The Chapeau! Thermal Jersey is the only thermal one the company makes, but it's certainly made it count. With retro styling and a more relaxed fit, this simple design oozes quality.
"Staying warm isn't cheating, it just makes sense." That's Chapeau's reasoning behind this new jersey. I can see its point: being snug inside a nice soft jersey on a crisp winter's day is one of the best things about winter riding.
Chapeau! has designed its jersey to be worn over a baselayer, and says, "You needn't worry about feeling constricted." To test its wicking ability, I took the jersey a little out of its comfort zone and into some cyclo-cross training. The intense efforts caused much perspiration, but the jersey handled it very well, leaving me feeling very comfortable.
Sizing is really good: the stretchy Lycra material is shaped nicely on the chest and shoulders, giving a close but unrestrictive fit. Moving down, the hem is relaxed, with grippers on the rear to prevent any movement. I found that the jersey was very comfortable, with a well-considered fit while riding. The front hem of the jersey is slightly higher than the rear; it's not as extreme as some, so there is a little excess fabric to fold when on the bike, but this meant that when I got to the cafe there were no horrified looks. I have rather long arms for my torso, but I still found my wrists covered.
One of the very nice details on this jersey is the zippered security pocket. It stowed my phone and cake money easily, with room for ID cards and more cake money. Lovely.
The main pockets themselves are roomy with adequate space for bars, gels, two tubes, a pump and even some gloves. Most of that would usually go in my saddle bag, but it's good to know that a long day's extra essentials are accommodated. With less in the pockets, items like my mini-pump felt a little insecure, but for road riding this wasn't an issue.
Getting sunburn in winter isn't my greatest concern, especially in the UK where we're more likely to get frostbite. But in consideration for those in Mallorca and southern Spain, Chapeau! has included UV protection. Sadly, the road.cc testing budget didn't stretch, so I can't confirm it.
Chapeau! has also included discreet reflective detailing. As with all reflective detailing, I'd never rely on it totally, but it's a nice touch. Every little helps and so on.
Durability has been good so far, too. I put this through a few muddy cross training sessions, with the white stripes getting covered. After a good wash and tumble dry, they were back to white.
As for value, a quick look through road.cc's long-sleeve jersey reviews shows you can buy cheaper – dhb's Classic Long Sleeve Thermal Jersey Marl, for example, is nearly half the price – so it's looking a bit pricey. Some might like a little more technical wizardry for their £99, but you do get a very well made jersey with quality fabric, great styling, superb fit and the ability to wear it in a variety of conditions.
So, yes, it's expensive, but the Chapeau! Thermal Jersey is a very adaptable spring, winter and autumn option. It's well made, with retro styling and a superb fit. The only real drawback is that price tag.
Great fabric and a superb fit, but rather pricey
road.cc test report
Make and model: Chapeau! Mens Thermal Jersey
Size tested: Medium
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?
From Chapeau: "Staying warm isn't cheating, it just makes sense. We want you to wear that ride smile all year round, that's why we designed this super warm long sleeve thermal jersey."
It kept me warm and wicked moisture very well.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
We've measured each individual garment (laid flat) in every size to get these sizing tables just right. However, we are all individuals (which isn't a bad thing) so we advise taking a garment you already own and love then measure it in the same way as we have to check what size is just right for you.
It really is very well put together. The stitching is solid and I've had no pulled threads.
Very good at wicking. Could it do with a windproof panel on the chest? I'd choose a gilet to keep the jersey more versatile.
It's gone well out of its comfort zone and come out shining.
For training and just riding your bike, it's excellent.
The relaxed fit will suit most, although very skinny riders might find the hem a little loose.
The shoulders and upper section of the jersey are brilliantly constructed, giving a close fit without being restrictive. The fabric is super soft.
It's not a cheap jersey by any stretch; it's twice the price of the dhb Blok, but still £20 cheaper than Rapha's Classic...
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Caked it in mud and tumble dried. No issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. I found I used it in every condition winter has thrown at us. It wicked well during harder rides and was insulating in the cold.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit is simply excellent on me.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price is a little steep.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? In a sale, yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's an excellent jersey; the only drawback is the price – but if you can afford it, you won't be sorry.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.