Review – Chapeau Cycling Winter Cycle Clothing Range

Chapeau Cycling Review
Chapeau Cycling wins my personal award as the Best UK-Based Cycle Clothing Brand of 2020. Their products continue to impress me with their exceptional quality, function, and design innovation.

Yet, as a brand, Chapeau are still not that well-known in the world of cycling apparel. Hopefully, this review feature will introduce you to their latest winter range, and prompt you to also doff your top hat and shout "Chapeau!"...

Review – Chapeau Cycling Club Thermal Bib Shorts

Thermal bib shorts are a highly versatile and under-rated piece of cycling apparel. In the transition seasons of spring and autumn you are often too warm in bib tights, but a little too chilly in summer bib shorts. Thermal bib shorts use fleece-lined fabrics, a higher cut bib, and a longer leg length to deliver that extra bit of warmth and comfort.

The Chapeau Club Thermal Bib Shorts are a fine example of 'early season bib shorts'; with features that make them unique and superior to other models that I have used and tested.

The most stand-out feature is the higher cut front bib, with its short zipper. The zipper allows for the higher fabric cut, without restricting access for… (you know what). This is a clever design feature, and although it seems obvious and is found on many winter bib tights, I have not seen it used in thermal bib shorts before. The result of the innovation is a higher cut front panel that makes a notable difference to keeping your torso warm in the early morning chill.

The pad on the Club Thermal Bib Shorts comes from Italian experts Elastic Interface. It is the same pad that I have used and enjoyed in other Chapeau bib shorts; its contoured foam construction is well shaped, and it has well positioned padding for relief on long winter rides.

With their beautifully soft fleece lining, secure grippers, warm bibs, and comfortable seat pad—these are cycling bib shorts that offer luxury for spring and autumn rides.

Chapeau Cycling Bib Shorts

Review – Chapeau Cycling Etape Merino Long Sleeve Jersey

Paired beautifully with the navy Club Thermal Bib Shorts, the Etape Merino Long Sleeve Jersey is another clothing design work of art.

The fit is the first thing worth shouting about. Merino wool is a natural wonder fabric—with its soft fibres and stretch; but it can be difficult to shape into a fitted jersey. Chapeau have succeeded. The extra-fine Merino Sportwool and contoured seams of the jersey allow for a race-fit cut that is form-fitting and superbly comfortable.

Whether worn on its own with a thermal base layer or layered up underneath a waterproof jacket; the Chapeau Etape Merino Long Sleeve Jersey has proven to be a versatile layer. The jersey features three full-sized pockets for your ride accessories and nutrition, as well as a zippered waterproof pocket for your phone.

Merino is a beautiful fabric to wear, and perfect for long winter rides. It is warm, breathable, and even has natural bacteria inhibiting properties; so, you can keep riding all day, no matter what the weather conditions.

The Chapeau Etape Long Sleeve Merino Jersey is one of the best examples of a merino cycling jersey I have tested to date.

Chapeau Cycling LS Jersey

Review – Chapeau Cycling Thermal Leg Warmers

Leg warmers transform your favourite cycling shorts into full length winter wear. If you partner your leg warmers with thermal bib shorts, then it is possible they may even get you through the depths of winter, without the need to turn to winter bib tights.

Chapeau's Thermal Leg Warmers use an Italian Carvico Artica fabric, which is superbly soft and comfortable. The silicone grippers help to keep the warmers in place, and reflective logos and accents increase your road visibility.

My only criticism of the Chapeau Leg Warmers is that they are tight on the upper thigh band. I tested a Small/Medium, which were perfect for leg length, but just slightly restrictive on the upper leg. If you are into doing your squats, then you may want to size up. 

Chapeau Leg Warmers

Review – Chapeau Cycling Merino Long Sleeve Base Layer

The wonder fabric merino wool comes into its own when used in long sleeved cycling base layers. This fabric achieves many things that its synthetic competitors cannot match…

The secret to merino wool's supreme comfort and insulating properties is its super fine fibres—they are barely a quarter of the thickness of a human hair. These super-fine fibres, when woven together, create a beautifully soft texture—quite the opposite of that scratchy lamb's wool jumper you used to own.

The tiny fibres also contribute to merino wool's wicking capabilities. They naturally move moisture away from the skin—to leave you feeling dry and comfortable, even when the base layer itself may be damp.

Crucially, when merino wool is damp, it stays insulating; something that is not true for most synthetic fabrics that often create an increased windchill effect when heavy with perspiration.

Soft, wicking, insulating, and even naturally anti-microbial; merino wool makes the perfect fabric choice when designing winter base layers. The Chapeau Merino Long Sleeve Base Layer is a fine example, and functions perfectly when worn underneath the Chapeau Etape LS Merino Jersey.

Chapeau Cycling Tim Wiggins

Review – Chapeau Cycling Club 3 Season Gloves

Finally, the Chapeau Club 3 Season Cycling Gloves. These gloves are a highly versatile and adaptive protective layer for your hands.

The basic glove uses a lightweight thermal fabric to supply a breathable but insulating layer. Silicone gripper dots on the palms help to keep control, and touchscreen-friendly fingertips allow you to answer calls and quickly reply to messages.

The party trick of the Chapeau Club 3 Season Gloves is the 'mitt cover'. This is a pull-out cover for your fingers that creates a classic mitten design—with all the fingers clumped together. The cover is a windproof and water-resistant material, which adds protection and insulation for your fingers; it is an adaptive layer of protection for when the weather takes a turn for the worst.

I have found that the Club 3 Season gloves work well down to 3 degrees Celsius and offer a good amount of warmth and protection from the elements. There is no padding in the palm, so I have reserved them for winter road cycling rather than gravel rides; this also seems to be appropriate given the fabric is not designed to be super durable. I admit the mitt cover makes it a little awkward to use the brake and gear shifters, but it would be less of a problem on a flat-bar bike and you will likely get used to it on road levers.

Overall, these are a well designed and neat pair of winter cycling gloves, which are adaptable enough to wear in a wide range of weather conditions. 

Chapeau Cycling Tim Wiggins

Chapeau Cycling Tim Wiggins

Chapeau Cycling Tim Wiggins

Disclaimer: Chapeau! provided Life In The Saddle with apparel for test and review


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