This white-with-grey-stripes Cotton Cap from Chapeau! is the most restrained design in a wide range available for people who like to ring the changes. It's warm, but slow to dry, and has a fairly soft peak which helps prevent it pushing your helmet out of position if you wear it underneath.
Cycling caps seem to come in either cotton/polyester mix or 100% cotton, and this falls into the latter group. The fabric quality is good and it is quite thick, which makes it warm on a cold day but too hot for summer. Also, it hangs on for a long time to sweat or rain. (Chapeau! makes a polyester 'Lightweight Cap', for £16.99, which might be a better choice on hot days.) The construction is in four panels, like a baseball cap, and the stripe is sewn on, not printed.
I liked the peak, which is softer than some – not to the point of floppiness, but enough to make it possible to roll it upward in an 'analogue' manner, rather than the 'either up or down' way of most. This made it easy to turn up the peak without tilting my bike helmet too far back.
The cap comes in no fewer than 26 designs, of which this, with its discreet bowler hat logo and grey stripe in three shades, is the most restrained. This design is also available in red, black and dark blue.
It's one size only. My head is an 58cm, which seems to be medium-to-large judging by most helmet sizing, but I found it quite tight so if you measure bigger than this try before you buy.
Looking through my collection of cycling caps, I can't actually remember ever buying any of them. Most have been given, found, picked up for free at some sportive or race event or appeared mysteriously in the drawer from some fifth dimension. True to form, the Chapeau! Cotton Cap has been given to me by road.cc and therefore passes that particular test. If, unlike me, you have to pay for it, well – £20 seems to be about the rate for a Chinese-made cotton cap featuring a prestige brand logo (though you can buy cotton caps from prendas for £7.95...). It's well made, so should last a long time.
Warm and well made, with a versatile peak, but hangs on to sweat a bit too long and sizing is a bit small
road.cc test report
Make and model: Chapeau! Cotton Cap
Size tested: One/Size
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?
Chapeau says: "The cap is an icon of the cycling world, worn well it elevates the wearer's panache levels exponentially whilst protecting against the sun's harsh glare and clouds' damp drizzle."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
100% cotton, made in China.
It's all-cotton which makes it warm, but it holds sweat and rain for a long time. I like the not-too-stiff peak which makes it possible to tip it up without pushing your helmet back too far.
Well made from quality fabric so should last well.
The fit is quite close, as indicated by the sizing below.
One size only. I have a 58cm head and found it tight, so big heads may find this too small.
Okay, but this will depend on your head size. At 58cm it left a bit of a ring mark on my head.
About typical for a Chinese-made, all-cotton cap with a prestige brand logo on it. You can buy cheaper, lots cheaper.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The white shows the dirt, especially if you grip the peak with grubby hands, but it came up well in the wash and in hand-washing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Much as you would expect from an all-cotton cap: warm, but slow to dry.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nice style, and the slightly soft peak made it easy to adjust to fit under a helmet. There's a wide range of designs too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Slightly tight fit given it only comes in one size.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? A bit expensive for me.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes. It would make a nice present.
Use this box to explain your score
There's not a lot to distinguish most cycling caps apart from the designs and whether they are all-cotton or a cotton/polyester mix. The not-too-stiff peak gave this a small advantage in that it makes it easy to turn up the peak without upsetting your helmet position. There's a wide selection of designs, of which this is the most subdued.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking