Review: Chpt3 Girona collection goes all democratic on us
David Millar is making headlines again, this time by running for president of the professional cyclists’ association the CPA, (Cyclistes Professionnels Associés) - a position it transpires he doesn’t stand a hope of winning, thanks to some astonishing voting skullduggery.
By the time you read this, Millar will probably already have lost out to Gianni Bugno (the election takes place at the World Championships in Innsbruck on Thursday September 27) thanks to a block voting ruse that will ensure the sitting president remains. You can read about the whole farce in detail here.
Millar should not be cowed by this episode, given the great strides he has made for democracy this year already. We’re talking about Chpt3, of course. In short, Millar has done a Yeezy and launched his most democratic range yet.
Chpt3’s latest collection, Girona, is affordable, and available. You can get the jersey and bib shorts for only a little over the price of one of the original jerseys. It has therefore made the ultra-luxury Castelli spin-off within reach of the most frugal riders.
Millar set up the Chpt3 clothing brand in partnership with Castelli in 2016 after retiring from pro racing, and it remains one of a multitude of plates he has managed to keep spinning ever since.
Designs are predictably stylish, with the first collection, now known as Origin, featuring a jersey that owed more to Saville Row than it did cycling. An Origin jersey will still set you back £200, and presumably in recognition of the limited appeal of this price point, subsequent collections have been tiered down.
The Girona collection is named after the Spanish city Millar now calls home. Designs incorporate nods to the architecture - the red accents peppered around reference the famous red Eiffel bridge, constructed where four rivers meet and designed by the man who went on to design the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The ‘Climbing Ivy’ colourway we received is influenced by the shadows as they hit the red lattice ironwork of the bridge.
Other style points of the Girona collection reflect not only the cool ambience of the city itself, which since Millar arrived has become home to a legion of pro cyclists, but also hours spent riding around in R&D mode, tinkering bits here and there.
The result is a kit that stands apart from similarly priced competitors and which you might well expect to pay a lot more for. The fabric is the same as that used in the Castelli Maglia Rosa, and sleeves of the jersey have a wide, raw-edge finish to eliminate pinching. But as with all Chpt3 kit it is the details that set it off, such as the titanium grey lightweight YKK zip and the woven label on the pocket.
Bibs are also of a high standard, featuring stealth tonal branding, raw cut hems and in a first for Chpt3, finished in black. You’ll notice two things when you put them on - the Castelli Kiss pad on your arse and the muffin top the bibs create with your belly. This is a common observation among Castelli bib wearers, and one that has given rise to the term ‘Castelli belly’. You’ll need to be a particularly slender individual to avoid this and it can give rise to a level of discomfort that cancels out the extreme plushness of the pads. I have also already managed to put my finger through the mesh on the bib straps, although this could be put down to sheer heavy handedness.
These are small observations and something that you’ll probably find it in you to forgive when you take the overall package into account. Because the Girona collection should be considered a triumph for Chpt3. It has democratised a previously exclusive brand without sacrificing style or quality, and for that we should be very thankful to Mr Millar.
Summary: Millar’s inimitable style is now available at a price that should be agreeable to most, with a fit and quality that you would expect to pay a lot more for. Fabrics are light, and the jersey is on the right side of fitted, but those bibs might have you gasping for air a bit, even if you’ll feel you could ride 1,000km in one go on the pads.