The Chapeau Cafe Cycling jersey hits the mark, not just as a cycling top but something that could easily be worn off the bike.
Yes it does have those classic attributes you'd expect from a cycling jersey: rear pockets; a silicone hem gripper and the like, but it offers more. Chapeau have somehow captured more by combining those bike features with the look of a more relaxed off-bike piece of clothing.
The material used helps as the Cafe Jersey doesn't have that lycra look or feel. That would be the mix of 90 percent polyester and 10 percent cotton. The fit is relaxed giving it a leisurely feel. This is a top that can be worn on the bike but you won't find many turning up in this at sportives or racing I'd wager. That would be missing the essence of the Cafe Jersey.
As I mentioned earlier, you still get the three rear pockets, no change there. On the outside of the rear right pocket there is an additional zipped, water-resistant security pocket. On the inside of this sealed area is a small eyelet whould you wish to run your headphones cable up to the shoulder area. Just below the collar there is another eyelet to feed the headphone cable out, all the time keeping the cable out of harm's way. No excuse for tangled wires here.
The collar is made from soft cotton, as are the sleeve trims and at the front you have a short zipped opening. Other nice little touches include the brand logo on the rear pocket which happens to be reflective. The silicone gripper is only on the rear of the jersey, primarily to support the pockets.
Pop the Cafe Jersey on and you are immediately struck by the feel of it, more like a polo shirt than a cycling jersey. The relaxed fit adds to that impression. On short trips on the bike this is an obvious choice as the mix of materials feels good but wears well so you don't overheat or feel sweaty. When you stop for that all important coffee you fit right in as those you've come from day out in town not on two wheels.
The Chapeau Cafe Jersey is a great choice for those coffee stop rides rather than your sportives. It has the classic appearance of a cycling jersey with a hint of something more leisurely.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Chapeau Cafe Jersey
Size tested: Medium, Blue/White
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?
Aimed at the more leisurely riders or those who want an easy spin. It's relaxed cut makes for comfy fit that's as equally at home on or off the bike.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The 90 percent polyester and 10 percent cotton make a breathable jersey. It holds its shape and has some neat additions included that you don't get on cycling specific jerseys.
The stitching is seamless but effective and the choice of material make for a well-made jersey.
The material is breathable which allows you to get up a head of steam without over cooking. You have a small zip that allows a little more air to circulate should you need it. The soft collar and sleeve trim show the thought which has gone into it.
The material has enough give in it to provide some elastic qualities so even if you fill your pockets are indulge in too much post ride cake there is no problem with shape.
The jersey isn't as light as some lycra specific jerseys but it is far from a serious weight penalty. If you imagine a polo shirt or something similar then you would feel no difference.
The combination of materials used and the addition of the soft cotton collar and sleeve trims make for a very comfortable fit. That applies to on the bike as well as off it.
This is a slightly tricky one as on one hand you are paying for a cycling jersey but also getting a leisure top. At £49.99 you are getting twice the value, so would have to say this is money well spent.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Cafe Jersey hits the mark with its mix of technical features and the thought that has gone into its design make it a great choice.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit, the relaxed shape make this an ideal top for taking it easy.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I suppose with more relaxed riding in mind perhaps three rear pockets is a tad excessive but this is a minor gripe.
Did you enjoy using the product? Great fit and happy to use it.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes I would.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Certainly.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Top notch and relaxed fitting jersey.
About the tester
Age: 44 Height: 178cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Currently riding a Pinnacle Evaporite Three My best bike is: As above
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, mtb, Not yet but looking to dip my toe in the world of TT