The Velotastic Beeley is a warm winter cap in classic style, made from a wool/viscose mix that's comfortable on chilly days.
This is a simple cap, but it's very nicely executed, with a stiff peak to keep the winter sun out of your eyes. Okay, let's be honest, it'll keep the rain out of your eyes and off your glasses too.
Being a simple cap, it covers the top of your head only. That means it works fine when the weather is merely cool, but when the temperature gets down to low single figures – anything under about 6°C for me – I want something over my ears too. But for those days when it's appropriate, it's very nice indeed: cosy and comfortable.
The Beeley – named after a favourite climb of the folks at Velotastic – comes in just the one size. It's on the large side. It fits my 59cm-ish head, but when my partner tried it she found it too roomy for her much smaller sizing, with the elastic at the back producing unsightly bunching and the cap not feeling very secure.
The fly in the ointment here is the viscose in the fabric blend. A sort of semi-synthetic cotton, viscose is a cellulose fibre made from wood pulp by a process that can involve some hazardous chemicals ending up in the environment. Outdoor clothing maker Patagonia says that most viscose factories only recover about 50% of the carbon disulphide used in the process. There are environmental issues with almost all fabrics, but leaking a highly toxic solvent into the world is arguably on another level entirely.
If Velotastic could find a less dodgy fabric to make the Beeley, it'd be perfect cool-weather headgear.
Comfortable and warm cool-weather cap
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Velotastic Beeley Cap
Size tested: One size
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?
It's a wool-mix cycling cap for keeping your head warm when it's chilly outside.
Velotastic says: "Named after one of our favourite Peak District climbs, this British made cycling cap is ideal for those cooler days."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
One size fits most
60% Wool, 40% Viscose
Made in England
Colours – Camel brown or Ninja Black
Velotastic says "one size fits most". It's fine on my 59-60cm head, but on smaller heads like my girlfriend's 53-ish it bunches quite a lot and doesn't feel secure.
It's very comfortable and the fairly open fabric means you don't get too sweaty when working hard.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Kept my head warm without making it sweaty when working hard.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Spot-on fit (for me, see above), good but not excessive warmth for cool days.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Use of viscose in the mix.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
Two things mark the Beeley down. It needs to come in at least two sizes so people with smaller heads can use it; if you're below about a 55 in hat size, don't bother.
The use of viscose in the fabric is the bigger issue for me, though, and I considered knocking it down a few points for that alone. But viewed just as a cycling cap it works very well, so I'll let you make up your own mind whether the environmental aspects of viscose production put it on your 'don't buy' list or not.
About the tester
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.