Most of my riding isn't short distance by any means and sometimes isn't even on the road anymore as I venture into cyclo-cross ever more so when it comes to choosing my kit I choose very carefully because there is nothing worse than being unhappy with how I feel on the bike when I'm in the saddle for so much time trying to enjoy myself.
Chapeau very kindly sent me a pair of their entry level Classic Bib-shorts to test and so I set about putting them through some of the toughest possible tests: two rides in excess of 150 miles in length and a day's cyclo-cross riding. I even took them on the commute to work.
So what did I think to the shorts?
The Chapeau Classic Bib-shorts come with a 'Fiandre Pad' which at first glance looks like a very slim pad to have in a pair of shorts but once I put them on and took them out for a test ride decided actually felt like a very thick and relaxing pad to have in a pair of shorts.
I took the Chapeau shorts on some seriously long rides which included the 150 mile Coast to Coast and the slightly longer 250 mile ride to and from the Dunwich Dynamo. It's fair to say that over these sort of distances that if your shorts aren't comfy you're certainly going to know about it very soon. On both occasions the shorts exceeded my expectation and I felt comfortable throughout the entire ride despite my refusal to ever wear chamois cream. Shorts comfortable enough to survive that far without some form of comfort cream have to be good.
The Chapeau Classic Bib-shorts are online for £69.99 which makes these shorts Chapeau's entry level shorts and overall an upper end entry level short in the overall market, however, this should by no means put anyone off buying them. Despite being labelled entry level bibs, these are far from entry level in performance and compared to another higher end brand of clothing I wear, felt comfier and will now be my short of choice for my upcoming endurance events of the year. In short, £69.99 is a bargain and Chapeau are underselling these... But don't tell them that!
Quality And Design
The shorts coming in the standard black design with a single, unobtrusive strip of white or blue down the right hand leg to add a splash of colour to distinguish the shorts. There is no in your face branding from Chapeau either with the small logo embedded in the rear of the short. As an entry level short they might not quite look or 'feel' like a pair of £200 bibs but they fit and perform just as well.
I don't have the smallest quads in the world so sometimes cycling shorts can be a little bit too tight around the gripper in the leg but the Chapeau shorts were grippy yet not so grippy I thought I was going to lose a leg. Furthermore, the short leg is also a little bit longer than some other shorts so you don't feel like you've put on a pair of hot pants.
Overall these are a fantastic pair of short for the price and a fantastic pair of 'Entry' level shorts from an end of the market I would never normally have considered. Chapeau have done a great job of making a very comfortable short for a very reasonable price. As an all round comfortable and practical short the classic bib has everything covered. They won't be the most fashionable but they will be the most fun especially when you feel comfortable for your entire ride.
Rating out of 10: 8.5 /10