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Cafe du Cycliste Francine Jersey



A magnifique summer jersey that looks good and performs well, let down slightly by the rear mesh pockets

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Lightweight short-sleeved jerseys are the mainstay of summer cycling, but surely they are much of a muchness as far as performance goes? With the Francine jersey, Cote d'Azur cycling specialists Café du Cycliste have taken the concept of the summer jersey and, as well as loading it with technical details, they've injected it with a bit of French je ne sais quoi into the bargain. C'est merveilleux!

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It's hard not to admire the attention to detail that Café du Cycliste put into designing their cycling garments. Right from the word go, they've been hitting a sweet spot with their Gallic flair. The Francine is no exception. Presented in the stripes that Café du Cycliste have become known for, the Francine is available in both white or red and pink.

Beyond the colours and stripes, the jersey also uses some rather striking fabrics as both a design and functional element. The trio of rear pockets are made from a bold stretch mesh fabric, with the central one also providing a water resistant lined zipped pocket and a cable port to facilitate use of a race radio/iPod.

The mesh fabric element continues up the centre of the back and under the arms, to give optimal ventilation at the body's hot spots. As a design element it's also picked up at the sleeves and collar.

Other features include hem gripper tape, reflective tabs at the rear and an anti-chafe full-length front zip. The main body fabric itself is a mid-weight super-soft and stretchy Italian polyester.

Check out our buyer's guide to summer jerseys, from £4.99, here

The cut of the Francine is described as 'race fit', but although it was sleek and snug with no bagginess to flap in the wind, it wasn't over tight and was true to size. The length of the body might not please taller women, but for my average height frame it was spot on.

Performance was excellent, with the incredibly soft and pleasant to wear fabric wicking moisture away quickly and effectively and drying out fast. The mesh panels definitely helped with ventilation on really hot days and overall comfort levels were good.

The rear mesh pockets were slightly on the small side, a common problem on women's jerseys, I find, and though the two outside pockets did stretch enough to accommodate a gilet or similar, they started to show signs of a more permanent overstretched bagginess quite quickly. The rear zipped pocket happily took an iPhone 5S but struggled with larger smartphones.

It's a gorgeous looking jersey that really delivers on its performance promises, but could just do with having the rear pockets tweaked a little to be more useful.


A magnifique summer jersey that looks good and performs well, let down slightly by the rear mesh pockets test report

Make and model: Cafe du Cycliste Francine Jersey

Size tested: Womans, Medium, 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 riders demanding high performance for road cycling in spring and summer.

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

100% Italian Polyester

Super Soft Midweight Fabric

Open Mesh Panels on Back & Under Arms

Moisture Management Properties

Full Zip with Guard

Open Mesh Pocket Backs

Three Cargo Pockets

Pump Pocket

Zipped Key Pocket

Audio Cable System

Reflective Elements

Race fit

Made in Europe

Available in sizes XS-XL

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Superb quality fabrics and extremely well put together.

Rate the product for performance:

Comfortable and the fabrics performed very well indeed.

Rate the product for durability:

The majority of the jersey wears very well but the rear mesh pockets quite quickly start to show signs of stretching.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

Not as ultra-light as some summer jerseys but wicks moisture effectively and is super-soft next to skin so it's as light as it needs to be.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

Extremely comfortable, both in terms of cut/fit and also in terms of the fabric and its performance.

Rate the product for value:

Yes it's at the more expensive end of the jersey spectrum but it's made in Europe from superb quality fabrics plus it's innovative and stylish.

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

Very well indeed.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Style, cut, design elements of mesh fabrics, fabric quality and feel, performance.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Slightly small rear pockets, mesh of rear pockets stretched quite easily.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, very much

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

This jersey fuses good looks, innovative design and high quality fabrics. It's also made in Europe. There's a premium to be paid, but in my opinion it's worth it.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

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, mountain biking


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 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. 

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