Mon dieu! – or words to that effect – is probably what most people will say when their eyeballs spot the rather high price tag. €115 for a short sleeved cycling jersey puts it on the shelf beside other luxury cycling brands such as Rapha, and the price is comparable to their lightweight jersey or any top from Assos.
This lightweight jersey from Cafe du Cycliste certainly looks very French with its horizontal stripes even if it is made in Romania.
Made from 100% polyester into a thin and soft fabric that feels like t-shirt cotton only much thinner. This jersey is made for hot days, the lightweight fabric doesn't offer much thermal insulation at all and the wind literally goes straight though it but this is exactly what you will be yearning for when you are about to cough up a lung pedalling up a mountain in searing heat and no available shade.
To help vent your efforts there are mesh panels under each armpit. These fine perforated panels run up the inner sleeve the circle round the back of the shoulder up to your collar bone. The extended mesh around the back and top of the shoulder works wonders at getting cooling air to where it's needed when you are stooped low in the drops. The polyester dries super quick and is very comfortable against your skin and even when you are sweating it out on a hot session the jersey keeps its shape well. A full length zip on the front allows you to show off more than just your chest but also helps your bib shorts to get some much needed air too.
This top is finished to a high standard which along with neat details like the seams edged with gingham cloth help justify the price tag, no corners were cut in putting this together.
Your standard 3 rear pockets are provided but with some additions of elastic loops to hold a pump inside one pocket and a zippered pouch on the centre pocket, handy to stash your more expensive items. A large strip of elastic helps keep the integrity of the pockets and stops them from sagging excessively when stuffed full.
A silicon rubber gripper on the hem at the back of the jersey helps prevent it from riding up your lower back. No grippers are provided on the sleeves which are very short but this wasn't a bother.
Small reflective seams by each kidney do a really good job of catching car headlights at night and are subtle enough to go unnoticed during the day.
This jersey is expensive but it is a lot more than just a pretty cycling top, it performs well and the quality of finish and the thoughtful details put it up there with the best of them.
Lightweight cycling top that adds style to performance to justify its fairly hefty price tag
road.cc test report
Make and model: Cafe du Cycliste Suzanne Jersey
Size tested: Medium, Blue
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?
"Suzanne is designed for performance riding and features all the details that one can expect when going out for a long summer ride." - I agree with that
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Zipped key pocket
Pump elastic holders
3 back pockets
Reflective logo and elements on back
Embroided Logo on front and sleeve
Hem silicone gripper
If you like posh clothes made well you will not be disappointed
Proved that it was more than just good looks. In fact it
Lightweight is as lightweight does, don't take this mountain biking or attempt to wrestle kittens with sharp claws.
Being lightweight means when the skies bruise this isn't going to keep you very warm
The lightweight polyester is very soft and supple
With durability likely to be an issue purely because it is lightweight you might not get to wear it for ever.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A very cool top to wear, almost like riding bare back
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nice details, quality construction
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It doesn't keep you very warm but then it isn't supposed to.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? On a hot pay day
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
When a garment is finished off well and performs to a high standard, then the price seems a lot easier to deal with.
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 179 Weight: 79
I usually ride: Bike that I am testing at the time My best bike is: Condor Pista fixed. Kinesis Convert 2 geared work horse, Look KG241 skinny whippet
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed, bare back