Chapeau Club bib shorts - review
Good-quality staple bib shorts with a performance edge
Devon-based boutique brand Chapeau is one of many stylish cycling apparel marques in a busy marketplace, and has been around for a while now – in fact, it was one of the first among the current crop to hit the shelves, centred around it’s ethos of inclusivity and the joy of riding bikes.
Nevertheless, along with the customary boutique lifestyle image these ‘Club’ bib shorts, Chapeau’s everyday model, have a few performance aspects that help to set them apart from your run-of-the-mill bib shorts. We've also recently reviewed the Club jersey, so you can go the whole hog and get yourself a matching shorts-jerseys set, if you want.
Headlining is a multi-paneled design – not in itself uncommon – but where it differs from most is in the gently compressive nature of those panels through the Topazio fabric. Especially around the hips and upper thighs, the slim cut offers a little compression, potentially helping to keep muscle fatigue at bay, while avoiding being restrictive in terms of movement.
- Price: £119.99
- Sizes: S-XXL
- Size tested: M
- Colours: Navy blue; black; carbon grey
- Website: Chapeau!
The form-fitting cut in the legs, lower back and abdomen elsewhere is near-perfect too, remaining for both high-tempo riding and steadier spins to your favourite coffee shop.
You’ll find flat internal seams that are well-positioned to avoid any chafing, and a medium-long leg length that’s well suited to UK temperatures. In tandem with the Topazio fabric that strikes a good balance of breathability in temperatures up to around 25 degrees celcius.
The base of the legs feature a textured gripper that’s particularly comfortable when in the tough crucible of sun, sweat and sun cream when compared to silicone alternatives, while the bib section features mesh panels to assist with cooling on those warmer rides.
Interestingly – and something I personally approve of given my longish torso – the bib section is generous for shorts with such a performance-oriented leg cut and fabrics. It means the bib section doesn’t cut into the shoulders at all, with tension evenly distributed.
At the other end, this means the chamois isn’t, erm, ‘pulled up’ uncomfortably to your sitbones, but sits just right. That has a side benefit of being more comfortable at prolonged coffee stops, while it’s a strong performer during rides too.
Simple 60-100km club rides are its bread and butter, with century rides obviously within its capabilities, albeit the pad is not quite as bulky and plushy as, say, Le Col's silicone-beefed chamois, the Dolomiti. The upside is that it has a slightly lower profile than most, which will appeal to many.
Finally, the finishing touches, including asymmetric Chapeau branding (dark reflective print on the left leg, bright reflective print on the right), circular logo on the hindquarters and reflective strips on the rear side of each leg help to set the bib shorts off while complementing the classical overall look.
Throw in the clearly strong build quality that has seen it return as new from multiple washes over our test period, and a competitive £119.99 asking price for shorts of these quality, and the Chapeau Club bib shorts represent a good investment as a cycling wardrobe staple.
It’s hard to pick fault with the Chapeau Club bib shorts. They’re one of the most comfortable and well-rounded models I’ve tried this year. They look great, feel great, feature some nice touches, and have a quality pad for a fairly reasonable price. And you can have them in black or a dark grey too.
- Great all-round quality
- Performance cut without the drawbacks
- Compressive fabrics
- Good looks (even in blue!)
- Chamois comfortable but not the plushest