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Product Review: A warm winter cap from Bella Capo

Posted by on January 6th, 2016 at 11:49 am

cap_casual

A functional hat that also looks nice off the bike.

I love hats! As someone who bikes almost every day year-round, hats do many things for me. They keep out the elements (rain and sun being my biggest threats), they soak up my sweat in summer, they keep me warm in winter, and they also hide my sometimes disheveled hair.

I’ve worn hundreds of hats over the years, and it takes a lot of little things to go right for one to become a keeper. For the past few weeks I’ve been wearing one that has become my go-to this winter.

The Bella Capo winter cap is made in Italy for Portland-based Cyclone Bicycle Supply (suggested retail is $35.98). Unless you’re in the industry, you probably haven’t heard of Cyclone. That’s because they’re a parts and accessory distributor that sells to bike dealers and other retailers all over the country. All the Bella Capo caps stocked by Cyclone are made just for them by hand from a source in Italy.

Their winter hat is a gem. On the fabric front it’s a mix of nylon and wool. It’s got cozy ear flaps that fit all the way over my ears and — most importantly — they stay in place when I move. I’ve worn the hat in temps of 30-40 degrees. For me, it’s just the right warmth for 35 degrees or so and up (when I wore it to Mt. Hood in sub-freezing air and wind chill, I put another warm beanie cap over it). The outer fabric is also water resistant. I’ve worn this cap throughout the rain, sleet, and snow we’ve been having in Portland and it hasn’t failed me. I’m not sure how it would hold up to sustained rain, but the drops it has seen so far have beaded up nicely on the fabric.

Here’s a quick little water test I did this morning…

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I switch between a lot of different modes throughout the day: In the morning I might be a bike commuter, then I turn into a reporter and sales manager, then I might throw on some lycra and do a training ride. The Bella Capo winter hat is a rare piece of my kit that works in all those environments. It doesn’t look too technical so I don’t look like a “cyclist,” yet it functions like one when I need it to. It’s warm enough to wear in near-freezing weather, yet still slim enough to fit nicely under my helmet (as you can see below).

cap-helmet

As for the bill/brim, it’s not as big as a traditional baseball cap, but it’s a tad larger than typical cycling caps. The size is also worth mentioning. It only comes in one. I have a large head, about 7 and 3/4″, and it fits very comfortably on me. I can wear it for hours and it doesn’t leave any marks on my forehead.

This cap is definitely a keeper. It will hang proudly next to my other hats* — but will mostly be off-the-hook and on my head.

You can find this hat locally at Pedal Bike Tours (133 SW 2nd Ave). If you want to carry these in your shop, visit CycloneBicycle.com

*Other winter hats I’m wearing are the Skyline Cap by Showers Pass and the Country Winter Cap by Rapha.

— This product was provided to me by Cyclone Bicycle Supply who we’ve partnered with for a series of reviews. All opinions are my own.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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17 Comments
  • Beth January 6, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    This hat has been in Cyclone’s line-up for several years. It’s a good cap, fits under a helmet, warm and cozy. On the downside, it’s really sized mostly for larger heads. It will positively engulf anyone with a hat size of less than 7 1/4.
    For smaller heads, especially if you want one to fit under a helmet, check out winter caps from Double Darn, Kucharik and Pace.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Paul Smith January 6, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      As someone with a noggin nearly too big for the capacious mutated helmets, you’re singing my song! Going to have to check it out. Don’t know if it’s the photos, but it looks a bit Pharrelesque tall to me.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 6, 2016 at 4:51 pm

        Yes, I should have mentioned something about fit. I have a pretty huge head generally and that’s probably why I like this hat… it fits me very comfortably… it doesn’t leave a ring around my forehead when i take it off.

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  • Joe January 6, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    nice cap 🙂

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  • Todd Hudson January 6, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    $36 for a hat? No thank you.

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    • middle of the road guy January 7, 2016 at 8:50 am

      But it’s Italian!

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  • Jason January 6, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    How about Double Darn? Locally made caps!

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. January 6, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Double Darn makes fantastic caps! I’ve even had a custom one made!

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Dan A January 6, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    I love my Double Darn caps, but I don’t think she makes a winter one like that.

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    • Jason January 7, 2016 at 8:30 am

      I believe she does, but there aren’t any on the website now. I have a couple ear flap caps from Double Darn that are great!

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  • Dan A January 6, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I wonder why every winter cycling cap I’ve seen like that (with the ear flap) has the cap portion larger than usual. I’ve got a MASH wool cap that’s similar to this one, and the seam where the ear flap starts sits right in the middle of my ears. That’s way too low.

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  • mh January 6, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    That looks like it’s got a fairly deep bill/brim, unlike most cycling caps I’ve tried. I wear a really dorky-looking hunter’s cap in the winter because it has that depth, but I won’t wear it without the helmet. http://www.e4hats.com/outdoor-hunting-cap-olive.html Dorky, but cheap, does at least a little to keep the rain off my glasses, and prevents ear-aches and frozen earlobes.

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  • gutterbunnybikes January 6, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    It should be noted that wearing a cap under a helmet is discouraged by helmet manufacturers, usually with a a warning in the helmets instruction manual that the addition of a cap will marginalize the effectiveness of the helmet.

    Just a few examples:

    Under things you should never do: http://www.bellhelmets.com/bellsports/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Bike_Helmet_Manual_10L_5001074700-B.pdf

    4th warning:
    http://www.specialized.com/media/docs/support/0000037287/Helmet_Manual_14.pdf

    on page 5

    http://media.bontrager.com/owners_manuals/helmets/Bontrager_Helmets_EN.pdf

    Doing so is wearing a helmet improperly.

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    • Dan A January 7, 2016 at 6:26 am

      And these manufacturers have done studies on the effectiveness of helmets without caps underneath?

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      • gutterbunnybikes January 8, 2016 at 4:13 pm

        No, and they haven’t done studies on their effectiveness without caps either. (Not going to lie, I’m an unashamed helmetless rider).

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  • Beth January 7, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Helmet manufacturers are simply covering their (ahem)’s. They also must use the racing myth to sell more product, and most racers don’t wear caps under their helmets. For the rest of us UNracers, there’s reality. I appreciate a good winter cap that fits under a helmet.

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  • Robert Burchett January 7, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Today I’m wearing a Deller knit winter cap with a nice earflap, under a helmet I would rate it at -5 (C) or below. Retails for $too much, but support your LBS. To get a two-finger fit I need a winter helmet, something that comes in XL. Seems crazy to have two helmets but hey, I have 4.3 bikes! Maybe a skater bucket with extra hit points, because I hate to throw stuff away!

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