The Floriane Begonia cycling jersey (opens in a new tab) comes from the Centifolia collection of the Café du Cycliste. Along with the eco-friendly credentials, there’s a lot to like – a thoughtful fit, roomy pockets, decent reflective details and professional construction.
The floral theme is fresh and visually striking, an acquired taste perhaps. However, the Café du Cycliste is to be commended for its layout here; Centifolia is a star collection for men (opens in a new tab) too.
Testing warm weather kit at the start of the season isn’t always easy in the UK; it can feel like an endless wait for the mercury to rise. Luckily, unlike many summer jerseys, Café du Cycliste’s Floriane isn’t a fully sheer mesh affair (their Ultralight ticks this box), which makes it more versatile than some that are. It has been used a lot over the past two months as we have had milder spells. That versatility certainly works in its favor, but not enough to push it into the “value for money” range.
Construction and fit
There is a distinct touch of “traditional and practical” in the Floriane. In a quest to save grams, many summer jerseys become stripped-down affairs, omitting details and construction that are actually appreciated by those less focused on marginal gains: well-finished hems (on raw cut edges ); decent collar height; zip guard and neck garage; a reinforced pocket structure to increase durability; generous reflective trims at the ends of the sleeves.
Image 1 of 4
A little less traditionally for Café du Cycliste, 85% of the fabric is made from recycled bottles. This durable polyester is combined with elastane (15%) to give a form-fitting feel and fit something like Velocio’s Foundation jersey. (opens in a new tab), which is 100% recycled. The finished product is a partial mesh affair, with side panels having a slightly more open weave to help with breathability. Encouragingly, it has a UPF 30 rating.
I tested a medium, sizes range from SX-XL (men, XS-XXL). Following the chart I achieved a fit between casual and running – perfect for those who don’t like the tight fit of a pro style jersey, but also don’t want a top that s waves and flutters in the wind. There is plenty of length in the body and arm, certainly enough for an arm warmer suit.
The silicone band runs all the way around the bottom hem, adding stability to the jersey.
I’m invariably impressed with the quality and performance of recycled fabrics, which makes me wonder why more manufacturers haven’t jumped on the board.
To the touch, the Floriane is no different from many others in terms of softness; it may not feel silky against bare skin, but there’s definitely no spiciness to note.
The jersey is obviously not in the “aero-gains” category, it was a favorite for longer, more stable rides, when I focused on endurance.
These types of rides tend to start out in cool conditions and end up being pretty warm affairs. They need plenty of snacks to keep you going and a minimal shell in case conditions change. La Floriane has thought of everything…
I found it quite versatile for temperatures ranging from 12-20 degrees, using a supportive base layer and lower end cuffs. The partial mesh fabric, combined with a bit of ventilation from the looser fit, provides excellent breathability. If you happen to sweat, the fabric dries quite quickly. The design at the collar lends itself to being fully zipped, as well as partially open; the garage and caretaker guarantee zero irritation.
The reinforced pockets are reassuringly able to support loads heavier than many without compromising the fabric, nor are they stingy in terms of volume. If you haven’t succumbed to bike bags yet, peeling off a base layer and stuffing it into a pocket previously used for snacks is a real possibility. A useful zippered valuables pocket has a decent sized opening, easily large enough to retrieve small items.
The Begonia version I tested certainly got me noticed on the road. Indeed, all five Floriane models score high on the visibility stakes, and the reflective details on the sleeves competently support the bike lights if you’re riding in the dark.
Cafe du Cycliste has a reputation for being a premium brand, at £141/$184 the Floriane reinforces that. The build quality and reinforced pocket structure certainly work in its favour; you should get more than a few summers out of the jersey. Recycled fabrics are also encouraging, bringing Café du Cycliste closer to the high-end eco-brand Velocio. In short, there’s a lot to like about La Floriane, but I’d still say there are more affordable options. Velocio’s Foundation shirt (which I’ve already referenced) is £74/$99 and CHPT3’s Most Days women’s shirt, also made from 100% recycled fabric, is £89/$125.
- RRP: £141 / $184
- SIZES: SX-XL
- COLOURS: Begonia, Petunia, Anemone, Sakura, Lily of the valley
- WEIGHT (H): 138g