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Verdict: 
Warm and stretchy winter shorts with added water repellency, but they don't do enough to justify the high price
Weight: 
214g
Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts
7 10

Café du Cycliste's Adèle thermal bib shorts are warm and comfortable with an excellent Elastic Interface seatpad, but they're very expensive.

  • Pros: Warm, high-quality seatpad
  • Cons: High price

These shorts are made from a thermal fleece fabric (49% polyamide, 35% polyester, 16% elastomer) that provides plenty of warmth in cold conditions. Worn with leg warmers, these will do the job right down to the point where you need to switch to something with windproof panels (that's about 4 or 5°C, although you might be entirely different). The material is breathable and stretchy but you don't get as many panels as with some options out there. On the plus side, that means there are few seams to affect comfort, but it also means the shaping and fit aren't exceptional.

> Buy these online here

The fabric has a DWR (durable water repellent) treatment that, for reasons best known to itself, Café du Cycliste doesn't advertise. I'm just back from a ride where the roads were wet and 'orrible and there was some mist in the air, but it wasn't actually raining. The water sprayed up from the road didn't soak through, it just beaded up and rolled off. Proper rain will get in, but you get a useful amount of water repellency here.

Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts - riding.jpg

Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts - riding.jpg

The legs are cut long, reaching down to just above my knees, so those hard working muscles are completely covered. The elasticated grippers are fairly narrow, the idea being not to compromise the shorts' thermal qualities, with a grippy silicone band inside to help them stick, and they work very well either on your skin or leg warmers.

Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts - gripper.jpg

Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts - gripper.jpg

The CyTech Elastic Interface seatpad puts in a great performance. Both the depth and density vary between different sections to give you effective cushioning without too much bulk, along with lots of flexibility and breathability. It kept me perfectly comfortable throughout even very long rides.

Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts - pad.jpg

Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts - pad.jpg

The lightweight mesh bib section is highly breathable too, and the straps hold everything in place without you ever really noticing them, which is exactly what you want.

Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts - straps back.jpg

Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts - straps back.jpg

Reflective tabs on the side of each leg flash brightly in car headlights while the Café du Cycliste branding is far less obvious, limited to just one logo printed on the front of the right leg.

Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts - cuff.jpg

Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts - cuff.jpg

As well as this cobalt blue version, the Adele shorts are available in khaki and dark aubergine.

> Buyer's Guide: The best waterproof cycling clothing

Although these shorts have a lot going for them, I can't get on board with the price. Santini's Eureka thermal bib shorts have an RRP of £119.99, Castelli's Omloop thermal bib shorts are £120 and Lusso's 2-Zero thermal bib shorts are £69.99. Granted, Rapha's Classic thermal bib shorts are nearly as pricey at £170.

Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts - side.jpg

Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts - side.jpg

The Adèle shorts put in a good, solid performance and they feature a high-quality seatpad, but they don't do enough to convince me to pay £175.

Verdict

Warm and stretchy winter shorts with added water repellency, but they don't do enough to justify the high price

road.cc test report

Make and model: Cafe du Cycliste Adele Cobalt Blue Thermal Bib Shorts

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Café du Cycliste says, "Designed for colder weather riding, Adèle provide exceptional performance when the temperature drops. The shorts are cut slightly longer for more protection while the reduced width gripper also allows the fleece lining to extend further down the leg. The top of the range chamois uses a blend of foam densities to ensure maximum comfort across a wide range of rides.

"The panel constructed shorts section strikes the optimum balance between stretch and support while the mesh bib section allows for additional ventilation to aid core temperature control during periods of increased effort. Adèle are styled in block colours and also feature reflective elements for added visibility in poor or murky light.

"When paired with our Lola warmers, Adèle will provide complete protection against the elements."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Café du Cycliste lists these technical features:

49% nylon | 35% polyester | 16% elastomer

Thermal Fleece Lining

Top of the Range CyTech Pad

Excellent Moisture Transportation

Premium Mesh Bib Section

Panel Construction

Four Way Stretch

Reflective Elements

Made in Europe

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
7/10

The fit is good but I've used multi-panelled shorts that are less reliant on the stretch of the fabric to provide their shape.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10

The legs are cut long to provide plenty of coverage.

Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10

The fabric is warm and the seatpad is excellent.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

To my mind, these shorts are good but they don't do enough to justify the price tag.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

They wash in the machine at 30°C and you're not supposed to tumble dry them. They're still looking good a few washes in.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The Adèle shorts provide plenty of warmth and comfort.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Good level of warmth, good breathability, great seatpad.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price is too high, in my opinion.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No, too expensive.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? As above

Use this box to explain your overall score

These are good shorts, scoring mostly 7s, but the price is too high, in my opinion. The low value score doesn't quite knock the overall score down to a 6.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight 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 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.

5 comments

Avatar
bendertherobot [1484 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Interesting colourways on the range this year. I like their stuff generally, but I think they'll be left with some stuff in the sales later in the year.

Avatar
kevvjj [308 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

a fool and his money are easily parted - ridiculous price for shorts with so few panels,and that give you sausage legs

Avatar
Joe Totale [7 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

Cafe Du Cycliste seem to exclusively make items for riders who consider Rapha too cheap and common. 

 

Avatar
henryb [15 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

It looks like the reveiwer is riding a new 2018 Specialized Allez Elite - I'd be interested in hearing about the fork replacement on this bike (the original fork was subject to a recall)

Avatar
WashoutWheeler [84 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes
Joe Totale wrote:

Cafe Du Cycliste seem to exclusively make items for riders who consider Rapha too cheap and common. 

 

They recently opened a store close to where I work in the city.  I have had a look at the products they sell and cant see the connection between their and Rapha customers. Rapha customers seem to be roadies, the range these guys are currently selling, appears to be aimed at people who see a bike as a high fashion acessesory (with prices to match!) rather than something to get out and use. Not seen many people actualy spending any money in there either, pretty female staff though!