By Paul Norman
Hot on the heels of Rapha’s off-grid clothing range and sleep system, French premium cycle clothing brand Café du Cycliste has its own take on gravel biking kit. It’s more relaxed than its road-oriented ranges, with a hoodie style top and semi-fitted shorts.
According to Rémi Clermont, co-founder and creative director of Café du Cycliste: “In some ways adding a gravel range is a departure for Café du Cycliste when compared with our technical roadwear. In other ways, however, it feels completely natural as our clothing has always been about more than racing and best times. It’s always been inspired by where we ride and imbued with a sense of outdoor, adventure and the possibilities opened up by our bikes. Gravel fits that perfectly.”
The Solenne hoodie is made from stretchy technical fabrics, with a textured top layer for breathability. You get a pair of front handwarmer pockets and a drawstring hood, as well as three deep rear pockets and a zipped pocket to carry all your off-road junk. It’s priced at £160 or $213.
It’s designed to be used as a top layer in milder weather or with enough space to layer up underneath if it’s cooler out.
For the gravel rider’s bottom half, Café du Cycliste has the Renée shorts. Priced at £136 or $181, these are lightweight and breathable. They’re made of a stretch weave, breathable, lightweight fabric, with a slim fit and bonded hem to avoid rubbing.
There are two side pockets closed with press studs and a rear zipped pocket. There’s no pad; you can wear the shorts over bibshorts or on their own if you’re only on a shorter ride.
As well as the more relaxed look, gravel specific kit has the additional advantage that it’s more comfortable to wear off the bike if you’re doing an overnight trip or just heading down to the pub.
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