Cafe du Cycliste Women’s Heidi jacket review$234.00

Warmth and casual style in a performance garment

BikeRadar score4/5

A good winter riding jacket turns a fear of cold weather rides into a desire to get outside and go exploring. In the past, a lot of designs for women have been hit and miss. A scaled down unisex product is typically too loose in the sleeves and short or billowy at the front.

As we described in our first look at the Café du Cycliste range, this is one of many products available in a men’s and women’s design. The Women’s Heidi jacket not only fits ladies well when riding, but it holds its snug shape when opening the carefully placed zips for temperature regulation. Its classy appearance might have you reaching for it off the bike too.

A quilted looking material lines the front to block the wind from your chest and shoulders. This has been used cleverly in the sleeves too, sewn inside the panel that cops the wind. Soft fleece remains close to the skin on the inside section of your arm.

The heidi jacket's back wrinkles a bit when standing, but sits nicely when in a riding position: the heidi jacket's back wrinkles a bit when standing, but sits nicely when in a riding position
The heidi jacket's back wrinkles a bit when standing, but sits nicely when in a riding position: the heidi jacket's back wrinkles a bit when standing, but sits nicely when in a riding position

Soft and fleecy

The breathable, moisture-wicking main fabric is woollen in appearance but it’s quick to dry and fleecy on the inside. After heavy use during the Australian winter it has begun to pill a bit on the inside of the arms, but the grey marle colouring means you have to look closely to see the effects of a high level of use.

Related: Café du Cycliste Violette jersey

Like the Violette short sleeve jersey reviewed recently here on BikeRadar, the pockets at the back provide ample room. Elastic around the waist holds the Heidi in place reasonably well, although we found the front panel tended to stick out a bit when standing. The neck is soft and tall and kept us feeling snug without the need for a buff or scarf.

Cool air came through the wrist cuffs, it stopped us from feeling too hot, but can be a good thing too: cool air came through the wrist cuffs, it stopped us from feeling too hot, but can be a good thing too
Cool air came through the wrist cuffs, it stopped us from feeling too hot, but can be a good thing too: cool air came through the wrist cuffs, it stopped us from feeling too hot, but can be a good thing too

Breezy cuffs prevent your arms getting sweaty, but did feel cold at times

The cuffs on the wrists are quite long and comfortable against the skin. While some products are so tight in this area they’ll cut the nerve signal to your fingers if you pull them up too high, these were easy to pull up the forearms while riding if I got too hot. The only negative we found was that cold air passed through the cuff material adding a chill in icy conditions.

I normally wear an extra-small in cycling jerseys, but given the lack of stretch in the fabric across the chest, I preferred the more relaxed fit of a small size test jacket. This allowed space for more layers underneath as temperatures dropped even further.

Conclusion

The design and construction of the Heidi point to careful consideration of this jacket’s intended users: it offers welcome warmth, is cut to fit without billowing in a riding position and it boasts a classy sense of style. Temperature regulation is made easy due to the zipper placement on the shoulders and torso, and a soft and flexible material at the wrists (although good gloves or a long sleeve base layer were needed to maintain warmth in this area in cooler conditions).

While not exactly cheap, the Heidi jacket is significantly cheaper than we expected for a smart fitting, fleecy, wind-blocking jacket, especially given its versatility. Available in grey (tested) or a light blue it won’t be the most visible item in your cycling wardrobe, but it will pair well with your winter staples on the bike and off it. Keeping true to the brand name, the Heidi meant our post ride coffees through winter were as pleasurable as our rides.

Kath Bicknell

Freelance Writer, Australia
Cycling academic and product tester, Kath brings expertise from the research world to discussions on technology, equipment and performance. She's ridden road and mountain bikes for most of her life and loves that no two rides are ever the same. Based in Sydney, days in the sunshine are her favourite, as are rides with challenging ups followed by pumping, playful descents.
  • Age: 34
  • Height: 164cm / 5'5"
  • Weight: 56kg / 123lb
  • Waist: 66cm / 26in
  • Chest: 84cm / 33in
  • Discipline: Road, mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: All of it
  • Current Bikes: Santa Cruz Bronson, Specialized Amira Pro and a pub bike
  • Dream Bike: I dream about lots of bikes
  • Beer of Choice: Strong flat white
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

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