Coq au vin, bouillabaisse, and quiche all have more than one ingredient. The cargo bib concept by Café du Cycliste also has more than one ingredient: the € 150 Helene forms the base layer, featuring an appealing fish print and providing 4 pockets. For € 165, the Virginie overshorts offer 2 additional pockets. Read on to find out how the French concept performs!

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: Which are the best cargo bibs of 2023 – 13 cargo bib shorts in review.

The 2023 Café du Cycliste Virginie | € 165
The 2023 Café du Cycliste Helene | € 150

Specs & quality of the Café du Cycliste Helene

For this group test, we’ll focus on the Helene cargo bibs, since you’re free to choose which shorts you want to wear over them. Besides, there are some overshorts available that have more pockets to offer than the Virginie. The black and white colour scheme of the Helene is very inconspicuous and will remain mostly hidden anyway. The Helene is made of breathable, see-through mesh, except in the area surrounding your crotch and the pockets on the back. That’s no problem, though, as long as it effectively wicks away moisture and regulates your temperature. The three pockets on the back of Helene are adorned with a flying fish, which is the emblem of the gravel collection by Café Du Cycliste. It’s a cool design feature that peeks out when you lift your top to access the back pockets.
The fabric is soft, supple and doesn’t wrinkle around the hip, which is important when wearing a pair of shorts over it. The cuffs are rubberised and hold the shorts in place, and the chamois is supplied by Italian company CyTech.

Cargo functionality of Café du Cycliste Helene

With cargo bibs as a base layer, how do you get to the leg pockets? Not at all, unless you pull the over shorts up and reach in from below, which only works when stationary, of course. As such, there’s only a small 10 x 6 cm pocket attached low on the left leg. Ideal for a multitool, credit card or keys. Due to the tight fit of our test model, we never felt that anything could fall out. The two outer pockets on the back measure 6.5 x 11.5 cm, and the middle pocket measures 13.5 x 8 cm. It has a classic jersey division with 3 pockets, and we used the storage space in the same way. The rain jacket, gilet, or other items that you don’t necessarily need during the ride go in the middle. The two outer pockets are ideal for your snacks or wallet. We’d only use it for a smartphone in a pinch since most mobile phones protrude from the outer pockets. It might be best to store your smartphone in the shorts that you wear over the bibs. Since the Helene bibs should always be worn with overshorts, you don’t see their cargo capabilities. For the dropbaristas amongst us, however, overshorts aren’t necessarily the first choice – it’s more for mountain bikers.

Three back pockets in the classic jersey arrangement.

Safety/visibility of the Café du Cycliste Helene

The Helene bibs have no reflectors and no abrasion-resistant fabrics. That said, they should still offer more protection than the other bibs on test considering the fact that you’re meant to wear shorts over them. Speaking of which, we recommend wearing overshorts that have reflectors; the Virginie have none.

Comfort of the Café du Cycliste Helene

The Helene bibs are comfortable to wear thanks to their soft fabric. They disappear under your shorts and do a good job of wicking away sweat, and we didn’t have a heat build-up with the Helene and Virginie together. The chamois isn’t too soft or too firm, retaining its shape and remaining chafe-free on long rides. Note: the shorts you wear over them plays a major role in this regard. The Helene bibs dry very quickly, which is a plus on multi-day rides.

The chamois of Café du Cycliste Helene.

The Helene underwear bibs are the right choice for all gravity fans amongst us who’ve been drawn to the world of gravel. If you like to wear shorts and loose-fitting tops, but don’t want to miss out on the convenience of pockets, here’s your solution! Hidden details like the fish print on the pockets or the small leg pocket on the left round off this two-piece concept.


  • good moisture management
  • has the same storage capacity as 1 jersey (do we need more?)


  • € 315 for the bundle

For more info visit

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: Which are the best cargo bibs of 2023 – 13 cargo bib shorts in review.

All cargo bib shorts in review: Café du Cycliste Chloe | Isadore Women’s Gravel Bib Shorts | Rapha Women’s Core Cargo Shorts | Rapha Women’s Cargo Bib Shorts | ROSE ROSE UNPAVED bib W II women’s gravel bib shorts | Café du Cycliste Helene | Café du Cycliste Virginie | Canyon Signature Pro Cargo Bibshort | Isadore Gravel Bib Shorts | MAAP Alt_Road Cargo Bib | POC Rove Cargo Bib Shorts | Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts | Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts | Specialized Adventure Bib Shorts SWAT

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Words: Christoph Staudinger Photos: Peter Walker