Café du Cycliste fits into the anti-kit movement — small, high-end apparel manufacturers attempting to bring style into cycling clothing where once logos and team monikers lived. In that sense, the Lucienne jersey lives up to high expectations: it’s stylish without being gaudy and stands out without being annoying.
And the Lucienne jersey’s Merino Tecnowool construction is a no-brainer for supreme comfort and moisture management in most conditions (Café du Cycliste calls this a warm-weather jersey, but leave this one at home when the thermometer crests 90 degrees). It won’t leave you with that itchy wool scratch since it’s only 20 percent wool and 73 percent soft polyester, and the mesh panels up the back definitely help keep the jersey feeling airy. Superior craftsmanship is evident throughout. The fine details like flat-lock stitching and reflective elements all blend seamlessly into a top that’s certain to garner some attention from your riding buddies.
While this stunning jersey embodies what cycling style can and should be — subdued shades of bold colors, simple and timeless designs — the jersey does hit a few snags when it comes to functionality. First and perhaps most annoyingly, the collar, which trades on throwback aesthetics, is too high. If you’re riding in warm weather, the high collar resting on your neck will become a distraction; if you’re riding in cool weather, it just seems extraneous. This is perhaps an example of fashion trumping function.
Racers and former-racers are accustomed to a form-fit, but the Lucienne is not that at all. It bridges the gap between racer snug and the flappy club fit, but it doesn’t pull off this bridging consistently. The biceps, for example, are snug, but the front and shoulders have a more forgiving cut that didn’t seem to match. The cut ends up being comfortably spacious, but with a few pinch points that aren’t exactly uncomfortable, but noticeable. This leads to an odd combination of too much flap and too much tightness, strangely distributed throughout the jersey’s cut.
Still, if you’re after a fashionable top that offers a forgiving cut and all the careful attention to detail you’d expect from a high-end jersey, it’s worth trying on the Lucienne to see if the cut is right for you. If it is, you’ve got a warm-weather winner.