Like most, we would welcome another six months of sunny summer riding. Lightweight jerseys, sunscreen and a cold beer at the end of a long ride seems more appealing than shivering into a driving, wet headwind for hours on end and acquiring a special blend of Belgian toothpaste from your friend’s wheel spray.
But as the clocks continue to turn, the seasons come and go, and Sportful’s line-up for autumn/winter season is already here.
In the UK at least, summer 2017 hasn’t really been much of a summer. We’ve had plenty of wet weather and grey skies, and if the past few years are anything to go by, we’ll inevitably see more of the same in the coming months.
Sportful has recognised this trend of milder, wetter weather here in Europe and has incorporated a balance of water protection and breathability into many of its products.
Here, we take a look at some of the key pieces from the Italian brand’s line-up.
Sportful’s Fiandre range pays homage to the wet weather of the Flanders region in Belgium, and the pieces are optimised to not only deal with the weather, but offer the performance to boot.
Sportful Fiandre Extreme jacket
Sportful’s Fiandre Extreme is the range topping jacket from the Fiandre lineOli Woodman/Immediate Media
The Fiandre Extreme jacket is the most expensive item in the entire season’s collection and for this price, you’d expect an exceptional product.
Optimised for temperatures between 0–15 degrees Celsius, the Fiandre Extreme is constructed using Polartec NeoShell fabric. The material offers protection from rain, snow and wind, whilst claiming to allow ample breathability.
Seams are limited on the jacket to further help keep the elements out, and those that are there have been taped both externally and internally. The rest of the jacket has more than enough stretch to not feel restrictive.
The jacket also features a full-length front zip, three external cargo pockets and a high, ergonomically cut collar.
Colours: Black, Fire Red, Yellow Fluro
Price: £265 / €299.90 / $299.99
Sportful Fiandre Ultimate WS jacket
Sportful’s Fiandre Ultimate WS jacket is a combination of Gore Windstopper and NoRain materialsOli Woodman/Immediate Media
Again, not exactly a budget option, but the Fiandre Ultimate WS jacket offers protection from the elements and more of the claimed breathability performance.
Constructed partly from Gore’s Windstopper material, the jacket has complete wind protection with the added benefit of decent water repellency. The back of the jacket is made with the more breathable NoRain fabric, so keeps your front protected from the driving weather while allowing excess heat and sweat to escape from your back and prevent any overheating.
As with most of Sportful’s products, the jacket has an aggressive cut that is incredibly comfortable in a riding position, but can feel restrictive when walking around at a coffee stop.
Colours: Yellow Fluro, Black, Fire Red
Price: £185 / €199.90 / $239.99
Sportful Fiandre Light Wind jacket
The rear panel is constructed from NoRain material for water repellent breathabilityOli Woodman/Immediate Media
Coming in at a more reasonable price for a winter jacket, the Fiandre Light Wind jacket is designed for milder temperatures in the 10–20 degrees Celsius range, although it is light enough to be layered up with other items for colder rides.
The full-length zipper has a flap to prevent any weather ingress and the stretchy jacket is available in five colours.
Colours: Black, Fire Red, Yellow Fluro, Green Fluro, Blue Flame
Price: £150 / €169.90 / $199.99
Sportful Fiandre NoRain Pro bibshort
Sportful’s Fiandre NoRain Pro bibshorts get an updateOli Woodman/Immediate Media
Bibshorts designed for colder weather aren’t as common as they should be. Paired with knee warmers or leg warmers, a thicker, water resistant pair of shorts can be the most versatile bits of kit in your wardrobe.
The Fiandre NoRain Pro bibshorts have been around for several years now, but see an update for AW17.
Sportful says this is what it issues to its pro teams (Trek-Segafredo and Bahrain-Merida) for colder weather training and racing.
The shorts are now paired with the TC Pro pad, which is Sportful’s top of the line chamois, and we can vouch after riding with the pad for several hundred kilometres that it is excellent.
The shorts also feature well-ventilated, wide, lie-flat straps which feature on the brand’s higher-end products too.
The shorts are made from the water resistant NoRain fabric and have a brushed fleece inner.
Price: £120 / €139.90 / $149.99
Sportful Fiandre NoRain bibtight
The tights are constructed from NoRain thermal material with extra layers on the thighs and kneesOli Woodman/Immediate Media
Like the Fiandre NoRain Pro bibshorts, the bibtight version features the same NoRain fabric for water resistance on the outside and a brushed fleece inner for insulation.
Double layer fabric on the knees and thighs offer extra protection, while a rear flap protects against wheel spray to your rear end.
Ankle zips are appreciated too for ease of removal after those wet, cold, long winter rides when all you want to do is get in a warm shower.
Colours: Black, Black/Yellow Fluro
Price: £130 / €144.90 / $179.99
Sportful R&D Strato top
Two extra zips on the front of the Strato top offer extra ventilation optionsOli Woodman/Immediate Media
A completely new product and concept for AW17, the R&D Strato top combines the breathability of a thermal jersey, with the light weather protection of a gilet.
‘Jerkets’ have become a niche section of cycling clothing in recent years, and the Strato may have just become a niche within a niche. However, the versatility that this piece offers has to be commended and we look forward to seeing how it fares out on the road.
The R&D Strato has the benefits of a thermal jersey combined with a gilet, but with added versatility in extra zips on the chest to help cool on long climbs.
Paired with a rain cape in one of the rear pockets, this piece could offer enough protection and versatility in changeable weather from (a claimed) 8–18 degrees Celsius.
Colours: Black, Fire Red/Black, Tradewinds/Black
Price: £120 / €149.90 / $229.99
Released last spring, the Giara range is Sportful’s gravel-specific clothing line. Continuing into AW17, Sportful has added three new winter pieces to its existing Giara products.
Sportful Giara Softshell jacket
The reflective accent features on all of the Giara lineOli Woodman/Immediate Media
While gravel-specific clothing may be too specific for some, the more relaxed fit, subtle design and high-end performance from the Italian brand results in a line of clothing that may serve a purpose for more than just ‘groadies’.
The Giara Softshell jacket is thick enough to offer some insulation and warmth, but doesn’t offer much in terms of water protection. Three rear cargo pockets are complemented with an extra zipped valuables pocket.
A relaxed fit combined with a fine herringbone design on the chest and shoulders creates a piece that wouldn’t look too out of place off the bike.
For those who prefer not to look like a WorldTour rider when out on a training ride, the Giara range could be an option.