PRENDAS CICLISMO LISBOA WATERPROOF CYCLING CAP
The Prendas Ciclismo Lisboa Waterproof Cycling Cap combines classic styling with modern materials. Being pedantic, it’s not waterproof, in the literal sense but breathes, so ultimately dries efficiently. My only (very minor) grumble is that it can't be machine washed, when the need arises.
Pros: Stylish, comfortable, breathable, and water-resistant.
Cons: Not waterproof, in the impervious sense.
OK, nothing exotic here but it’s certainly up to the job. So, a penny shy of £15 buys a 50/50 Polyester/Polyurethane mix. Available in a choice of black, grey or orange, the seven- panels are neatly machined. Inside, taped seams promise to lock the elements out.
A broad crescent peak is just the right side of porch-like and subtle elastics continue the secure theme. Retro-reflective logos are emblazoned around the sides and under the peak. Afterall, though many of us wear helmets, they're not mandatory (in the UK, at least). Talking of funky, in common with its more traditional Bordeaux Paris Cycling Race Cap sibling, an anti-bacterial strip runs the circumference, to trap nasty niffs and extend wear to wash times.
One size fits most, is probably the best way of describing it and on balance, Prendas Ciclismo has covered most bases. As a rough and ready, my head circumference is 54cm and it literally fitted me perfectly. There's enough give in the tactile elastic, so it'll entertain bigger bonces. Provided of course, you haven't tossed it in the machine wash.
I began testing during September’s dry, temperate start and was blown away but just how well the fabric breathed. Yes, merino wool will certainly top it. However, I could feel the cooling air rushing through my scalp, almost to the point of being cold, worn beneath a high end, well-ventilated helmet and descending at 30+mph. Through September and October
with temperatures between 21 and 7 degrees.
Staying with this a moment, it’s been the perfect companion beneath my lids - both traditional road and, dual purpose commuter/touring models, such as Oxford's Metro V. The cap's profile mirroring theirs, so no problems with bunching, or impaired peripheral vision.
It’s done a decent job of shielding my eyes from the sun, wind dust, grit and other airborne projectiles. I didn't have to wait long before rains of biblical proportions swept in and can confirm the fabric is highly water-resistant but not proof.
Given an hour's persistent showery rain, things became slightly damp. I knew it wasn't rider generated and in similar conditions, wearing a cotton cap, my thatch would've been matted-to-scalp. 90 minutes in heavy rain, I've been wet; not soaking by any means, and the fabric will dry promptly - break in the clouds and moderate breeze allowing.
Bargain on 30-40 minutes, 45-1hr in the airing cupboard. We were supplied with both the black and orange versions-I alternated between them, just to rule out a rogue sample. The song remained consistent. Given a month or so, 400 miles plus and it wasn't remotely whiffy, let alone stripping wallpaper.
This isn't particularly difficult but lacks the outright convenience of machine washable counterparts. If you're short on time, pop it in the shower, post ride. Work some soap flakes, or similarly mild detergent into a lather, rinse and then hang out to dry. Otherwise, if required it can be stuffed into a jersey pocket, with no ill-effect. however, it is hand wash only, to maintain water-resistance.
The Lisboa is £5 or so more than its Paris Bordeaux polyester/cotton stablemate.
£15 is around the going rate, at least for anything remotely breathable, let alone water resistant. Fully waterproof, breathable models come in around £25, so the Lisbona represents decent value, relative to specification, performance and the wider market.
The Lisboa is a very capable all-rounder that offers decent defence against the elements, without boiling the rider's brains. Those looking for something totally waterproof will need to spend a tenner, or so more and for the depths of winter, I'd be looking toward one of the "Belgian" models.
Verdict: 3.5/5 Practical and stylish cap for three seasons' riding.
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2019