Café du Cycliste’s stylish sports bra offering leans a little further to the side of breathability rather than support. This isn’t necessarily an issue as for me a race fit jersey provides just enough extra compression to keep everything locked down. The only negatives are how it digs in slightly under the arms and the lack of options for those with bigger boobs.
A little tight on the underarms
Range of sizes a little small
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With shoulder straps from cycling bib shorts complicating matters, it is not so easy for us female cyclists to find a sports bra that plays nicely while providing sufficient support and breathability.
The Rosalie sports bra promises comfort, optimum compression, and to effectively wick sweat away. It’s good to see Café du Cycliste aiming for the holy trinity of sports bras, as anything less would hardly justify the price.
Although not flawless and not for riders with boobs larger than cup size D, it is well-designed and certainly one of the more successful bras out there.
As well as a sleek black finish, the Rosalie is also available in a lightly tanned ‘papyrus’ option. The sizes small, medium and large all cater for cup sizes A–D. What differentiates the sizes is the under-bust measurement. I’m usually a size 32C and with an under bust of 73.5cm/28.9” I slot into the top end of scale for the small (70-74cm/ 27.6”- 29.1”). Pulling the bra on over my head and a quick rearrange later, first impressions were that this bra held my chest securely in place with its compression style support, although on the slightly tight side of a perfect fit.
The Rosalie’s racer back and broad back and shoulder straps play well with bib shorts. However, the straps are not adjustable – this reduces the chance of annoying pressure points which is a plus, but at the sacrifice of being able to fine tune this bra into a faultless fit.
With a 54 per cent polyamide, 36 per cent polypropylene and 10 per cent elastane blend it doesn’t have a lycra feel and softly sits against the skin. Its largely seamless construction helps with the comfy fit, while irritating scratchiness from labels have also been completely avoided thanks to the washing instructions being detailed on the lower band instead.
This lower band is where the Rosalie sports bra excels. As the band is a seamless transition of the rest of the bra’s material—rather than being a distinct piece of elastic—it does not cut in uncomfortably, nor feel restrictive.
Although the support is designed for only low impact activities, it performs reassuringly well when paired with a race fit summer jersey across both shorter and longer intervals on a ride. Even when giving it your all out the saddle it was not too tight that it felt restrictive and it seemed to hold everything in place—there was no distraction from the all-important effort. I'd happily wear it to ride off-road, paired with a close fit jersey. That said, there is more play with a relaxed jersey.
Riding in late September’s mini heatwave (which reached highs of 24°C) the double layer design still kept me sufficiently cool and I had no sensations of unpleasant clamminess. Although a touch damp after riding, the fabric dries incredibly quickly.
Once removed, faint red marks are left on the skin of my underarms, which is explained by the slight clenching feeling around the side of my chest when riding. This tightness feels reassuring, and certainly is not to the extent that it’s painful, but a tweak in fit could avoid the chafing.
Off all of the sports bras I've worn in my cycling career (and that's quite a few), this has been my favourite, due to its breathability and treading a good line between compression and comfort.
£44 is quite expensive for a sports bra, though it is inline with what Rapha charges for its Rapha x Outdoor Voices creation. The performance is admittedly better than cheaper options such as the Oakley Ellipse Racerback Sports Bra (£35 - look out for this review soon), with it being more breathable and having a nicer feeling under-bust. But whether that’s worth a 25 per cent hike in the price depends more on your sensitivity to such things and your budget—the performance improvements aren’t so great as to make it a no-brainer.
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