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Café du Cycliste offers retro clothing in high-end fabrics

A new French cyclewear brand has just been launched offering retro-style clothing in high-end fabrics. Café du Cycliste, based on the Côte d'Azur, is certainly emphasizing style and quality and deliberately avoiding the current pro racing look. Think Rapha and Shutt VR but with more of a French feel.

The range is essentially broken down into the Sur le Bitume performance series and the Sur le Zinc urban series.

The Michelle jersey (below) from the Sur le Bitume series, for example, is made from a lightweight merino wool/polyester fabric (55%/45%) and comes with several neat-looking details. The front zip is full length, you get plenty of pockets including ones for an iPod and pump, and the logos are embroidered. It’ll set you back £103.

The Simone jersey (below) from the Sur le Zinc series is merino/polyester (43%/57%) too but it doesn’t look especially bikey. You get pockets in the lower back although the overall appearance is more like a polo shirt. Being largely merino, it shouldn’t start to whiff if you wear it riding into town and keep it on all day. That one costs £95. You’ll pay £13 shipping too, although that’s free on orders over £176.

Rémi Clermont, one of the Café du Cycliste founders, said, “Our spirit and products stand out from what exists on the French market, and our products are available worldwide via our online shop.”

Café du Cycliste is an actual café based in Châteauneuf-Grasse, a few miles from Cannes and Antibes.

For all the details and to make orders, go to www.cafeducycliste.com.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, 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 youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

17 comments

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Lara Dunn [50 posts] 4 years ago
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Nice looking kit. I'm thinking that it's highly unlikely that there will be a women's range though sadly. When was the last time you saw a chic French woman wearing technical cycling gear? Shame.

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Mat Brett [599 posts] 4 years ago
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Good point. The range isn't large and there are no women's options, but I'll ask whether they have any plans.

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pjay [246 posts] 4 years ago
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Hmmm, not too impressed by the designs. Those vertical pocket zips just look plain wrong on a retro style jersey. Urban and Performance series, just a plain Rapha rip-off.

When is someone going to have some original ideas?

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1961BikiE [146 posts] 4 years ago
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Oh pjay, how I laughed.

Have you never heard the phrase "there is nothing new under the sun"?

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pjay [246 posts] 4 years ago
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Yes, there's nothing new under the sun, but it gets pretty boring when everyone uses the same influences in the same way, jumping on the same bandwagon.

I was listening to Rapha's designer discussing jersey designs on The Bike Show the other day. When asked which jerseys he'd seen lately that he liked, he said he thought that Vicious Vélo's were brilliant. I couldn't agree more.

Maybe not sustainable across a whole range of clothing, but at least they're doing something different.

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Mat Brett [599 posts] 4 years ago
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I contacted Rémi at Café du Cycliste and he said, "We would love to offer a woman's range of products but we unfortunately cannot do so for the moment. We might be able to start offering woman specific products for next summer."

Pjay, it's a retro-style brand. It's supposed to look like it's influenced by what people have done before. That's what retro is.

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jijiandnoah [50 posts] 4 years ago
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I think they look quite nice, although the embroidered logo is a little on the cheesy side...

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Simon_MacMichael [2442 posts] 4 years ago
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I like the kit and have put one or two pieces on my wishlist, but I'm still trying to work out why as a brand based in the South of France they felt the need to do the photoshoots in London. Even if it was the urban look they were aiming for, there's no shortage of graffiti in Marseille...

ps That ties in with the branding aspect too - part of their USP is that they're French, and they reinforce the fact that they're based on Riviera on the website, do group rides down there etc. So why use same backdrop as so many UK brands? Doesn't reinforce what makes it different to a UK audience, certainly. Just my two centimes' worth.

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jijiandnoah [50 posts] 4 years ago
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Agree about the weird choice of backdrops. I would have assumed that part of the attraction of the brand would be the whole romantic thing of the Riviera, little French cafes etc. Seems odd to use images of London instead

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Celeste08 [38 posts] 4 years ago
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Companies often start with a basic range to test the demand for their product & so limit unnecessary expenditure. Particularly with the economy as it currently is. With all eyes on London, due to the Olympics next year, it's understandable that businesses perceive a link with London as a good idea.

As Leonie Jennings pointed out, there is a gap in the market for a technical ladies range. Perhaps we'll see Victoria Pendleton or Devina Mccall, who are already encouraging more woman to cycle, to cover that side of the market in the near future with a brand of their own...

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Simon_MacMichael [2442 posts] 4 years ago
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Celeste08 wrote:

With all eyes on London, due to the Olympics next year, it's understandable that businesses perceive a link with London as a good idea.

Fair enough, but it's not an overt link - it's only because I lived in London most of my life that I recognised some of the locations. I think shooting the kit in the South of France might have reinforced that part of the USP.

Hell, show a nice French cafe and even the missus might forgive me for splashing out on a jersey, she loves anything with a French link (you should see our kitchen)  4

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fennesz [127 posts] 4 years ago
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Can't see many French buying the kit, tbh. On Sunday randos, they all wear their club kit. Tues/Thurs training rides is non-club kit, but they don their garish stuff. Clearly, I ride in Rapha, wear a top hat with a copy of The Times tucked under one arm.

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ravenbait [20 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm also getting a mite fed up with the lack of female-specific cycling kit.

It doesn't surprise me that these guys haven't got any stuff for women, though. It's retro. Retro means girls in huge skirts perched upon Pashley Princesses laughing gaily with flowers on their straw bonnets and worrying about flashing too much ankle, I expect  14 .

The prices seem a bit steep anyway.

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BikerBob [116 posts] 4 years ago
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pjay wrote:

Hmmm, not too impressed by the designs. Those vertical pocket zips just look plain wrong on a retro style jersey. Urban and Performance series, just a plain Rapha rip-off.

When is someone going to have some original ideas?

When will people stop harping-on about manufacturers ripping-off Rapha  7 !

Rapha have done nothing more than reproduce classic cycling jerseys.......I admit maybe with a slight twist but if other people want to take a similar approach (at slightly more reasonable prices) good luck to them  4

Regards Bob

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crazy-legs [702 posts] 4 years ago
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Quote:

When will people stop harping-on about manufacturers ripping-off Rapha !

Rapha have done nothing more than reproduce classic cycling jerseys.......I admit maybe with a slight twist but if other people want to take a similar approach (at slightly more reasonable prices) good luck to them

That's not the way Rapha see it though and quite rightly. If you've spent time and money getting your unique brand set up, the last thing you want is someone coming along and blatently ripping it off as Shutt VR did (even down to the exact same design of website). All companies are fiercly protective of their imagery, ideas and copyright. Imagine if you set up a chain of coffee shops with a circular green logo, you think Starbucks will lie back and take it or do you think they'll take you to court...?

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BikerBob [116 posts] 4 years ago
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Quote:

That's not the way Rapha see it though....

Well they wouldn't would they  4 !

The trouble is they haven't actually created anything unique or patentable so why be surprised when similar products appear in the market place. What they've been very good at is creating a Brand and then persuading people to part with lots of money to buy it. Nothing wrong with that...that's how companies make a living...and a profit!

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 4 years ago
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Brilliant it may be but doubt we'll be seing Rapha taking a leaf out of Vicious Velo's book on jersey design any time soon + it's got to be said that their jerseys are retro inspired too - it being 34 years since punk and 32 years since Sid Viscious died. Scarily in 1977 that would have been the equivalent of wearing jerseys inspired by Glen Miller. Nothing wrong with being inspired by either of course - just sayin' that's all.

As for the Cafe du Cycliste kit? If you like it and you have the money buy it, if not don't.