With summer on the fade and colder elements around the corner (for northern hemisphere readers at least), Italian brand Sportful is unveiling its clothing range for autumn/winter 2016, designed to keep you in the saddle when the conditions are less than encouraging.
Into its fourth decade and still owned by the Cremonese family that established its predecessor (a shearing business) 70 years ago, Sportful is a stalwart of the cycling industry and has enjoyed a long relationship with the sport's upper echelons. Peter Sagan is the tenth World Champion to adorn the rainbow stripes alongside the Sportful logo – a palmares that certainly shouldn’t be sniffed at – and we found plenty to like in the brand's latest offerings.
US and Australian prices were TBC at time of writing.
Fiandre NoRain jacket – £175
Updated for 2017, the Fiandre NoRain jacket has been one of Sportful’s bestselling products from last year. A combination of Gore Windstopper and NoRain fabrics creates a jacket that offers protection from the elements and versatility in an array of conditions. Fiandre is Italian for Flanders, the Belgian region with both a rich cycling history and incredibly variable weather conditions.
The jacket features a waterproof zipper and a secure waistband to keep the weather out, three rear pockets and reflectivity in the important areas. A drop-down tail stows away at the rear of the jacket, which can be easily deployed when the weather turns and extra protection is needed from the road spray.
Available in black, black/fire red and black/yellow fluo.
Fiandre NoRain Team bib tight – £90
The NoRain Team bib tight has also been updated for the upcoming seasons. The brushed NoRain material ensures warmth and comfort, as well as nanotechnology-based water repellence. Fewer seams in the tights further contribute to keeping the water out, although this detracts from the fit in comparison with some of the more expensive tights in the range. Small reflective details and the BodyFit Pro chamois complete a strong package.
Fiandre WS LRR Jacket SS – £185
Sportful was an early adopter of combining Gore Windstopper fabric with taped seams for water and wind protection while retaining breathability. This jacket certainly isn’t cheap, but the quality throughout is clear. A high collar with a microfibre fleece lining should keep you snug during cold descents on winter mornings, a small section of elastic on the cuff delivers a tight, but comfortable fit, and the tailored cut is designed to fit your body while positioned on the bike.
Available in black and black/fire red.
Fiandre NoRain bib tight – £120
The next level up from the Fiandre NoRain Team bib tight has several features that differentiate it. Double-layer NoRain fabric on the thighs and knees ensures warmth where it is needed most without sacrificing breathability. An extra rear flap made from NoRain Light fabric adds extra protection from rear-wheel spray and an upgraded chamois – the TC Pro – appears.
Available in black and black/fluo yellow.
Fiandre NoRain bib short – £75
For milder autumn rides, the NoRain bib short offers much of the same protection as its bib tight counterpart. A thick leg band with a silicone dot gripper results in a secure fit, while the remainder of the short features a brushed fleece interior and NoRain water repellent exterior.
R&D Light Jacket – £170
The R&D range is Sportful's most cutting-edge line. Polartec Alpha insulation on the shoulders and sleeves of the R&D Light jacket delivers similar performance to what you'd get from a down jacket, and the jacket's lining has a soft, weave design offering a high surface area and insulation in line with wearing an extra baselayer. The jacket features three large rear pockets and one smaller, zipped pocket to the side – perfect for a smartphone and a credit card.
The breathable yet highly insulated properties of the R&D Light jacket make it a very versatile piece – think fast chaingang on a windy morning, combined with a solo gentle warm down on your way home.
A thick waistband with silicone dot grippers contributes to the jacket's snug fit of the jacket, which combined with the fire red colourway makes this a great looking bit of kit.
Available in black and black/red fire.
R&D bib tight – £120
Designed for conditions from below freezing up to around 10C, the R&D tights are designed for cold, dry days.
What these tights lack in water resistance, they make up for in finer details. Two-layer fleece provides warmth and insulation so you don't overcook in the midday sun, yet stay warm during frosty dawns. The location of the ankle zipper between the Achilles tendon and the ankle joint, to prevent rubbing or discomfort, is another nice touch.
A TC Pro chamois and wide bib straps will help you stay comfy on those long and valuable winter miles – so you can reap the rewards in the spring.