The Café Du Cycliste Marie-Josette jersey is a brilliantly versatile, waterproof, windproof, breathable jersey that'll replace a couple of items in your wardrobe.
Café du Cycliste, as you can probably guess, is a French company which has ranges of clothing designed for racers, and for those more relaxed days in the saddles. A more classic, dare I say retro style is prevalent throughout the ranges in a vein similar to the likes of Chapeau and Velobici.
The Marie-Josette jersey is part of Café du Cycliste's performance range and like Castelli's very successful Gabba it's a short-sleeved, windproof and waterproof jersey. It might sound odd but it offers so much flexibility you'll wonder how you managed without it.
In basic terms it requires you to carry one less layer whether that be a gilet or waterproof jacket. Pair the Marie-Josette Jersey with a pair of arm warmers you're pretty much sorted. The suggested temperature range of 5-15°C makes the Josette perfect for spring and autumnal rides and if things do get a bit too warm there are vents under the arms and above the rear pockets.
It's cut close to the body with a full zip and three rear pockets with a neat waterproof flap covering them to keep the contents dry. The material itself is made in Italy and along with being water and windproof is also said to be breathable... ah, the holy grail.
Classy finishing touches like the Café du Cycliste rider logo on the arm and coloured bands on the neck give a clean look and means it doesn't look out of place on or of the bike. For dark rides there is a reflective band running along the pocket flap providing a bit of extra visibility. An elasticated dropped tail finishes things off.
In use the Josette is surprisingly breathable up to that maximum recommended temperature of fifteen degrees. Above that it does get a bit overwhelmed but it does dry quickly once the effort drops if you undo the zip and let the vents do their work.
As far as the windproofing goes it's noticeable when descending as you can feel the windchill on your bare arms but your torso is still lovely and toasty.
It's on rainy days that the Josette excels. It shrugs off all but the heaviest shower while drizzle and road spray just beads off of the surface.
The zip is fully sealed so nothing gets in through here either. It's been through the washing machine plenty of times and its waterproofness doesn't seem to be suffering. It should be useful for a long time and thanks to the build quality it'll be in your wardrobe for a long time to come.
On the whole the Josette is a good all-rounder and with the weather the way it's been for the majority of the test period it's had more use than most of my other jerseys put together.
Its only sticking point is probably the price, £139. But add a merino base layer and arm warmers, and it'll see you through the majority of the winter. With spring and autumn taken care of on its own you're getting a three season jersey that works out much cheaper than a similar quality jersey and gilet combined.
Virtually year-round usability with great looks and brilliant build quality goes a long way to justifying the premium price tag.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Café Du Cycliste Marie-Josette Jersey
Size tested: Medium
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 performance jersey designed for inclement weather, Café du Cycliste have designed it as a performance jersey nad the fit and performance certainly reflect that.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Waterproof tab over three rear pockets
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
brilliantly, kept the wind and rain out while the performance cut means its very comfortable on the bike
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
the fit and looks
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
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.