It’s a little over 3 months since Carbonaut was officially launched to the cycling world and one of their most popular items is this very stylish number, the Café Vélo Hoody. A sleek well tailored jacket it, like the monument polo we reviewed last November, is made with a fantastic attention to detail and quality. So given the chance to take a closer look at this piece of smart cycling clothing, I duly obliged.
Usually with a hoody you get the appearance of a sporty look and whilst the Café Vélo Hoody does lean towards that, it’s ergonomic fit and fine tailored finish give it more of a sleeker fit which alerts the smart look to get involved don’t let that make you think this then jumps into cycling jersey territory and becomes a slim fit as there’s a bit of stretch to it and just that little extra room to move. To be frank the fit, I believe is just right, it fits nicely on the shoulders and doesn’t form any tight areas anywhere around the underarm, chest or tummy. Carbonaut got it spot on with this aspect and the result is a very fine addition to the world of stylish cycling clothes.
There’s also a few little functional details added to make the Café Vélo Hoody work for on the bike escapades in the form of a dropped hem at the back and longer sleeves with a curved cuff to stop wind getting in as easily. Made from 100% cotton it has a lovely feel to the finish and is very, extremely comfortable. As it’s made out of cotton it’s breathable so you won’t and don’t end up a sweaty mess after a ride.
Carbonaut say that this jacket is essential for autumn AND winter I would say on it’s own it would have to be worn with a nice good quality base layer on an autumn day and there’s no way it’s going past a mid layer when it get’s to winter. That said it’s ideal in the layering scheme of things and combined with base layer and soft shell or rain jacket it works very well to keep you warm in all but temperatures the wrong side of 0. It certainly won’t help you out if it becomes a rainsoaked ride if you’re just wearing this as your outer layer so a rain jacket in your bag is essential if you go out on the colder, wetter months. One argument would be it would be nice if it had some water resistant qualities but that would impact the pure luxurious comfort you get from wearing the velo hoody, it’s a talking point but I say combined with a rain jacket you will be just fine.
The zip around the neck helps to keep chill out and is a nice comfortable fit but the presence of the hood interferes with any jacket you put on top and for my money Vélo Hoody would of worked so much better as a cycling jacket and lost it’s ‘Hoody’ status.
There are two pockets at the side of the jacket that have a bit of padding to keep your hands warm when you’re strolling along and a gust of wind gives you a bit of a chill and a small zip pocket near the lower back on the right hand side to store a few essentials you don’t want falling to the ground whilst you push those pedals around. The lovely thing about the side pockets is they have padding just by the opening which adds a little more comfort and toastiness. The little back pocket is a nice little extra and a nod to typical cycling jerseys – ideal for phone, wallet and a small bunch of keys.
For me the Café Vélo Hoody is the definition of stylish clothing for on and off the bike. It’s made and created with loving care, attention to detail and to such a high standard. The fit is so good and the feel is so nice, it really is a fantastic jacket. It gives a smart sleek appearance and is one of the most well tailored fashionable jackets I’ve come across so far. It also appears to have an ageless quality, in that regardless you’re seventeen or seventy, or if you’d rather spend a Friday night at the pub or playing FoxyBingo, you won’t look out of place in this jacket. Whilst the price is a bit wince through your teeth it’s certainly not above and beyond others in it’s range and as I mention it’s so well made that it will last for an extremely long time.
There are some further nods to functionality (water resistancy, wind proofing) that would be nice to see added to future versions of this hoody, as well as a non-hooded version (personally that would be the peak for me) but for now it’s an extremely discerning choice for any style concious urban cyclist.
Value for Money: 6/10
You can get the Carbonaut Café Vélo Hoody from Carbonaut for £75.00