So, onto the jerseys then, no introduction needed to Chapeau in this round. But don’t forget about the crash replacement policy and the easy returns.
Chapeau’s range of jerseys runs to three different types but each of them is available in a variety of different colours and designs. There’s the relaxed fit jersey (Cafe), the more fitted club run jersey (Tempo) and the sportier performance jersey (Etape).
The Tempo jersey is pretty much as described, i.e. it has in mind the faster run. It runs between race and loose fit and if you’re on the borderline of sizes you may want to go one size up. My large, described as being for 41-43″ chest is fine on me at 41″ inches but the measurement across the chest is 20.5 inches so you may want a different one if you are 43. It will still be fine but depends what you like in terms of fit. It’s really helpful when manufacturers put that actual chest measurement on their website so Chapeau once again!
The material feel is that soft, meshy, airy fabric that features on very many summer jerseys. It wicks really well and it lightweight. The quality is, once again, excellent. Stitching is uniform and looks like it will be sufficiently durable to last for many years.
The full length zip is made by YKK so that’s going to be a durable affair too. You can see that a little flap of fabric borders the zip each side so making it pretty much disappear and maintaining the nice design stripes that Chapeau have added to the chest. The collar is the perfect height for most summer days and corresponds well with the measured size (I’m a 16″ neck).
The sleeves do away with any fancy rubber grippers but are sufficiently elastic to ensure a nice comfortable fit. They’re a good length for a summer jersey as well with none of this almost at the elbow business going on. The design is clean, subtle and understated. I really like the Chapeau design ethos. Indeed, I was struggling to find any one of their jerseys where I didn’t care for the design. Each of them is classy. This particular (stripe) design is also available in blue or white while a second tempo (logo) jersey design also comes in three colours. Click here to view the range
Waist duties are taken care of by rubber dots at the back. The front is free of them but still sits where it should, this being yet another jersey that absolutely fits and doesn’t do any unsightly bulging. The construction of the strap is quite interesting. Externally the main (rouched) material is present. Internally an elasticated strap is bonded to the inside of the main jersey. It’s a different approach to those jerseys where the elasticated strap is left outside for all to see. The classical look of the jersey is maintained and the new fangled tech is concealed.
Round the back it’s once again business as usual. The usual three pockets are present. They are a decent size and very well stitched. The front design doesn’t carry on around the back but is replicated across the back of the pocket. It’s carried over on the neck though. Again, classy.
Chapeau have added the good old reflective roundel for that added bit of safety.
It’s fair to say that this is a competitive segment. There are no shortage of circa £50 summer jerseys, though, interestingly prices of jerseys do seem to be somewhat on the rise recently and even the budget offerings are coming in at much the same price as this one.
But that’s kind of beside the point. What you want depends very much on what you want to be seen in and how that makes you feel. It’s Chapeau’s designs in particular that I feel make them stand out in a crowded market place. This jersey feels great, wicks well, looks fantastic and offers great value. Chapeau are quite specific about this and say “- A fair price for a quality product. Chapeau! is never going to be the lowest price, but we strive to make sure it always provides the best value. As we all should know, price and value are two very different things!”
And, in my view, they are quite right. This is a good value product. It works, it does what it says on the tin (actually a really nice little re-usable bag) and looks great. It’s unquestionably a very good jersey indeed. Factor in that crash replacement and great customer support and it’s even better.
This one’s a bit different. This one gives me a problem, and I’ll tell you what that is later. It’s a nice problem to have.
The name of this jersey reflects the reality of its intended purpose. It really is the one designed for popping to the coffee shop on the Coast on a warm summer Sunday morning (other topographical features are available). It’s made from bamboo, polyester and elastane. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a bamboo item of clothing before. Indeed I’m not sure I was even aware that clothing was made from it. It’s a jersey like material and in stark contrast to the more synthetic (no criticism) of the Tempo jersey. I had a bit of a google about it. Apparently bamboo is to cotton as cashmere is to wool and is super luxurious and soft. It’s also much more environmentally friendly than a lot of other materials and will biodegrade (eventually and if you want it to!).
Sizing is a little more relaxed and, in my case, I was able to go down to the medium in this jersey and still get a good fit. It’s a nice clingy fabric that relaxes in all the right places. This one’s all about the relaxed, casual style of riding that perhaps many of us need to rediscover. Chuck out the Garmin, ignore the Strava, put some old school shoes on, dream of bundt cake and, well, we’ll get to the other thing later.
A friend remarked that it was a little “Where’s Wally.” I see his point but I thought it more Breton-ish when I saw it. Partnered with the Club Bibshorts the look is a classic one and if this doesn’t meet your taste there are other colours. This is not about racing, though it won’t hold you back. This is about enjoying riding and enjoying life. The feel when on is just so different to what we normally dress ourselves in. It’s super comfortable, soft on the skin and just a lovely thing to wear. Despite its relaxed nature it’s still pretty form fitting and if you really want to do sprints on the way to the coffee house it’s not going to hold you back. It’ll wick well, it’ll keep you cool and should do quite a good job of regulating warmth if the temps take a bit of a tumble. It’s actually pretty versatile.
The zip in this case is a short affair but perfectly suited for the use the jersey will be put to. Once again it’s YKK and very durable. Some may bemoan the lack of a full length zip here but I really don’t think it’s needed. It would detract from the overall design ethos I feel.
Both the sleeves and collar are ribbed and extremely comfortable. Though they lack any fancy hi tech approach there’s no issue with getting a good grip round your arm.
And round the back we have the addition, on this jersey of a fourth, zipped, waterproof valuables pocket.
There are 4 versions of this jersey available. 2 are striped (white and blue) and the other 2 are block with a double chest stripe (white and blue). So if you’re not keen on this one then the rest might take your fancy. I’d be quite happy owning all 4 and ensuring that I visit the cafe on successive days with a change of jersey, that’s how nice these are.
So, what’s my problem with it? Well, here’s the thing. You’ve seen my Kask Protone (Black and Green). You’ve seen my “best bike” (Green Supersix). I have a pair of Oakley Jawbreakers. A trip to the Cafe in this jersey (and the Chapeau club shorts naturally) with that combination would be a little incongruous. I’m going to have to think of a change. Perhaps a pair of classic Oakley frogskins. Lose the helmet (or get a white one), add a nice Chapeau(!) and then, what bike? Hmm. I could get away with the Supersix but something like the Tommasini X-Fire would be the natural choice. But hey, that’s my OCD, I’m notorious for matching shoes to jerseys, helmets and bikes. It’s not really a problem. Not when you’re sitting in the sun garden, helmet off, sipping coffee.
I talked in my previous review about how I thought that the club bibshort was ideally placed for this sort of riding (though it could do so much more). A combination of the club shorts and the cafe jersey really is the nice, classic, discovering your surroundings type of bike wear that just works. I think all of us, myself more than most, are perhaps a little too guilty of forgetting about that type of riding.
So, a big thumbs up from me. And, such is the quality of the brand that I invested in some polo shirts and socks. And, by the time you read this, possibly a thermal top and some tights. I have some gloves to talk about as well. So there’s a Part 3 coming. And possibly a part 4. I’m really glad to have made Chapeau’s acquaintance. Now, how do you like your flat white?