CHAPEAU MEN'S TEMPO THERMAL BIB TIGHTS
348g XL Black, with white trim £89.99
Chapeau’s Men’s Tempo Thermal Bib Tights are the little sibling of the range. Don’t be fooled, though, they are high quality. Steve’s got no complaints after many miles in very mixed autumn weather, although more money will get you more technical advantages. Overall, these hit the design brief right in the bull’s-eye.
Chapeau also offer women’s specific garments.
Pros: comfortable and adaptable to layering on those really cold days.
Cons: check sizing.
66 polyamide 18% elastane 16% polyester, should offer a good mix of elasticity and functional moisture wicking, and is not unusual at this price point. Built in is a UV protection factor of 50, too. Each leg is made from two panels.
The bib feels high compared to some; an advantage on chillier days. Mind you a zip makes roadside emergency stops straight-forward enough after diuretic and cake in the café.
Straps are part mesh, as is the back panel, which should encourage temperate conditions. Silicone ankle-grippers complete security.
Chapeau’s logo is reflective, but very much in the every-little-helps category of presence-raising devices. Mind you, many will appreciate the subtle branding.
Now to the pad. This is made, as are many, by Dolmiti. Channels encourage ventilation, with the thickest sections for you ischial tuberosities. It’s four fifths polamide and one fifth, roughly, elastane. However, Dolmiti explain that it is made “soft and pleasant” to the touch by a “peach hand” technique. More mundanely, but just as usefully, they have an anti-bacterial treatment and undergo a “hydrophilic” process to dispel water. Dolmiti suggest that this model of padding is suitable for up to five hours riding.
Size and fit 3.75/5
Follow the sizing chart on the Chapeau website. It’s a little different to many. Take your measurements, or find an honest friend to help. As with most brands, choice may require a bit of compromise. In the case of the Tempo, I have not found this to be a problem – legs were slightly longer than would be a perfect fit. In my opinion, you can follow the guide with confidence.
Fit is “anatomic.” In practice, they fit closely and offer suitable support, as opposed body-hugging, racier cuts that clasp muscles and enhance blood-flow. On the margin, you could always drop a size if you feel you want something sportier.
Fabric felt a bit light at first, certainly compared to some higher end , mid-winter, models such as Stolen Goat’s Winter Bib Tights. In that light, I’ve kept it free from brushes with brickwork. Minor contact with undergrowth on impromptu gravel short-cuts has had not detrimental impact. In fact, fabric depth varies across the garment, offering greater protection in key areas.
Freedom of movement is very good. The Tempo is not really intended to beef-up blood flow, so things still feel relaxed.
Everything has stayed in place, except for some gathering at the back of the knee. Mind you, that could be down to my slightly disproportionately short legs. I’ve some bib tights with stirrups. It’s a matter of debate whether or not these impinge on comfort or enhance it.
Paired with Chapeau's Club Thermal Jersey, at 10C felt comfortably warm next the skin; OK at 7C – on a wet day. Below that, I’d be looking at a technical base-layer for really cold days below 0 to around 4C). Having said that, I’ve been out in a sunny 6C, and felt just right.
Tenure? Felt rather slippy to start with (on Bobbin’s Gentlemen’s Leather Saddle – less so on Brookes B17, but adhesion soon improved and best position located. There were no issues on the textured Brookes’ Cambium or softer Soma Okami Lite saddles.
Padding is noticeable, but not obstructive or uncomfortable off the bike. Constructed to encourage air flow and stop the bum becoming numb. Five hours? Well I can’t say I felt distressed six hours in. Nor were there pungent niffs after three long rides with no wash – so handy for a long weekend cycling.
As these boast no water-resistant credentials, you’d expect things to get wet when the heaven’s open. On the other hand, light showers haven’t made much of an impact. Heavier rain over a couple of hours has made things pretty damp throughout. A chill has not set in – keeping a steady fifteen to seventeen mph, and things dry in around thirty to forty minutes on the bike, if things brighten-up. The exception is, of course, the pad. That’s inevitable, but it has never felt like a bath sponge.
As mentioned, on me, the legs come in quite long. In practice however, light material doesn’t notice to much if it rumples up a little around the ankles or the knee.
A forty-degree wash and no need for special potions, mean easy care combined to some outdoor garments. Chapeau’s Club Jersey can go in with it, too, but best to use a technical detergent if putting that in the same wash. Pads, of course, take a good deal longer to dry than the garment.
Chapeau quality does not come cheap, but £89.99 is far from outrageous. Hard-core winter days may need Chapeau’s Club Thermal model or Stolen Goat’s Deep Winter and accept you are looking at three figures On the other hand, very serviceable store brand bib tights can be found some thirty to fifty pounds cheaper in a competitive market, although you will miss some of the finer touches. Overall, the Tempo bib tights offer very good value, in my opinion.
This is a thoughtfully made garment which can supplement other gear as well as stand alone. Definitely one for the enthusiast, keeping weight moderate without sacrificing quality. Ideal for late autumn and early spring cycling.