The Chapeau Classic bib shorts are well made and look good but a couple of drawbacks mean they're better for commuting than Sunday best.
Chapeau have two pairs of bib shorts in their range and the Classic’s are the entry level in regulation black and priced at £59.99.
They’ve only been in the clothing game a couple of months but Chapeau aimed their clothing line at a particular, less race-orientated niche and the Classics reflect that. Not everybody that rides a bike is a racer or wants to emulate the pros and Chapeau’s design brief picks up on that. The Classics are only intended to be worn for short to medium length rides, as they put it ‘perfect for the daily commute or a quick spin in the evening.’ Thanks to the simple design and plain colour scheme they look just as good paired with a t-shirt as a full on Lycra jersey.
The main reason behind the ride length suggestion is that the TMF pad is a touch on the thin side. It has the usual multi-density, 3D design found on a lot of shorts liners, with padding to reduce friction and channels to remove pressure, but it’s just not quite as voluptuous as some.
I managed up to about 90 minutes before the pad stopped offering the kind of protection from the saddle it had at the start of the ride. For those 90 minutes though, the comfort offered is pretty good whether you’re cruising along or crouched down over the nose of the saddle.
The cut of the shorts is spot on as well. Plenty of panels means the shape is formed to fit when you’re in the saddle and moves well with you as you change position or pedal. Leg grippers do a good job keeping the shorts in place once the first two pedal strokes have got things settled while the front is cut low aiding toilet stops. I personally prefer a bit more material at the front up to say mid stomach providing a bit more comfort and support.
The bibs have mesh at the rear to keep you cool, while the straps are a decent width to avoid pressure points as they pass over the straps. There isn’t much give in them, so if you are long in the torso you’ll notice the straps pressing against the skin a bit.
Material wise the Classics are built to last thanks to the lycra having a reasonably heavy knit, heavier than say the Castelli and RH+ shorts we’ve been testing of late. They should take a good few scuffs and knocks without issue.
There are some neat little touches like the reflective Chapeau logo and the size tag is stitched to the outside of the bib section removing any chance of irritation.
Sizes range from XS through to XXL but only come in the men’s range whereas the more expensive Pave shorts have a ladies version too.
On the whole the Classics are a good all rounder with regards to comfort, fit and looks without really excelling at any of them. Where they do score well though is the overall quality which is of a standard normally seen on more expensive shorts.
The sixty quid asking price is fair enough when you take the quality into consideration as they will easily stand up to the abuse of daily riding for commuting twice a day. The bigger brands can compete on price easily but if you want something a little more niche the Classics are worth the investment.
Reasonable performers backed up by top quality construction.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Chapeau Classic Bib shorts
Size tested: Medium, Black
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 Classic is designed for short to medium rides, as Chapeau say "a commute or evening spin". the pad in these definitely isn't for the big gear muncher but for the designed purpose that pretty good.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
TMF multi density 3D pad with anti bacterial properties
Unique Chapeau! cut for great fit and comfort
Chapeau! soft silicone leg gripper
Reflective Chapeau! badge and leg details
Designed and tested in the UK by real cyclists
Manufactured in Portugal
Material: 59% Polyamide / 24% Polyester / 17% Elastane
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As short distance bibs they performed reasonably well. There is nothing to really shout about though.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They look good and are very well built.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The package doesn't quite come together.
Did you enjoy using the product? They were okay.
Would you consider buying the product? Not really.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I'd suggest them as an option.
About the tester
Age: 34 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Ribble Winter Trainer for commuting, Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Sarto Rovigo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.