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Cafe du Cycliste Irma jersey review

28 Feb 2022

Comfortable and well made, but arms can feel chilly and you can get more technical pieces at this price

Cyclist Rating: 
Extra warmth from thicker front panels • Lots of rear storage
Not as versatile as the alternatives • Arms are underinsulated relative to the torso

Made of a merino blend fabric, the Cafe du Cycliste Irma jersey is part of the brand’s audax collection and, as the brand says, is designed for riders who plan to go long.

It oozes quality, with a soft touch, many of the seams flatlocked and not a thread out of place.

Cafe du Cycliste Irma jersey: Design

The audax logo mid-centre is embroidered rather than stuck or printed on. It’s got some clever features for longer rides too.

The extra-thick front panels, with their zigzag pattern are a nice contrast to the flat green fabric of the rest of the jersey – you can have it in navy blue if the forest green colour isn’t your thing – and add extra warmth on cooler days.

There’s no shortage of pocket space in the Cafe du Cycliste Irma jersey, a detail that’s useful if you are heading out for a full day on the road.


The three rear pockets, plus a fourth zipped one in the right seam are more-or-less standard. But they’re deep, with openings high up the back, so you can get lots of kit in them, while the elastic top seam helps to avoid pocket sag.

The pockets’ tops are sewn into a wide strip of elastic on the inside of the jersey, which helps keep them in place really well and means that the merino fabric – which usually tends not to have as much resistance to stretch as synthetic materials – stays close against the back even when the pockets are loaded up.

Sitting to the outside of the main pockets is a mesh fifth pocket, which stretches the width of the back, but has a smaller aperture in its centre.

It’s great for stashing a gilet, extra food or anything else that you might need for a longer ride.

Sitting below that is a wide black reflective strip with silicone detailing that extends down to the lower hem with its wide gripper.

Along with warmth, merino is lauded for its odour resistance. The Cafe du Cycliste Irma jersey is 35 percent merino, with the balance made of synthetic fibre.

That means it’s not quite as whiff-avoiding as full merino. In the interest of thoroughness I tried out its multi-ride capabilities.

Two wearings was OK with a long sleeved base layer underneath, but by three I’d probably have people choose another table at cafe stops. It should work for longer for the hardened bikepacker though.

Gearing up for rides in the Irma jersey, the main question was whether I needed a long sleeved or short sleeved base layer.

Although the front panels of the body are extra-thick, that doesn’t extend to the sleeves. Since your arms are sitting out in the breeze, if it’s a bit cooler they’re going to feel the chill first.

It would be nice to have some extra windproofing or insulation here too, to even up body temperature.

Cafe du Cyclist Irma jersey: Verdict

And I guess that’s my main question with the Cafe du Cycliste Irma jersey. It’s really well made, but for a similar price of around £200, you could buy a more technical option like the Castelli Perfetto Light jacket which give better windproofing, a measure of insulation and packs in water resistance too.

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews


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