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A well-fitting and comfortable pair of bib shorts is always a great choice for longer rides, and a good design more than makes up for (in my opinion) the slight inconvenience at, well, conveniences. The Chapeau Ladies Classic Bib Shorts manage to combine good looks, excellent levels of comfort and good value for money. And polka dots.
The Classics are billed as entry-level bib shorts, and feature a multi-panel design, gentle leg gripper dots, a straightforward round-the-bosom bib area, with mesh panels for breathability and Chapeau's Fiandre female-specific pad, which uses perforated dual-density foam.
The sizing and cut of the Classics is, ahem, spot on, with plenty of stretch, and the bib section straps stay nice and flat, promising good levels of comfort to a variety of body shapes and bust sizes.
The leg length is intended to be on the longer side for shorts, and I found it just a shade longer than I would have liked. Those who are taller (I'm 5ft 5in) or prefer longer length in their shorts should find them just fine. Thanks to the gentle leg gripper dots there is no sausage leg effect and they are both flattering and comfortable.
Out on the bike, the pad is unobtrusive yet superbly comfortable on a variety of distances. Although marketed as entry-level bib shorts, these have such a comfortable pad and straps that I'd be confident riding pretty much anything in them. The fabric wicked moisture quickly and effectively and it has good levels of stretch.
The polka dot pattern on the thighs lifts them above the usual mundane plain black offering, and there's also a small reflective 'Chapeau!' on the lower back.
Price-wise they sit alongside designs in the lower mid-range for many brands, but in my opinion you're getting more style for your money here. They're also as good as if not better than some more expensive options, so all in all they're very good value.
Great value for money for a good-looking pair of shorts comfortable and effective enough for all lengths of ride
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Chapeau Ladies Classic Bibshorts
Size tested: Medium, Grey Fiandre Pad, Polka Dot, Black/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?
Intended as entry-level bib shorts for any female rider looking to progress from waist shorts to bib shorts.
Chapeau says: "Everyone needs a pair of shorts for day to day riding – commuting, an evening spin with friends, riding to the cafe on a sunny afternoon. The Classic is our entry level bibshort, less technical than our Pave range but still comfy and designed for the rigours of daily use. They make an ideal first pair if you are just getting used to the idea of bibshorts, offering top quality at a modest price. We promise you'll notice how much more comfortable they are compared to regular shorts!"
They're not lying!
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Machine washable at 40
Available in sizes XS-XL
Very well made from good quality fabrics and components.
Performed very well.
Well made and good quality and washes well.
Sizing and cut is good and fabric has good stretch for comfort. Straps well shaped.
Sizing very good.
Light enough and yet sturdy too.
Superbly comfortable. The pad is the perfect combination of being light, unobtrusive and yet extremely supportive and effective.
Very good value for money. Punches above its weight.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very. Washes very well and is washable at 40°.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These were great shorts and performed beyond their "entry-level" status.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Style (spots!), shape, leg grippers, value for money.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Very much.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A very well designed and attractive pair of shorts that are sure to convert anyone from wearing waist shorts.
About the tester
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 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.