The Chapeau Cafe jersey has many of the features you’d find on a traditional cycling jersey, but with a fit and fabrics suitable for round-town riding if the style is right for you.
The Cafe jersey is part of Devon-based brand Chapeau’s casual cycling range but whereas the City shorts recently reviewed on RoadCyclingUK have subtle cycle-specific features which are fairly indistinguishable to the non-cyclist’s eye, this is more obviously a jersey for pedaling.
That’s thanks to three well-sized rear pockets and a further water resistant zipped pocket, just as you’d find on Chapeau’s Etape jersey. Chapeau describe the Cafe jersey as having a “style that doesn’t look out of place when not on your bike” and while that’s true of the rest of the jersey, the pockets are a bit of a giveaway.
More subtle cycle-specific features include an elasticated hem lined with silicone dots, which combine well to hold the jersey in place is the pockets are well-stocked. The Chapeau badge on the right-hand rear pocket is also reflective and there are eyelets to run headphone cables inside the jersey from the zipped pocket to the right-hand shoulder.
The jersey is made from a 90 per cent polyester, 10 per cent cotton mix (the cotton is found in the high collar, which is soft next to the skin) and the cut is a lot more relaxed than a regular cycling jersey which adds to its casual appearance. Our medium sample is loose enough to wear with a regular pair of shorts.
The Cafe jersey occupies a niche for riders who want the features of a cycling jersey, namely those rear pockets, but in a stylish top with a relaxed fit, and which is passable for off-the-bike wear, if not unrecognisable as a cycling jersey.
The pockets are certainly useful if on ride of a certain length – perhaps around town, to the shops, along the towpath or between pubs – when you want to carry the essentials – inner tube and pump, as well as a phone, keys and cash/card – but don’t want to use a backpack and you can’t justify full lycra. If that’s the type of ride you undertake regularly, then the Cafe jersey fills that niche to a tee.
Colour: Grey, blue/white