CHAPEAU CLUB THERMAL LONG SLEEVE JERSEY
375g XL Sunset (as tested) £99.99
Come the autumn and winter we all want to keep the chill at bay, whether as a standalone garment or as part of a layering system. Chapeau’s Club Thermal Jersey has hit the nail pretty much on the head as some frosty mornings have given way to warmer afternoons. I’ve been impressed by its adaptability.
There’s a female specific version with the same spec.
Pros: comfortable, adaptable, and surprisingly good in the rain.
Cons: being hyper-picky, I’d like bigger fobs on the zips.
There’s plenty of stretch from 83% polyester, 17% elastane weave. Slim fit, as opposed to race cut, moisture wicking, and soft to the touch: not that unusual at this price point, but there’s little doubt that they go a long way to meeting Chapeau’s claim that it is a “must-have for comfort and style through the cooler months.” They point out, too, that it is a product of “years of British riding.” Well, in that case, you’d expect it to handle some rain, layer-up well, and be ready for some mild and windy weather. Oh, it has UV protection, too: add that to its promised wicking, and you have the sunshine covered. As for the rain, the DWR coating completes coverage for all four seasons in a day.
In addition, on the temperature control front, there’s a full- length zip, with ‘zip garage’ to prevent under-chin chaffing misery. Draughts are excluded when zipped-up by a soft collar. Traditionally long sleeves with silicone gripper cuffs keep out the elements at the wrist. On that front, they easily overlap all the gloves or mitts in my collection. Likewise, the drop back ensures no chill creeps into the kidneys; all secured by an elasticated waist with a silicone gripper around the back.
Trad three back pockets, with addition of water-resistant zip pocket, make up the stowage. The latter is zipped, with fob.
There’s a reflective logo, but that’s all on the be bright be seen front. Mind you, ours was a rather startling – what we once called snazzy – orange with blue and red bars. So hardly a shrinking violet in the daylight.
Size and fit 4.5/5
Take a good read of Chapeau’s sizing chart. It’s a bit different to most. I measured carefully, and things turned out perfect. XL has coped well with my broad, shoulders and bit too much weight around the middle. Nothing to be scared of with “slim fit.” Things are subtly stretchy. Lengthwise, the dropped back has been more than sufficient to keep kidneys covered.
Sizes range from S to XXL.
At around 7C. its comfortable with base-later (Altura Thermocool Long Sleeve) at around 14mph. Would go for heavier base-layer – with good wicking on frosty mornings
Sixty minutes in steady rain and just dampness on the outside. Lower arms, as ever, wettest, but the lining was stills fundamentally dry around the torso. Temperatures around 9C, did not feel cold (same base layer). In that case it took the arms several hours to dry off the bike, with the outer dry as about in two. This has been quicker of the bike, and light showers have barely registered. Would be reaching for a waterproof top for more than a couple of hours bash in changeable weather.
Worn next to the skin, it feels beautifully soft, but there was a distinct chill – except when pushing hard – below 10C.With the temperature higher, wicking kicks in pretty rapidly. Only on the warmest autumn afternoons have I felt clammy.
Drop-back stays in placed perfectly, though the gripper does not feel at all tight. No awkward riding-up even after several hours in the saddle. This has remained the case, even with pockets weighed down by pump, inner tube and such gubbins. On that front, pockets absolutely swallow a standard 75ml water bottle.
Zips are easy enough to operate on the fly, though the contents of the water-resistant pocket aren’t likely to be required away from stops. Having said that, when layered up on really cold days, and wearing thicker winter gloves, I’d be inclined to fashion a larger tab to grab hold of, when snugging-up the collar.
40C wash allows it into the regular laundry. That’s refreshingly easy – especially since Chapeau’s Tempo Bib-Tights accept the same treatment. The jersey has emerged from the spin-cycle almost dry, but an hour on the line has finished the job.
Mind you, it may be worth preserving the DWR coating by using a technical or liquid detergent.
Yes, £100 minus one penny is a good deal of cash to splash. Having said that, there are those who would say that cycling through the colder months is so much more attractive a prospect if you have decent kit. There’s no doubt the Club Thermal Jersey is well-made, comfortable and highly effective, on its own or as part of a system. The latter suggests more than day-ride potential; weekends or tours spring to mind.
When the Light Blue Classic – also an excellent layering garment - goes into hibernation, the Club Thermal comes into its own. The Light Blue Classic Road Jersey, is a lot cheaper, but isn’t designed for the lower temperatures and isn’t water-resistant, amongst other differences.
A better comparator might be Stolen Goat’s Orkaan Everyday Jersey. At £125, it is water-resistant because the seams are not sealed, but in my view outscores Chapeau’s Club Thermal in the keeping out the rain stakes. Layering is not Stolen Goat’s thing, and Chapeau’s beats it on that score, in my opinion.
Mind you, come the depth of winter Stolen Goat’s Deep Winter Grid Jacket will come out of the closet. However, for day rides, multi-day, or when the mercury shows milder days, Chapeau’s Club Thermal would make a very good choice.
Altura’s Thermal NV2 Long Sleeve Jersey, is again, significantly cheaper. However, in my opinion, it comes in on the smaller, tight side, and although perfectly effective, does not have the adaptability of the Club Thermal.
Chapeau’s Club Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey is functional, funky, and fine all-round. It scores highly on its own or as part of a system. Perfectly suited to day rides, the ability to combine it with base-layer, jacket, and so on, when faced by changeable autumn, winter, and spring weather – such as is par for the course in the UK. Moreover’ it has not been prone to nasty niffs, and added benefit to flexibility, when away for more than a day.