The Café du Cycliste Heidi Winter Jacket looks unlike any other piece of cycling kit I've ever seen. There's a hint of Star Trek about it, but nonetheless it looks smart and a bit different.
Cote d'Azur-based Café du Cycliste have gone right back to basics rather than tweaking a standard jersey design, and the result is the Heidi. It's designed to be a performance jacket for winter riding, and despite its casual looks, it's certainly fully featured.
Made from a super technical Italian fabric, it has windproof panels on the torso, shoulders and fronts of the sleeves, while the inside face of the fabric is brushed for comfort and insulation as well as assisting in moisture transfer away from the skin.
Zipped vents in the shoulders aim to give extra ventilation options if things warm up. The front zip is offset for comfort and ease of single-handed use, there's a hem gripper, two pouch pockets at the rear and a generous zipped pocket.
The fit of the Heidi is on the small side, and even taking into account the fact that it's a performance garment and therefore intended to be snug, it's worth considering going up a size if you're borderline on stated sizing. There's excellent length in the arms, but taller women may find it a little short in the body.
The fabric is extremely comfortable, either next to skin or with a thin base layer. This jacket is sufficiently warm that I really only needed a thin baselayer beneath it, if that.
It's worth bearing in mind that the windproof panels in the sleeves make synthetic baselayers a better performing option than merino, from a moisture wicking point of view. Things got a touch clammy with a merino baselayer, but were much improved with synthetic.
It's super warm to wear, and the shoulder vents are a nice touch to give extra flexibility, but it's strictly a cold, dry day garment as it's fundamentally not designed to be worn in the wet. A lightweight shell jacket would pop into the rear pocket nicely though for just those emergencies.
It has fast become a real 'go to' jacket for deep winter wear, but if there was one thing I'd change it would be the colour. Despite the fact that the grey and black combo keeps things smart, stylish and attractive to everyone, it's just not a good colour for dreary, grey, winter roads. Perhaps a higher-vis alternative might be something to consider in the future, or even just brighter coloured accents here and there.
Really well-designed, superbly comfortable winter jacket/jersey but unfortunately road-coloured
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Make and model: Cafe du Cycliste Women's Heidi Winter Jacket
Size tested: na
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?
A performance jacket for winter riding.
Definitely does what it says it should.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
61% polyester/34% polypropylene/5% elastane
Windproof panels in sleeves, shoulders and torso
Zipped shoulder vents
Offset front zip
2 rear pouch pockets
1 rear zipped pocket
Available in sizes XS-XL
Very well made from high quality fabrics and components.
Extremely comfortable and warm. Great for cold weather riding. Just a shame about the colour choice for dark, grey winter roads.
Very well made and will last for years. Polypropylene does tend to get a bit smelly though, in the long run.
Not the lightest, but as a single garment (base layer not strictly required) it's acceptable and warm enough to justify a little extra.
Very comfortable indeed.
It's a lot of money, but it's a really unusual looking jacket as well as being very effective, so it's a sound investment if you want a jacket that's a little bit different but really performs.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed. Spot on for a dry cold day.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Style, comfort, fabrics, shoulder vents.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fact that it was road coloured.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely, or drop hints for it as a present.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A great-looking jacket that really does a good job for cold weather riding. Wish it was a different colour though, for better visibility on winter roads.
Age: 42 Height: 1.65m Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.