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Cafe Du Cycliste Cecile Men’s Thermal Bib Shorts



High-end thermal bib shorts for sunny training or race days, but that price...
Excellent pad
Lovely compression fit
Good leg length
Very expensive
No windproofing or waterproofing

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 Cafe Du Cycliste Cecile Men's Thermal Bib Shorts are incredibly expensive, but in return for your significant investment you get a very good quality garment for the shoulder seasons: warmth, an extremely comfortable pad, a fantastic (if snug) fit, good length and great looks. There's no wind or waterproofing, though, so they're better suited to 'nicer' days.

Not sure how to stay comfy on the bike at this time of year? Read our guide on what to wear for autumn cycling.

> Buy now: Cafe Du Cycliste Cecile Men’s Thermal Bib Shorts for £265 from Cafe Du Cycliste

Cafe Du Cycliste says its Cecile Thermal Bib Shorts are suited to 'high tempo training and racing conditions'. They're designed in the south of France, made in Albania, and thanks to their otherworldly price tag of £265, you get free shipping, so that's something (you can also get 10% off your first order if you sign up).

These bib shorts are ideal for those months of the year when you still want to get your legs out, but you need to keep your parts warm enough. The brushed inner does just that – it's fairly light, but works down to about 10 degrees without issue. There's no windproofing or waterproofing, so these are for dry days only, but I prefer the feel of regular bibs, and I avoid rain like the plague, so this works for me.

Even if you're working hard, there's enough breathability to deal with any excess heat from the body, and I comfortably wore these on warmer October days up to around 15-16°C. A thin mesh is used for a large section of material on the back of the straps, and a smaller one at the top of the front, two areas that tend to get very sweaty when I ride.

2023 Cafe Du Cycliste Cecile Men's Thermal Bib Shorts - back.jpg

Naturally, you can pair these bib shorts with some leg or knee warmers, to extend their usability. Though the elasticated leg grippers (they feature the Cafe logo in small silicone sections around the inside) are tight, I managed to get a fairly thick knee warmer underneath without issue.

2023 Cafe Du Cycliste Cecile Men's Thermal Bib Shorts - cuff gripper.jpg

Given their racing intentions, you might expect a racing fit, and that's definitely what you get. The fit is snug, but not overly so. It's just enough to offer a little compression to keep the blood flowing. I don't have huge quads, though (I tested a large), so bigger folk might want to try the Adèle thermal version which won't cling to your skin quite as much. The leg length is also very generous.

2023 Cafe Du Cycliste Cecile Men's Thermal Bib Shorts - legs back.jpg

Each leg consists of two panels stitched together in only a couple of places to minimise the appearance of lines on the outer fabric. There's plenty of stretch in the outer material, giving you plenty of freedom of movement while riding. Unusually, given its price tag, the Ceciles feature overlock seams rather than flatlock seams. Overlock is usually avoided on bib shorts to minimise chafing, although I didn't notice anything unusual until I reversed the shorts, so for me it wasn't an issue.

The straps are also very comfortable on the shoulders, long enough for me and with plenty of stretch. I often find this an issue with bib shorts, so I was pleased that Cafe Du Cycliste has nailed the fit. Obviously, everyone differs in their body shape, but for me (long legs, shorter torso) it was perfect.

2023 Cafe Du Cycliste Cecile Men's Thermal Bib Shorts - straps front.jpg

As well as being warm enough for the cooler months of the year, the Cecile bib shorts are good for use in low light thanks to a small strip of reflectivity on the back of each leg.

2023 Cafe Du Cycliste Cecile Men's Thermal Bib Shorts - cuff back.jpg

There's nothing reflective on the front, but the large block highlight Cafe Du Cycliste logo certainly catches your attention. Subtle it isn't (but I quite like it).

2023 Cafe Du Cycliste Cecile Men's Thermal Bib Shorts - leg logo.jpg

There's also a logo on the back of the bibs, and along the front of the straps, but given this is hidden by upper layers it doesn't really make any difference to the garment, other than looking quite cool when you're getting changed.

2023 Cafe Du Cycliste Cecile Men's Thermal Bib Shorts - back logo.jpg

Elastic Interface pads are my favourites; I find them minimal enough to be unintrusive, with zero chafing, and also extremely comfortable. Though Cafe Du Cycliste doesn't specific the model of pad used, looking at the Elastic Interface site it appears to be a match for the 'Paris Men'.

2023 Cafe Du Cycliste Cecile Men's Thermal Bib Shorts - chamois.jpg

This is a dual-density pad, with a multidirectional curvature and a smooth surface, which is said to increase saddle stability. The signature perforations at the front are meant to improve breathability too. It's certainly good enough for long distance work. I have very pronounced sit bones, and no natural padding to speak of, and I can happily ride all day long with this pad.


The Cecile bib shorts do a lot of things really well and they feel like a quality garment, though the lack of resistance to wind and water might limit how often you might use them. That makes the £265 price tag even harder to justify, though as I mentioned you can get them for a bit less with the 10% promotion (or perhaps a Black Friday or pre-Christmas deal).

Gore's Transition Bib Shorts, for example, which Steve tested earlier this year, feature a windproof and water-repellent fabric, as well as an Elastic Interface pad, and they cost nearly £100 less.

Cheaper still are the GripGrab AquaRepel Water-Resistant Bib Shorts that Stu was impressed with. They have softshell panels that are waterproof and windproof, with a fleece face on the inside. They have an Elastic Interface pad (Liege HP), too, and cost £124.95.


If you're feeling flush and want some bib shorts for nicer days in autumn and spring, there's probably no better option out there. If you want more versatility, though – and for less money – I'd suggest looking elsewhere.


High-end thermal bib shorts for sunny training or race days, but that price... test report

Make and model: Cafe Du Cycliste Cecile Men's Thermal Bib Shorts

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the product is for

Cafe Du Cycliste says, "Cold-weather bib shorts for high tempo training and racing conditions. Engineered using a newly developed material with a brushed inner with excellent compression and multi-way stretch at the leg panels, Cecile are designed to provide a balance of insulation and breathability while going fast in cool temperatures."

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

Elastic Interface Paris Men pad

Brushed lining

Blend of nylon, polyester and elastane

Reflective accents

Made in Albania

Rate the product for quality of construction:

High-quality garment, though overlock seams rather than flatlock.

Rate the product for performance:

They feel great on the bike.

Rate the product for durability:

Slight bobbling on some areas of the lining, but otherwise they still look fresh after several mucky rides and subsequent washes.

Rate the product for fit:

Good leg length, mild compression and comfortable straps. Might be too tight for some, though.

Rate the product for sizing:

I normally wear a large, and these felt just right to me.

Rate the product for weight:

About right for this kind of bib short.

Rate the product for comfort:

Very comfortable pad for long distances, and an overall high level of comfort.

Rate the product for value:

High-end bib shorts, but very expensive compared with others. At this price you might expect some kind of wind or waterproofing (or magic fairy dust).

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

No issues at 30 degrees.

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

Good fit, decent level of warmth in the shoulder seasons, feel great against the skin with a comfortable pad.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

They immediately feel great to wear.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing bar the price.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

About £100 more than Gore's Transition Bib Shorts and £150 more than GripGrab's AquaRepel Water-Resistant Bib Shorts. Both feature some protection against the elements, making them more versatile, and both feature an Elastic Interface pad.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your overall score

Top-end thermal bib shorts at a top-end price, but you might expect a little more versatility for your money.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'4  Weight: 175lbs

I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build  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: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,

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