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The Chapeau! Mesh Base Layer Short Sleeve is light, comfortable and ideal for hot rides (or turbo sessions) as it's great at wicking away sweat to keep you cool. It's well made and pretty stylish too, should you be 'forced' to unzip, though it could be just a tiny bit longer in the body.
I wear a base layer on every ride no matter how hot, cold, wet or slow, and that means the Chapeau! has seen plenty of use. To be honest, most of the time I've completely forgotten about it too... and that's a good thing!
I've been impressed with it from the off. It's suitably close fitting without feeling restrictive, helped by the stretchy side panels. Even under the most aero of jerseys there's no bunching of fabric, and it feels comfortable against the skin.
The mesh is made from two different ratios of elastane and polyester which, crucially, wick sweat really well. It's super fast drying and surprisingly strong given how light and see-through it is. Its transparency means that I wouldn't use it by itself for spin classes, but for home turbo sessions it's perfect.
The arms are quite short, which I'm a fan of as there's no risk of poking out of jersey sleeves, plus there's a sleeveless version for a fiver less if that's more up your street. The only area I'd like improved is the length of the body; however, I have a relatively long torso for my height (it's not me in the pics), and you may find it fine.
A benefit of a shorter body is the lack of unsightly seams under your bib shorts, although as there's no heavy hem it's unlikely to show anyway. All the other seams are flatlocked, so no irritation there.
I like the lack of labels. Labels in base layers really irritate me: so much effort (I hope) goes in to making the thing comfortable, and then somebody staples in 100 labels with (I swear) purposefully sharpened corners. Here, washing instructions are printed inside a side panel – other manufacturers take note!
At £34.99 it's priced sensibly given the impressive performance and fit, and matches the Castelli Pro Issue SS Base Layer. If you're not too concerned about aesthetics, cheaper alternatives such as the Lusso Race Base Mesh (£24.99) score highly and could save you a few quid.
If this sky blue doesn't match your kit, Chapeau! also does it in white, grey, navy blue or black.
The Chapeau! Mesh Base Layer Short Sleeve is perfect for hot rides of any kind, as it wicks so well and dries very quickly. The quality is high and fit is excellent – barring, perhaps, the ever-so-slightly short torso – so it creates that feeling we all love; namely, the feeling it's not even there to start with.
Light, airy and fast-wicking base layer for (being seen wearing on) the hottest days
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Chapeau! Mesh Base Layer Short Sleeve
Size tested: M
Tell us what the product is for
Chapeau! says this: "...is soft on your skin, snug fit and stylish. It will whisk moisture away when you're working hard all whilst staying fresh and keeping your temperature just right." In my opinion it succeeds.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Main section: 86% polyester, 14% elastane
Side panels: 94% polyester, 6% elastane
No loose strings, nice seams and no label.
Wicks sweat really well and dries fast.
Looks far more fragile than it is. No issues with washing.
I like the slim fit and the stretchy side panels really help, but it could be a centimeter longer.
62g is light enough to forget its there.
No bunching, comfortable seams and no labels.
Works really well and is well made, but the price is fairly high – you're paying for looks to a certain extent. There are cheaper alternatives.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I just stuck it in the 40-degree sports wash with everything else, no problems.
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
Fits well, looks great.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Tiny bit too short.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's at the cheaper end of the market, though there are cheaper available (if only typically by around £10). At £35 it's the same price as the Castelli Pro Issue SS and dhb Aeron Equinox, but £10 more than the similar Lusso Race Base Mesh. It's not hard to spend £50+ on very similar base layers to the Chapeau! though.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
I think the Chapeau! hits the sweet spot for performance and style, but it's just short of exceptional as you can get cheaper – and ideally it'd be just a little longer in the body. It's very good, though, and an eight.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,