Stylish and versatile thermal jersey with an excellent cut
Boutique apparel brand Chapeau has become well-established in recent years with stylish yet functional cycling kit that can stand up to luxury clothing powerhouses Rapha without such an enormous price tag. The Club Thermal jersey is one such example of a job well done.
Ok, so you still pay a shade under £100 for the Club Thermal Jersey, which remains no small amount, but the bottom line is that it’s well worth the investment given that there are no weaknesses to speak of.
Most impressive is the fit and cut. If you get the size right, it’s aggressive enough for performance-oriented riders without bunching, while there’s enough space for more sturdily-built cyclists without feeling restrictive.
I tend to fall somewhere between a medium and large-sized jersey in most brands thanks to my slightly bulkier upper body (from years of swimming), but given the nigh-perfect fit in a medium here (I’m not the model pictured in the photos, who typically always wears a medium), it’s logical to conclude that the jersey does come up a touch big. As a result, very slim cyclists may want to consider a smaller size if they normally fall between two options. Chapeau also claims the flexibility is there to go up one size if you prefer a more relaxed fit.
Nevertheless, the cut is slim around the waist, so when you’re on the bike bunching at the front and around the zip is kept to a minimum. If you happen to be carrying spares and cargo like a waterproof jacket in the three good-sized back pockets, it pulls the stomach in very slightly to maximise the svelte (yet still unrestrictive) look.
The Italian fabric is excellent quality and has a DWR water-repellent treatment. It’s not going to offer the same level of protection as something like a Castelli Gabba or Rapha Shadow jersey, but it stops road spray or a light rain shower immediately soaking in. There’s also enough stretch in the body to provide a little give and comfort, while inside the jersey that comfort is also guaranteed thanks to a soft fleece lining and soft seams, with it all coming together to offer excellent levels of breathability, helped by the fact there’s no windproof outer fabric.
I’ve always struggled with thicker winter jerseys – running quite hot myself, I’m not normally a fan of fleece against my skin or base layer, usually preferring insulating layers with some sort of light filling or a merino-based jersey – but this is one of the few occasions where I’ve been really impressed with this kind of construction. I’ve worn it (with a suitable ensemble) in conditions ranging from near zero degrees up to around 12 and it’s proven remarkably versatile: a true three-season jersey, as Chapeau claims.
“I’ve worn the jersey in conditions ranging from near zero degrees up to around 12 and it’s proven remarkably versatile”
I can easily see myself pairing it with a winter base layer and (potentially) a rain or wind shell of some description as I attempt the Rapha Festive 500 this year, instead of just relying on my old go-to Rapha Brevet jersey and gilet outer layers as normal. Meanwhile, it’s remained as effective and comfortable as it was when I first wore it, still repelling water and staying soft on the inside through multiple washes.
There’s good attention to detail in the Club Thermal jersey, too. From the neckline, which is comfortable and spacious enough for even my wide neck, to the waterproof lining of the middle of the three rear pockets, which also has a fourth, zipped valuables compartment. The rear of the jersey also has a useful dropped tail, while the tapered sleeves offer an excellent fit. Unwanted draughts and water ingress are kept at bay without sacrificing one iota of comfort.
Superficially, the design is also very tasteful, incorporating small highlights like the pink, navy and cream stripes throughout and adding a reflective badge on the right rear pocket, along with a detailed pattern on the body. Besides this grey jersey, there’s also a green-bodied version with red, navy and white details, but to be honest I really like this particular colour.
Bottom line? The Chapeau Club Thermal jersey is a top-quality three-season jersey, perfect to wear on its own or with an ensemble depending on the conditions and your personal preferences. If you like matching great style with equal levels of performance and flexibility, I’m not sure there are many better ways to spend a hundred of your hard-earned pounds.
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