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The Yolande long sleeved jersey is part of Café du Cycliste's Sur le Bitume series of clothes, aimed at performance road riding but without the pro team styling.
The Yolande is made from merino TecnoWool which is actually 72% polyester, 24% wool and 4% polyamide (nylon). It looks like it has a much higher wool content and it feels pretty natural too in that it's soft but not at all itchy. (For comparison, the Sportwool that Rapha use in their Long Sleeve Jersey is 52% merino and 48% polyester, while it's 61% polyester, 25% merino wool and 14% elastane in their Winter Jersey). The Yolande is certainly comfortable enough for you to wear next to your skin if you don't want to use a base layer in milder weather.
The fabric provides a good level of warmth considering that it's pretty lightweight. It's not the tightest weave ever but it still stops most of the wind blowing through. It puts in a good wicking performance too and it dries quickly.
One of the key advantages of the synthetic fibres in the mix is that they add durability. The surface isn't going to bobble, for example, in areas that rub. The downside of all that polyester is that I didn't find this jersey as resistant to odours as those with more wool in them. On the other hand, it's better on that score than most purely synthetic jerseys, and it goes through the machine fine at 30°C.
Café du Cycliste reckon the fit is 'not super tight but... close to the body'. I'd say that's about right although sizes vary massively between manufacturers so check out the size guide on their website to be sure.
The Yolande has a few neat features. Of the three pockets in the lower back, the middle one contains a sleeve for your mini pump while the tops of the two on the side are slanted which makes them a bit easier to use. There's a little zipped pocket on the outside of one of them that's useful for your valuables, and another on the chest. That one's no good for carrying anything heavy because it'll hang down when you lean forward, but it's still handy.
There's a cable hole in one of the pockets too, so you can run the earphone lead internally. There's an exit point on the neck also, and a little guide on the outside of the collar which seems like overkill to me. If you want to listen to your iPod while riding (and I'm not here to judge) you could just run the lead out the top of the collar.
The cam-lock front zip comes with a flap behind it which stops the wind from blowing through and the elasticated waist has a silicone gripper inside that does a fine job of holding it in place. There's a fair amount of reflective trim too; there are strips on the sleeves, the back and the neck, and that patch logo is reflective too.
There are a few features I'm not so keen on. First, that flap and button on the collar: they don't actually tighten anything. I'm always adjusting the zip on my jerseys as I ride along to control the temperature and having a button there makes it more awkward. I left it undone.
I'm not really into the elbow patches as a style feature and I'm not so sure about the padding on top of the shoulders... unless you use this for cyclo cross racing. But each to his/her own; that's all just a matter of taste.
I also think it's odd to have sleeve loops – integrated Lycra half gloves – on a jersey like this. Sleeve loops make sense on something that's going to be used only when the weather is truly bad and you want every last bit of warmth you can get. With this jersey, which is going to get used in spring and autumn as well as during the winter, I didn't want to use them most of the time so they just sat there pushed up to my wrists. They don't do any harm, I suppose.
Anyway, those criticisms are mainly questions of style and that's just a matter of opinion. I'm not on the same wavelength as the designers of this jersey in terms of the looks but if you are, this is a warm and comfortable jersey that puts in a good performance.
Warm wool-mix jersey with plenty of useful features and its own distinctive non-racy style
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Make and model: Cafe du Cycliste Yolande Mens Long Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Rust - L
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?
Café du Cycliste say: "Yolande is a technical long sleeve jersey made with merino TecnoWool to ride through spring, autumn and winter. Comfortable, warm and elegant."
I wore it over a short-sleeve base layer in milder temperatures, then over a long-sleeve base layer, then underneath a windproof when the weather got colder.
Although Cafe Du Cycliste reckon this is a jersey for road riders, I reckon those sleeve loops are much more useful on an urban riding jersey. Head out on a road ride and you're going to put some padded gloves on anyway, aren't you? For riding around town, you might not always take gloves, in which case those sleeve loops might come in handy.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The TecnoWool is mostly polyester (72%), with wool (24%) and elastane (4%).
It's very well put together
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed well, even if I did feel it was a little over-designed in parts (the collar and the sleeve loops).
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good fabric, good pocket design, high-features like the zip, silicon gripper and so on.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Those elbow patches don't do it for me, I'm afraid.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Personally, I'm not into the style
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they liked the look of it
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.