Located in the stylish environs of Nice, aesthetic considerations are front and centre when it comes to Café du Cycliste's clothing. But the company is equaly keen to emphasise its focus on performance-led design. The Georgette jersey epitomises this, with classic looks combined with merino fabric.
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The kit was tested for its specific purpose: on road rides only, ranging from shorter club rides of around 20 miles to full days in the saddle. Early UK summer riding inevitably involved everything from hot sunshine climbs to torrential rain. I opted for size medium, being 5ft 5in / 165cm tall and a UK high street 12 (US 8).
Merino wool is well known for having excellent temperature-regulating properties, being employed in high-quality winter kit and in summer clothing too. Here Café du Cycliste has teamed up the high-grade merino with mesh shoulder panelling and sleeves to produce a summer jersey with a few quirky design features.
Unlike many of the brand's other designs, the jersey doesn’t feature the signature Breton stripe, but muted colours still make up the palette. The main body of the jersey is a deep navy midweight merino, with the shoulder panels constructed of a lightweight off-white polyester/polyamide mesh with a subtle chevron pattern.
A thin band of black separates the upper and lower sections. The sleeves are constructed entirely of a stretchy black mesh with an elasticated hem stitch, which fit closely to the skin and have been refined to stop any restriction.
On the rear of the jersey, there are three generous pockets and a smaller zipped compartment for valuables. The outer two pockets are constructed of a thicker mesh reminiscent of cargo-netting – there’s no hiding your choice of fuel and tools here.
The middle pocket features the same lightweight cream mesh as the shoulder panels, with 'Café du Cycliste' embroidered across it. These pockets are reinforced internally with a wide band of elastic to prevent the lower back of the jersey sagging if laden; a clever detail that really works.
The lower hem of the Georgette is elasticated and also features a silicone gripper, while a full-length plastic zip makes for easy removal. Café du Cycliste has introduced a feature here which it calls the 'chimney collar' – a sturdy one-piece construction that doesn’t sit on the neck, but rather leaves a small gap, especially to either side of the shoulder. It certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s good to see a clothing producer thinking outside the box with stylish women’s kit.
The fit of the Georgette is good and with some interesting materials present it certainly makes a change from other brands' offerings. Yet the choice of fabrics doesn’t quite seem to add up for the purpose.
Despite the cooling mesh sleeves and shoulders, the midweight merino in a very dark colour is simply too hot for really warm days. I’d pick this jersey for cooler summer days or autumn rides, while still packing arm warmers in case I felt the chill at the start or end of a longer ride, though I fear that might look a little ridiculous with mesh sleeves!
The jersey is described as slim fit, accurately describing the cut, which comes up true to size. But it is certainly more casual than a skin-tight race jersey.
I was pleasantly surprised that you can wash the jersey at 30C (as it is 30% merino wool), and indeed this was fine for both the colours of the contrasting materials and the shape of the jersey.
The odour-resistant qualities of merino were noticeable too, with no lingering smell even after a long, hot ride, which would make this a good choice for multi-day rides where access to washing facilities can be limited.
Personally, I found the Georgette's chimney collar and dark merino body panels detracted from its appeal. I found the latter to be a little too heavy for hotter summer riding, even though the sleeves and shoulders were a lightweight mesh.
That said, Café du Cycliste has certainly caught my attention with its high quality and uniquely designed apparel, and this collection is worth checking out if you’re looking for top performance kit in materials that stray beyond convention.
You might also want to check out the Odile bib shorts, which I've tested and rate highly.
Pricing and sizing
Café du Cycliste does ship internationally, though its prices are listed in pounds, so the price in the US or Australia will be based on the exchange rate at time of purchase. We've included the prices below as a guide only.
- Price: £132 / $171 / AU$224
- Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL