Chapeau! might have an exclamation mark in its name, but the Etape jersey metaphorically removes it by virtue of its understated, minimal design. Some might want more interesting looks for their £100, but if you appreciate subtlety then the Etape is a very comfortable race-fit jersey for more serious (and even non-serious) riders.
As a ghostly pale and profusely sweaty reviewer, I'm always on the lookout for dark yet breathable materials in my bike jerseys... and this one ticks both boxes. In temperatures of up to 27°C on a three-hour ride I didn't burn and I was kept pretty cool thanks to the mesh underarm panels and moisture-wicking properties in the fabric.
If you've taken a liking to the Etape jersey then it's worth mentioning that it sizes up a little small – not Castelli small, but I'd advise going up a size if you're in between. Chapeau's size guide says the medium is for a 38-41in chest, but I'd beg to differ being dead on a 38-inch chest usually, and feeling like the Etape fitted me very snugly (it's not me in the pics). Sizes go from small to double XL so most of us are covered.
As well as the three usual rear pockets, there's a fourth zipped one with a waterproof liner which did its job and kept my phone dry. The main three are a little on the small side because they’re tight to the back of the jersey, but otherwise perfectly functional.
At £99.99 the Etape is £30 more than the previous version Ash reviewed last year, and for that you get slimmer pocket seams and a lighter jersey overall, plus smaller details like a housing over the zipper for extra comfort. It's less than premium offerings from the likes of Rapha and Assos, but in my opinion it's more comfortable than dhb's Aeron Speed jersey at £55, as an example of a lower-priced race jersey I've tested recently.
Chapeau! does operate a free crash replacement policy – which could make the £100 price tag a little more palatable...
Overall, the Etape didn't absolutely wow me but I'd happily wear it all year round either on its own or with a jacket on top in cooler climes. The pockets are a decent size and those who appreciate a clean, simple design and a form fit will like it. Apart from some slight snagging to the logo after a few washes, it seems to be pretty durable too.
A nicely understated race-fit jersey that will keep you cool, but it is on the pricey side
road.cc test report
Make and model: Chapeau! Etape 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?
The Etape is a jersey aimed at the competitive rider (hence the name) from this usually casual brand, with numerous cooling properties and a slim fit for hard training rides, sportives and racing.
Chapeau! says: "Offering a race fit, the ultralight, quick drying Etape will be your second skin, wicking away moisture and keeping you cool."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Chapeau! lists these features:
- Lightweight, 'Softtouch' fabric
- Moisture-wicking properties
- Slim fit
- Three large open pockets, one small pocket with a zipper and waterproof lining
You get what you pay for – this jersey looks and feels fine, and the material is really supersoft and comfy.
No chafing or discomfort on long rides, and I didn't overheat in hot weather.
Six washes in and the Chapeau logo is starting to peel a little – cool wash only folks!
It's slim-fitting and comes up a bit short, so not for those who prefer a looser fit.
See above – came up a bit small for a medium so size up if you're in between.
Fits like a second skin, for me it was very comfortable indeed.
It's a big spend on a jersey with the same features as others I've tried at the same price point. Chapeau! does offer free replacement for crash damage, though, which helps...
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
As mentioned, the logo is coming a bit loose after six washes, but the sleeves are still tight and it hasn't shrunk.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a quality performance jersey that's fine for fast training and racing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The understated looks and weightless feel, and it keeps you nice and cool.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's a bit short in the body, so fitting might be awkward for those with a longer torso.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Perhaps
Use this box to explain your score
The Etape possibly has a bit of a narrow market, as it's a race jersey from a more casual brand – but if that appeals then yes, it's a fine jersey. It's on the pricey side, though, and the fit isn't for everyone.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road bike (currently Specialized Tarmac) My best bike is: Ridley Chronus TT bike
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, triathlon races
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He joined road.cc in 2017, having previously worked for 220 Triathlon magazine. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.