tee is relatively cheap. The Endura GV500 Foyle T is a similarly relaxed, gravel-orientated top and is £59.99, for instance, while the 7mesh Desperado Merino Henley is £70. The Chapeau! is more comfortable than the 7mesh, too.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, but not for cycling...
Would you consider buying the product? No – the tail isn't long enough for my liking, even if the poor quality pocket stitching is a one-off.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
This T-shirt gets a lot right, especially given the price. It's comfortable, breathes well and should last. It really needs a more appropriately dropped tail for use with shorts, though, and because looks are extra important with this kind of top – casual style is why it exists – it's hard not to be disappointed with the line-spoiling scrunch caused by the pocket stitching.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,