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The Chapeau Mesh Base Layer Sleeveless is lightweight, feels soft against the skin and works really well when the temperature is warm thanks to really good wicking capabilities. It comes in a range of colours too, to match your kit.
I have quite a few Chapeau baselayers in my collection, one of them a short-sleeved design that I've had since 2018. Its durability is excellent; it still looks like new, has retained its shape and the white is still white – many can turn yellow under the arms and around the neck over the years.
As this is made from the same mesh material, with solid, stretchy panels down the side, I don't see this blue one being any different.
The fit is really good – close, thanks to those stretchy side panels, but without feeling restrictive. You obviously need the fabric to touch your body for the wicking purposes.
The lightweight mesh material is very thin with quite a wide knit pattern which allows the breeze to blow through and keep you cool.
On all but the hottest days it does a good job of keeping you dry, and should it get overwhelmed it'll soon dry again quickly once your pace has dropped a touch.
On top of the shoulders is more of the solid knit fabric found on the side panels, which gives a bit of protection from the straps of your bib shorts – both for your skin, and the longevity of the baselayer itself.
The Chapeau Sleeveless is available in five colours, all with corresponding decals and logos on the chest.
The majority of mesh baselayers are either black or white so it's good to see a bit of variety here. They are colours that match Chapeau's other kit so you can look coordinated when you're gruelling your way up a steep climb with your jersey unzipped.
Its £29.99 rrp is the same as the Lusso Pain Cave Eco Summer baselayer, although that is made from recycled material which might add appeal.
One that does look a bargain is the sleeveless version of the Galibier Echelon short sleeve baselayer we tested earlier in the year; that costs just £19.
Overall, the Chapeau is a smart looking baselayer that works very well, and if it can maintain the durability of Chapeau layers of old then it'll be a worthwhile investment.
Smart looking baselayer made from quality materials with impressive wicking properties
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Chapeau Mesh Base Layer Sleeveless
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Chapeau says, "What's cooler than an unzipped jersey, flapping gloriously in the summer sun?
We created our base layers to colour coordinate perfectly with our jerseys. Whether you're at home on the turbo or out in summer sun with your jersey flowing, they'll guarantee you maximum style points and comfort."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Product details from Chapeau:
"The Chapeau! Mesh Base Layer is soft on your skin, snug fit and stylish. It will whisk moisture away when you're working hard all whilst staying fresh and keeping your temperature just right.
It's designed to be a 'can't live without it' favourite that's as home on the turbo in the shed of dread as it is on your summer holidays, racing to the final cafe stop of the day.
Available with or without sleeves, the Italian kite mesh fabric wicks moisture away from your skin, feels soft and comfy and looks as good in Watopia as it does peaking through your jersey on your local club run."
Follow Chapeau's size guide and you will be fine.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Chapeau recommends a cool machine wash, and doing that I have had no issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A comfortable fit, and plenty of breathability.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
A good close fit without being restrictive.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
I'd say the Chapeau kind of sits towards the upper price range for a mesh baselayer, but it's certainly not on its own. There are some bargains out there though, like Van Rysel's for around 15 quid and the £19 Galibier mentioned in the review.
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 overall score
While you can get mesh baselayers like this for around half the cost, I'd say the Chapeau is worth the investment because of how good the durability is, and it just works really well.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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 road.cc 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!